Jambalaya is a one pot dinner that’s packed with protein, rice, and plenty of big, bold flavours! This version of the Creole classic is vegan, which means everyone can enjoy it.
Jambalaya is a traditional Creole dish from Louisiana that incorporates elements from French, African, and Spanish cuisines to create something truly one-of-a-kind.
While the traditional version is made with rice, vegetables, sausage, and meat (usually pork or chicken, but sometimes seafood), it’s easy to transform it into a plant-based dinner with a few ingredient tweaks.
This vegan jambalaya recipe offers all the flavour of the classic without any animal products. Vegan sausage is the perfect replacement for traditional sausage, and I use tofu instead of the chicken or pork. Get ready to dig in!
Why You’ll Love This Jambalaya Recipe
Here are some of the reasons this vegan jambalaya is a guaranteed winner:
- Hearty and satisfying. The combination of vegetables, rice, and plant-based protein creates a dish that is both filling and flavourful.
- Unexpectedly healthy. Jambalaya might not be your first thought for a healthy dinner, but this vegan jambalaya recipe is packed with vegetables and lean protein.
- Versatile. This vegan jambalaya recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes—and your heat tolerance!
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
For the Seasoning:
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper – Cayenne is a heavy-hitter when it comes to heat. Feel free to use less to start with and add more to taste when the dish is done cooking.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Paprika – There’s already a lot of heat in the seasoning thanks to the cayenne, so don’t use hot paprika here.
- White pepper
- Ground cumin – Cumin has an earthy flavor that works well with the ingredients in jambalaya.
For the Jambalaya:
- Olive oil
- Extra-firm tofu – Cut this into cubes.
- Vegan sausage – I used Tofurky vegan kielbasa, but Beyond Meat Italian Sausage would work well too.
- Green bell pepper
- White onion – White onion has a sharper flavor than yellow.
- Celery – Together with the bell pepper and onion, these ingredients form what’s known as the Cajun trinity.
- Tomato paste
- Dried thyme
- Bay leaves
- Long-grain rice – Don’t use instant or quick-cooking rice.
- Vegetable broth – Store-bought or homemade vegetable broth both work.
- Green onion
How to Make Jambalaya
Here’s what you’ll need to do to make this satisfying vegan jambalaya.
Mix the seasonings. Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Season the tofu. Sprinkle the tofu cubes with 2 tablespoons of the seasoning.
Cook the tofu. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the tofu to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the sausage. Reduce the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil and the vegan sausage to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is just beginning to brown, about 5
minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Sauté the vegetables. Add the remaining oil and vegetables to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the seasonings and rice. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of the seasoning, and the rice. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Simmer. Pour the broth into pot and add the vegan sausage, bay leaf, and remaining seasoning. Stir and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat.
Rest. Remove the bay leaves and fluff the rice, then stir in the tofu. Cover and rest for 10 minutes until the tofu is warmed through.
Finish. Garnish with green onions and serve.
Tips for Success
These hints and tips will help you make sure your vegan jambalaya turns out perfect:
- Press the tofu. By pressing the liquid out of the tofu, you allow it to soak up more of the flavours in the jambalaya.
- Use long grain rice. Short grain rice will get too sticky and mushy when cooked.
- Add more liquid if needed. If you find that your jambalaya is a little dry after it has finished cooking, add a splash of vegetable broth and stir to combine. This will help moisten the dish.
Vegan jambalaya is a hearty and satisfying meal on its own, but it pairs well with other sides too. Here are some of my favorite accompaniments:
This vegan jambalaya recipe can be easily adapted to suit your tastes. Here are some simple ideas for variations and substitutions:
- Swap the tofu for tempeh, seitan, or vegan chicken.
- Stir in drained and rinsed canned beans for extra protein.
- Add some hot sauce for an even spicier dish.
- Temper the heat by adding some vegan sour cream. (This is not a traditional way of serving jambalaya, but it does work!)
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover vegan jambalaya can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply transfer it to a pot or skillet, add a splash of broth, and cook over medium heat until warmed through. You can also reheat jambalaya in the microwave.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Jambalaya can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat according to the instructions above.
More Meatless Dinner Ideas
For the seasoning:
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
For the jambalaya:
- ¼ cup olive oil divided, 60 ml
- 1 pound extra firm tofu cut into cubes, 454 grams
- 14 ounces vegan sausage cut into 1/4 inch thick coins, 397 grams
- 1 cup green pepper diced, 156 grams
- 1 cup white onion diced, 153 grams
- 1 cup celery diced, 152 grams
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste 50 grams
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaf
- 2 cups long grain rice 360 grams
- 4 cups vegetable broth 960 ml
- Green onion for garnish
- Combine the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl, stir until well mixed.
- Sprinkle the tofu pieces with 2 tablespoons of seasoning.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu cubes to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil and the vegan sausage coins to the pan. Cook and stir occasionally until they are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil, green pepper, onion, and celery to the pan. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of the seasoning and the rice. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the vegetable broth into the rice mixture. Add the vegan sausage, bay leaf and remaining seasoning. Stir it well to make sure no rice is stuck to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat.
- Remove the bay leaves. Fluff the rice and stir in the tofu pieces. Replace the lid and allow it to sit for 10 minutes to warm the tofu.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.
- I used Tofurky vegan kielbasa, but I think the Beyond Meat Italian Sausage would work well too.
- Vegan chicken pieces could be used in place of the tofu cubes.