For this recipe, I have asked my wonderful boyfriend, William, to write a guest post. He is the author of this vegetarian jambalaya. Always considerate of my dietary restrictions, he is constantly trying to find ways to adapt new dishes to a vegetarian diet. I am so incredibly grateful for his ability to allow my meatless lifestyle to rule our eating habits so often with such grace and selflessness. I hope you enjoy his healthier and much, much spicier take on this traditional, Cajun dish!
This is my take on a southern classic- Jambalaya. If you were to search ‘how to cook Jambalaya’, it is typically started with a sautee of meat and vegetables in a pan. Next, the rest of the dish is built around those ingredients (effectively making it meat centered). This recipe makes rice the star component of the dish and focuses on infusing the spices and flavors into each grain. More importantly, I wanted to make it vegetarian friendly. With that in mind, real meat can easily be added to this dish (be it shrimp, chicken, or sausage).
Two quick things before we get into the recipe and the ‘how to’. One: this dish is fairly simple, with most of your time being spent stirring the pot; and two: I made mine very spicy. So, if heat is a problem, tone down some of the ingredients, such as the cayenne pepper.
1 whole, green bell pepper
1 cup white rice
8oz box Zatarain’s jambalaya mix
28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
32oz box vegetable broth
1/3 – 1/2 large sweet yellow onion
3 – 4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon cajun spice
Up to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (taste before adding, then add it 1 tsp at a time)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
2 – 3 Tofurky andouille sausage links (or real meat if you want)
The first step is to chop up your onion, pepper, and garlic cloves.
Next, you’ll want to add them to a frying pan in the following order: onions, peppers, garlic. Give each addition roughly 2 – 3 minutes before the next (onions, 3 min; peppers, 3 min; garlic, 3 min).
While the vegetable mixture is cooking, put your tomatoes in a large pot and then crush them by hand.
When they are good and mashed, add in your rice, Zatarain’s mix, spices, and your vegetable mix. Let it cook for about 10 minutes with intermittent stirring.
After the rice has stewed for about 10 minutes, then add in your milk and butter. This will tone down the heat a bit and give the jambalaya a creamier texture. Continue to cook this for another 15 – 20 minutes, again intermittently stirring.
While the rice mixture is stewing, slice the sausage and cook it in the same pan that the vegetables were in, with some olive oil. This will infuse some of the flavors and give your sausage a nice, browned edge.
After your rice is done stewing and your sausage is done cooking, mix them together for a delicious spicy, Cajun bite! If you like, you can sprinkle cilantro on top; it adds color and is a refreshing contrast to the spiciness of the jambalaya!