No matter where you’re from, you can borrow from the culinary melting pot of the world in order to infuse your plate with a bold essence. The Creole and Cajun flavors of New Orleans—steeped in a rich tradition of cultures, including African, Caribbean, and the New World—are among my favorites. You might be surprised to discover that many of these traditional dishes, such as jambalaya, are based on plant foods: beans and rice. Learn how to make jambalaya with this easy recipe for Vegan Jambalaya with Red Beans and Okra, which is bursting with flavor. You can also make Instant Pot Jambalaya with this recipe, too.
What is Jambalaya?
Jambalaya is a traditional Cajun dish that has roots in Spain, West Africa, and France—in particular Provence. You can see shades of Spanish paella in this recipe, as well as a traditional Provencal rice dish called jambalaia. Jambalaya usually has sausage and shrimp, but I skipped these and focused on the red bean classic, which is part of this food culture. You’ll see the holy trinity of onions, peppers, and celery featured in this recipe—a traditional base of ingredients used in Cajun cuisine. While I have spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans, and I love Cajun and Creole foodways, I am not a true expert. Check out the amazing work of Emily at Cajun Vegan Eats for more inspiration.
What to Serve with Jambalaya?
I love to serve this one pot meal with a crusty whole wheat baguette and a crisp salad, such as my Kale Cesar Salad. And the leftovers are wonderful the next day too! Try this recipe for meal prep as healthy grab and go meals during the week.
Learn how to make jambalaya the healthy way with this recipe for Vegan Jambalaya with Red Beans and Okra, which is bursting with the flavors of Cajun cuisine. This healthy and satisfying, budget-friendly recipe is a meal-in-one.
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium bell peppers (red, orange, green, or yellow), diced
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 cups (200 g) chopped fresh or frozen okra
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- Hot sauce, as desired (optional)
- 1 cup (200 g) uncooked short-grain brown rice
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can red beans (i.e., pinto beans, kidney beans, cranberry beans), with liquid (or 1 ¾ cups cooked, with 2∕3 cup water)
- 2 cups (474 ml) vegetable broth
- ½ cup (119 ml) water
- ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and okra and saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add cayenne, paprika, cumin, chili powder, celery salt, hot sauce (if desired), and rice, sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, red beans, broth, and water. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for about 1 hour, until the rice is tender, stirring frequently. Add additional water as needed to compensate for moisture lost to evaporation, but avoid thinning the consistency too much (it should be a thick stew-like consistency).
- Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the parsley immediately before serving.
- Makes 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each).
Variation: Substitute any other kind of bean for the red beans (such as black beans, chickpeas, or heirloom varieties).
Instant Pot Directions: Follow steps 1-5 using the Sauté setting, according to manufacturer’s directions. Then press the Rice setting. Use the Quick Release when cooking is done.
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, ©Sharon Palmer 2014. Reprinted with permission from the publisher, The Experiment.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Cajun
- Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
- Calories: 280
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 424 mg
- Fat: 3 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 56 g
- Fiber: 12 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: jambalaya, vegan jambalaya
For more vegan meals, check out some of my favorites:
Thai Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
BEST One-Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese
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