I’ve been looking to expand into a little more Cajun and Creole cooking and adding a few dishes from that region into my repertoire, so I’m very excited to be presenting this vegan Jambalaya recipe. I’ve used ingredients that get us as close to the original version as possible, such as vegan chorizo sausage and vegan chicken, in addition to the essential onion, celery and pepper that is common throughout jambalaya.
Jambalaya is a Louisiana-born dish, though there is some dispute as to its original influences. France and Spain are the most obvious, but there are also links to West Africa, due to the trans-Atlantic slave trade (Source: Wikipedia). The version I have made here is close to the Creole Jambalaya, with its use of tomatoes in the stock and the cooking method I have adopted is very similar to the Spanish Paella (stir the rice at the beginning, then leave it alone). This cooking method requires sufficient stock to allow the rice to cook thoroughly before the liquid is completely drained. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the dish during cooking and add more water as and when it is required. I added about 200ml of water to the original 1.5 litres of veg stock.
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This is a very exciting rice dish that is perfect for serving up when you have a small crowd of people (the recipe here will serve 6). Have it either as the main meal or as an accompaniment to something else. If there are less than 4 or 6 of you to feed then, as long as you are using ingredients that haven’t already been frozen, portion the rest out and store it in the freezer for further use.
This dish is best made in a wide and shallow frying pan, something like a paella dish. A large wok is a good alternative if you don’t have one.
What you need to make this Vegan Jambalaya:
Vegan chorizo sausage:
Fresh vegan chorizo sausage is fairly easy to get hold of now. I get mine from Morison’s. You can use frozen too, but defrost it before hand and don’t refreeze the final dish.
Vegan chicken is again extremely common now in supermarkets, and there are plenty of fresh versions to choose from. I went for the What The Cluck brand, more for its appearance than for any other reason. These vegan meat replacements give the jambalaya some authenticity, but if you don’t like eating them, you can switch to your favourite vegetables. Mushrooms and aubergines will work well.
Long Grain Rice:
Standard long grain rice will work perfectly for this dish. Give it a little wash first to remove some of the starch and let it drain before adding it to the pan.
This spice blend is a must for a lot of Cajun and Creole cooking, but is also useful in many other dishes. You can pick up a pot at any supermarket and keep it on hand for other recipes.
Onions, Peppers and Celery:
They call these the holy trinity of Jambalaya and is common throughout most recipes.
You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by choosing gluten-free versions of the vegan meat substitutes.
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- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 8 vegan chorizo sausages cut into 2cm pieces
- 160-200 g vegan chicken torn or diced into bite sized pieces
- 2 heaped tsp Cajun seasoning
- 3 more tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions diced
- 3 sticks celery thinly sliced
- 2 peppers deseeded and diced
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 500 g long grain rice washed in a couple of changes of cold water and then drained
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp more of Cajun seasoning
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 12 cherry tomatoes halved
- About 200ml of additional water if required
- Using a paella dish or large frying pan or wok, heat the first 3 tbsp of olive oil and fry the vegan chorizo sausage and chicken together for about 8 minutes, or until browned. Now add the first Cajun seasoning, mix in and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Empty out into a dish to add later and deglaze the pan if needed by boiling a little bit of water in it.
- Wipe the pan clean and heat the 2nd batch of olive oil, then cook the onions, celery and peppers for another 8-10 minutes, on a medium-low heat, until soft and just a little browned.
- Now put in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, until the flavours come through.
- Add the rice and stir in, cooking for another couple of minutes to fully coat in the oil. Pour in the veg stock and the canned tomatoes and add the 2nd Cajun seasoning, along with the oregano. Stir through to mix while it comes to the boil, then turn down to a very gentle simmer.
- Spread the vegan chorizo sausage and chicken over the top of the rice and add the cherry tomatoes, seed side up. Cook very gently, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water has gone. Do not stir the rice at all. You can add the extra water as and when you see it running too low.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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