Vegan Jambalaya

This is the best vegan Jambalaya recipe because it brings the cajun seasoning of New Orleans flavors home! Make this easy plant-based jambalaya with brown rice, beans, and creole seasonings. It’s a healthy, easy vegan dinner perfect for meal-prepping. See post tips for making slow cooker healthy jambalaya in a crockpot.

Serve this vegan jambalaya with some buttery Vegan Cornbread on the side!

A bowl of vegan jambalaya sits in front of another bowlful.

Sometimes when you’re traveling as a vegan, finding food can be hard. Actually, finding vegan food while traveling is easy these days. Finding great vegan food can be tough. When I traveled to New Orleans, I was surprised to find many options.

Vegan recipes have a reputation for being expensive and/or time-consuming. I don’t really get this because it’s not the case in my kitchen. The key is to find simple vegan main dishes. This tasty vegan jambalaya with beans comes together quickly and easily. It’s perfect for your plant-based meal planning!

Vegan in New Orleans

We had the biggest surprise in New Orleans when we spent the day cruising around the French Quarter and discovered a great little restaurant that served vegan jambalaya.

After that trip, I knew I would have to find a way to make jambalaya vegan from scratch!  I’m not a stranger to spicy dishes. For example, there are dishes like this Vegan Taco Soup and this Crispy Orange Tofu.

I love this easy vegan jambalaya because it’s tasty, simple to make, and creates lots of leftovers. It’s perfect to include in your vegan meal prep routine for that reason alone.

Key Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Vegetables — You’ll need an onion, a stalk or two of celery, garlic, and a bell pepper.
  • Brown sugar
  • Long grain rice — I like using brown rice, but it does increase the cooking time. Otherwise, use long grain white rice.
  • Seasoning — You’ll need some cajun seasoning (see below for making your own cajun seasoning)
  • Canned tomatoes — I use a 15-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, but any diced tomatoes will work.
  • Tamari — You can use tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce.
  • Vegetable stock
  • Kidney beans
  • Vegan sausage — See below for ideas on vegan meat options.

How to Make Vegan Jambalaya

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I like to keep my vegan recipes easy! That’s why I’ve made this vegetarian jambalaya recipe so easy to throw together. This is especially true since I made the homemade brown rice ahead of time. You can even make up a big batch of brown rice and freeze it!

  1. Cook onion in a pot with oil over medium heat.
    Chopped onions are cooking in the bottom of a saucepan.
  2. Add brown sugar and cook until the onions are caramelized.
  3. Stir in chopped garlic, peppers, and celery.
    Cooked aromatic vegetables are in the bottom of a saucepan.
  4. Stir in rice.
    A hand holds a measuring cup of rice pouring it into a saucepan with cooked aromatic vegetables.
  5. Next add seasonings.
    A hand holds a bowl of cajun seasoning, pouring it into a saucepan.
  6. Follow that with vegetable broth.
    Vegetable broth is being poured into a saucepan with diced tomatoes, spices, and more.
  7. Next add tomato paste, tamari (or soy sauce), and kidney beans.
    Kidney beans are being poured into a saucepan with tomato-based sauce.
  8. Cook 20 minutes or so until the rice is tender.
  9. Cook veggie sausage in a skillet according to the package directions.
    A hand holds tongs, turning vegan sausages in a skillet.
  10. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then slice.
  11. Add the cooked sausage to the jambalaya. 
    Sliced vegan sausage is being poured into a saucepan with tomato-based ingredients.
  12. Serve warm with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.

I’m recommending my own cajun seasoning recipe (see below). You can always add more salt if you need it. That’s the beauty of making things at home — you get to make it exactly to your taste!

Storage Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Freeze in freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months. To serve, transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw then microwave or transfer to a saucepan and cook on the stovetop until heated through.

Looking down on two bowls full of meatless jambalaya with a kitchen towel between them and two spoons beside them.

Portion servings into individual dishes and top with steamed veggies. Feel free to add hot sauce like Tabasco or sriracha.

Cajun Seasonings

You can buy cajun seasonings in the store, but I prefer making my own so I can control the level of spices and salt. Many store-brand versions use too much salt for my taste. Here’s how to make your own cajun seasonings:

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or eliminate for less spicy flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Vegan Meat Options

You have options when it comes to which vegan meat you choose for this recipe. Here are my favorites:

  • You can use homemade vegan chorizo.
  • Impossible Sausage is a favorite of mine because it’s vegan and plant-based.
  • Add marinated tofu.
  • Vegan meatballs would work here as well. You can buy these at the store or try these lentil meatballs.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What should I serve with Jambalaya?

There are lots of New Orleans-approved, southern-style dishes that you can serve with Jambalaya, such as cooked collard greens, corn on the cob, cooked chard, and of course, cornbread!

What is jambalaya?

Jambalaya is a popular New Orleans-based rice dish with international influences. Traditionally, it’s made with meat, vegetables, seasonings, and rice. It’s an easy dish to make vegetarian because of its heavy reliance on plant-based ingredients and seasonings.

What is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?

Both Gumbo and Jambalaya are popular New Orleans-based dishes involving rice and cajun seasonings. However, gumbo is more of a soup or stew and jambalaya is more like a casserole. Both typically involve adding meat and/or seafood. However, it’s easy to transform these into plant-based dishes.

Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes

If you love this vegan jambalaya, be sure to try these other easy vegan dinner ideas!

I hope you love this spicy Vegan Jambalaya as much as we do! It’s fun to have vegan cajun recipes as part of your regular plant-based meals.

A closeup of a bowl of vegan jambalaya.

Vegan Jambalaya

Bring the flavors of New Orleans home with this Vegan Jambalaya that celebrates brown rice, creole seasonings, and steamed veggies.
5 from 7 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 347kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons medium onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper green, red, or yellow
  • 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked (brown or white)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (see notes for cajun seasoning)
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tamari , or soy sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 6 oz vegan sausage (Beyond Sausage is an excellent option)

Instructions

  • Warm up the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and onion and cook until translucent. Add the brown sugar and raise the heat a bit and cook until the onions take on a caramelized look, browned on the edges.
  • Add the chopped garlic, peppers, and celery and stir. Cook for one minute.
  • Add the rice, seasonings, tomato paste, tamari (or soy sauce), vegetable stock, and beans. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until the rice is tender. Turn off heat and let the pot sit on the burner for another 10 minutes. Adjust cooking time when using brown or white rice (brown rice may take closer to 40 minutes while white rice may be done in 25).
  • Place a skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage according to the package directions. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then slice.
  • Add the cooked sausage to the jambalaya.
  • Serve warm with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan. Serve with crusty bread.

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Notes

Crockpot Instructions

To make this recipe in a crockpot, cook the onion in the skillet as directed. Then add the remaining ingredients (except the sausage) in a crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours. Before serving add the vegan sausage and cook for another 15 minutes to heat it through.

For Cajun Seasoning:

Here’s how to make cajun seasoning:
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or eliminate for less spicy flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 766mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2606IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2013 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.

19 Responses to Vegan Jambalaya

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyEmma Reply

    5 stars
    This is my favorite Jambalaya recipe! We make it all the time!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyGoAwayImCooking Reply

    5 stars
    Although this isn’t the best jambalaya I’ve ever had, I do think it is worth making. The bell pepper adds a nice sweetness to the dish that I liked. If I were to remake this, I think I’d leave out a little bit of either the oregano or thyme. Most important thing is make sure you chop everything up and cook the rice before you begin.

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