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.

Portion of vegan jambalaya in a bowl with tomatoes and beans

I know I’m a bit of a cheese fiend, but sometimes I really do just want a delicious vegan meal to make 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.

Portion of vegan jambalaya in a bowl with tomatoes and beans

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.

Extreme close-up shot of vegan jambalaya with tomatoes and beans

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!

Carrots and leeks cooking in a pan

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.

Vegetables, rice and beans cooking in stock in a saucepan

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.

Vegan jambalaya cooking in a saucepan

Finishing touches

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.

Vegan jambalaya in a saucepan topped with fresh parsley

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!

Portion of vegan jambalaya in a bowl with tomatoes and beans
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4.67 from 3 votes

One pot vegan jambalaya

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.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
Course: Main meals
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spicy rice, vegan jambalaya, vegetarian jambalaya
Author: Becca Heyes
Nutrition Facts
One pot vegan jambalaya
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 462 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 0.9g 5%
Sodium 36mg 2%
Potassium 759mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 89g 30%
Dietary Fiber 9.5g 38%
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 13.7g 27%
Calcium 7%
Iron 41%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Here’s a vegetarian version of another American classic – Tex-Mex vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches!