This one pot vegan jambalaya is an easy dinner that only needs one pan! It’s packed with spicy rice, beans and veggies – healthy and delicious.
I know I do love a good cheesy recipe, but sometimes I just want to even things out with a delicious vegan meal that makes me feel good. This one pot vegan jambalaya is just the thing – plenty of veggies, hearty beans and rice, and lots of spice. It makes you feel good from the inside out.
What is jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a rice dish that originated in Louisiana. Like a lot of food from that part of the world (Louisiana is known for its incredible Creole and Cajun dishes), it’s influenced by various cuisines – European cuisines like French and Spanish, but also West African food too. It’s the perfect mish mash.
Jambalaya is usually made with meat and seafood, but obviously this vegan jambalaya skips those (it would be a pretty rubbish vegan jambalaya if it contained meat and seafood). Instead, I added a tin of kidney beans, which worked perfectly. You could add some slices of vegetarian sausage too, if you fancy it.
Is this an authentic jambalaya?
Before I get too much hate mail, I should probably note that my vegan jambalaya is not a traditional recipe – and not only because it’s vegan. I also took some liberties with the vegetables that I included. For example, traditional jambalaya often begins with the ‘holy trinity‘ of celery, peppers and onions, whereas I used peppers, leek and carrot instead.
I think you guys know by now that I love to experiment with food, so I don’t really mind if my recipes aren’t authentic – as long as it’s delicious once it’s finished, I’m happy. If you want to find a 100% accurate jambalaya recipe that’s been passed down from someone’s grandmother, look elsewhere. But if you just want a really tasty vegan dinner, you’ve come to the right place!
How to make vegan jambalaya
I started my jambalaya by cooking up some finely chopped vegetables in a big pan. As I said, I went for carrot, leek and green pepper, but you can really use whatever vegetables you fancy.
The only thing to remember is that the vegetables will also be cooking in liquid for a while after you add the rice, so you don’t want to use any vegetables that will turn to mush when they’re boiled.
I wouldn’t use broccoli, for example – over-boiled broccoli is not good.
Any hard vegetable will work – anything that will only be improved by a long cooking time. Celery, onion, sweetcorn, sweet potato… just cut everything nice and small, and get it in the pan.
Rice and beans
Next, add some dried rice and some kidney beans. I always use tinned beans, just because they’re so convenient. You’ll also need to add plenty of vegetable stock to cook the rice.
At this point, you can also add whatever spices and seasonings you feel like. I went for a vaguely Creole-inspired mixture (again, almost certainly not authentic, don’t shout at me!) – plenty of my favourite smoked paprika, along with cayenne pepper, dried herbs, and some turmeric to add to the beautiful colour of the spicy rice.
When the rice is cooked, add some big wedges of tomato, and serve your vegan jambalaya topped with plenty of fresh parsley.
The end result is the perfect comfort food – it’s hearty and filling, with plenty of flavour, but it’s good for you too! Win-win.
What should I serve alongside my jambalaya?
This vegan jambalaya is really a full meal in itself, so you don’t need to worry too much about side dishes. Rice and beans even go together to create a complete protein, so they’re a winning combination.
That said, I do always think it’s nice to have something on the side, just for a bit of variety. We had corn on the cob, which worked really nicely – a simple salad would go well too.
Or, you can stick with the Southern US theme, and make some cornbread to serve on the side. It’s definitely a heavier option, but a tasty way to mop up the dish!
One pot vegan jambalaya
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- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 small leek, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 mild red chilli, minced (or 1/2 tsp chilli paste)
- 225 g (~ 1 cup) white rice
- 750 ml (~ 3 cups) vegetable stock
- 400 g tin kidney beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree / paste
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste – remember you’ve already added some chilli!
- Black pepper
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- To serve: fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the finely chopped carrot, pepper and leek. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until the pepper and leek are fairly soft and just beginning to brown (the carrot will still be a bit hard). Add the garlic and minced chilli, and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Next add all of the remaining ingredients except for the tomato. Mix well, and bring to a gentle simmer – you may need to turn the heat down a little. Allow to cook gently until the rice is soft – you’ll need to stir fairly regularly to prevent the rice from sticking, especially towards the end. If the rice is still not quite cooked when all the liquid has been absorbed, add a dash more water.
- Add the wedges of tomato, cook for 2 more minutes to heat through, and serve topped with plenty of fresh parsley.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.