Vegetarian Jambalaya

Just pile on the vegetables, add the herbs, toss in the rice, splashes of Tabasco and voila! Jambalaya at your table!  This classic Louisiana rice dish is one that I’ve wanted to make forever but had a hard time finding a good vegetarian recipe. Finally I decided to mess around with a traditional jamabalaya recipe and make it vegetarian. I used a recipe by local Louisiana chef Amelia Durand which I found on foodnetwork.com. Though Amelia’s recipe is very meat heavy with lots of spicy sausage, ham and shrimp, boy did that jambalaya look delicious. I figured with so many good things in this dish like tomatoes, celery, carrots, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs and Tabasco sauce, it has to taste good even if I made it without the meat. I was right! This is one delicious jambalaya!

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It’s the Tabasco sauce that gives this rice dish that uniquely Louisiana flavor. Vinegary spicy Tabasco adds a pop of wow flavor to Jambalaya that if made without it I think this might as well be just any other rice dish. The best response I got when I made my vegetarian jambalaya is when the family had second helpings and feedback such as “This is so yummy.“! They absolutely loved it!

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The hardest part of this recipe is all the prep work, cutting all those veggies can be time consuming; the rest however is a piece of cake. A complete one-pot meal loaded with good for you veggies, rice and lots of flavor, this is one delicious vegetarian jambalaya! Give it a try!

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The History of Jambalaya

Here is an interesting tidbit I found out from chef Amelia; jambalaya is a Louisiana version of the Spanish paella. During the early days of Louisiana’s history when the Spaniards occupied the area when they wanted to make paella but not having saffron readily available they made it with local ingredients such as herbs, meats and seafood. As it turns out there are two varieties of jambalaya – one is meat heavy which is found more in central Louisiana and in the bayou areas and is called Cajun jambalaya, while towards the coast near New Orleans jambalaya is made with seafood and lots of tomatoes and is called Creole style jambalaya. History of jambalaya on cooking light.com.

For Amelia’s original jambalaya recipe made with spicy sausage, ham and shrimp here is the link Sausage and shrimp jambalaya by Amelia Durand.  For a vegetarian version of jambalaya below is my recipe.

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Vegetarian Jambalaya
Adapted from foodnetwork.com Sausage and shrimp jambalaya by Amelia Durand

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch celery finely chopped
  • 1 carrot finely cut
  • 1 large onion finely cut
  • 1 Yukon gold potato cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into cubes
  • 6-8 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3-5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes or 4 large juicy tomatoes finely cut
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt
  • 3 cups long grain rice such as Basmati rice
  • 1 bunch of green onions finely cut about 1 cup
  • 1 bunch parsley about 1 cup finely chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

  • Heat the oil and butter in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Next add the garlic, celery, potato, carrot, jalapeno and peppers. Add salt and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Next add the canned tomato, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, 1/2 cup parsley, 5 cups vegetable stock, paprika and tomato paste.  Bring to a rolling boil.

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  • Stir in the rice. Add 6 splashes of Tabasco sauce. Return to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes until rice is cooked.

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  • Gently fluff rice with a fork. Mix in the green onions and 1/2 cup of the remaininb parsley and squeeze juice of 1 lemon.  Jambalaya is ready.
  • Serve jambalaya garnished with more green onions and parsley, and a dash of Tabasco sauce if desired.

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