Jambalaya, although not typically thought of as a vegetarian dish, can now be enjoyed by all! Staying true to traditional flavours, this dish is hearty and healthy and meatless!
Jambalaya is a dish of Louisiana origin with heavy Spanish and French influence. The dish usually consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice, but in my dish, I substituted the meat with beans. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage, in most cases, andouille, along with pork, chicken, or shrimp. Crawfish is also extremely popular in the dish.
The vegetables are usually what’s referred to often as the holy trinity in Creole and Cajun cooking, which consists of onion, celery, and green bell pepper. Other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteing the vegetables, rice and seasonings are added and the entire dish married together.
I used to think that jambalaya and gumbo were the same thing, but even though similar, there is an ingredient difference. Although in most cases the same meats and veggies are used, gumbo includes okra and file powder, which is a spicy herb made from dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients.
Now that’s you’ve had the little food trivia lesson, let’s talk about the dish itself. You’ll notice in the ingredient list that I canned fire roasted tomatoes. I found that the fire roasted variety added a smokiness to the dish, but you can most certainly use regular canned tomatoes if that’s all you have on hand.
I also used a can of six bean medley. In essence, if you can’t get those, you can substitute those with a mix of any beans you prefer. For reference, six bean medley consists of chickpeas, dark red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, white kidney beans, romano beans and baby lima beans. Any combination of those will work just fine, or you can opt for all kidney beans, which would be my bean of choice for this particular recipe.
Once all is said and done, you’re going to end up with a very tasty, filling, and satisfying dish. As the name suggests, Healthy and Hearty Vegetarian Jambalaya is most certainly hearty and healthy and meatless too!
This is one of those dishes that needs nothing else. No sides are needed at all. Just a big bowl and a fork or spoon – your choice. Taking the guesswork and time commitments out of traditional jambalaya, this recipe uses pre-cooked rice and canned beans to speed up the process. But, speed and efficiency does not in any way compromise the flavour of this robust dish. It’s perfect each and every time.
And, of course, Dear Reader, if you want more smoke and more heat, to stay true to this humble dish’s Louisiana/Creole beginnings, increase the amounts of paprika and dried red chili flakes. As mentioned before, the fire roasted tomatoes are also a better choice when it comes to building a more complex flavour profile.
Lastly, this dish is extremely leftover friendly. Transfer your leftovers to a food-safe container and refrigerate for up to three days. To reheat, simply transfer the jambalaya to a skillet and cover. Over medium heat, allow the dish to come up to temperature for about ten minutes. Stir halfway through and enjoy this fantastic dish all over again!
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups brown rice, cooked
- 1 can six bean medley, drained and rinsed (19 ounces)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, celery, and green and red bell peppers. Stir and sauté for 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to sauté 2 minutes.
- Next, stir in the oregano, basil, thyme, paprika, dried red chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.
- Add the soy sauce and fire roasted tomatoes. Stir well to combine. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the beans and rice. Stir and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add the fresh parsley and green onions. Stir into the rice and bean mixture. Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
- Serve and top with more parsley and green onions as a garnish.
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