Vegan Mofo: Jambalaya

Jambalaya! I feel like there was a dorky commercial in the nineties advertising some instant Jambalaya-flavored rice mix, where a couple danced around the kitchen while a brass band plays, instantly transporting themselves from their hum-drum lives to the spicy streets of New Orleans.

Well, that commercial may have been stupid, but it got one thing right: something about the food of New Orleans makes people feel festive! Its interesting, because so much of said food is like, rice, gravy, and boiled crustaceans, but somehow the people there know how to transform humble beginnings into rarefied gourmet delicacies. Jambalaya is no different- you can't help but feel a little bit special when you make it. Just please don't make me cringe by dancing around your kitchen shouting, "Jamba-LAYA!"

Note: I don't pretend to be an expert on Authentic Cajun cooking (and certainly, vegan food tends to not be very "authentic").  This recipe is loosely inspired by several in the Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook but they also have widely different ways of preparing it, including one version where the dish is baked. Of course, if you have alternative suggestions please feel free to chime in in the comments.

Vegan Jambalaya 
1- 2 Servings Vegan chorizo, (or other sausage) sliced (A cups worth is great)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Green pepper, diced
3 stalks (or so) celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 cups rice
3 and 3/4 cups veggie broth (or water + bouillon, or faux-chiken broth)
1 tbs. Creole/ Cajun seasoning
2 Bay leaves
Sprig thyme
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes (with green chiles is good)
Liquid Smoke
Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper

1.) In a large pot, saute your sliced soy-sausages in oil. If they are chorizo flavored, you're good to go, but if they are plain, then soup them up generously with the following: paprika garlic powder, liquid smoke. After they are good and browned, remove them with a slotted spoon to a separate dish, and keep the flavored oil.
2.)  Add in the onions, celery, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Then add in garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened, seasoning with salt and pepper.
3.) Add in water or veggie broth, tomatoes, Bay leaves, thyme and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, then add in rice. Stir to combine, lower heat to a simmer, and cover until rice has absorbed most of liquid and is soft (you might need to add in more liquid if its too dry). Stir sausage back in and a dash of liquid smoke. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce and serve, alone or as part of a Cajun dinner.


KellyC said...

Looks amazing!

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I love jambalaya and miss NOLA so much! You make yours pretty similar to mine, but I use a soft homemade xgfx sausage ball instead.

So ya know, cajun jambalaya is often brown and roux based and jambalaya with tomatoes like yours is more of a creole jambalaya.


Cadry said...

Yes, I totally know the commercial you're talking about! I think it was for Zatarain's. This recipe sounds delightful! I like the idea of the seitan sausages and liquid smoke. That sounds like comfort food to me!

jd said...

Yay for jambalaya! Authentic or not, your vegan version definitely gets my vote...

Looks amazing!

adriennefriend said...

I love your little disclaimer. Folks can get FIERCE about what does and does not constitute a certain beloved regional dish. Hope you get some good ideas - you've definitely given me some. :)