Vegetarian Jambalaya

Vegetarian Jambalaya

The other day, I had a strong desire to make something with a little kick. I realized that I haven’t had jambalaya in a while, and wanting to try a homemade version of the popular Louisiana Creole dish that I could count toward my 50 in 15 Challenge, I found a couple of recipes that I fused together to suit my liking. One caveat was that since I’m now vegetarian, I had to substitute out the traditional meat (chicken or sausage) for some vegetarian sausage, which I didn’t mind at all. The end result was a delightful dish that had the perfect amount of spiciness . So if you’re in the mood for something with a bit of kick, give this recipe a shot.


  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 2 1/4 c. water
  • 12-16 oz. sausage (cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 c. diced tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. red cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 35-45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the sausage until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add the onion (and a bit more oil, if needed) and a pinch of salt, and sauté over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, and bell pepper and continue to sauté until all veggies are softened and lightly browned.
  4. Add the tomatoes and herbs, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Combine the hot cooked rice and sausage with the skillet mixture, stirring well to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and (optionally) cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.


As noted above, I substituted out the normal meat that jambalaya uses for some vegetarian sausage. While the veggie sausage wasn’t as spicy as andouille or smoked sausage, I found that adding a bit of extra cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes made up for it. It’s also worth noting that the end result may be a bit watery, depending on how much liquid your diced tomatoes have. I actually made my own homemade diced tomatoes rather than using the canned variety (hey, save myself from BPAs for at least one meal, right?), and found that there was a small amount of liquid left after everything was done. If you use canned tomatoes, you may have more or less liquid when all is said and done.

Overall, I was very pleased with this recipe, and will definitely be making it again. My wife and I used to have Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix quite a bit a few years ago, but with my propensity to make more homemade dishes and less out-of-the-box stuff, that’s gone to the wayside. But I think it’s safe to say that I’ve found a more-than-suitable alternative to the boxed variety, even if it does take a bit longer to make.

Bon Appétit!


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