As we approach Fat Tuesday, I thought you would like my Vegan variations on some NOLA classics. Over the 28 years of owning and cooking at Allyn’s I calculate we have made 250,000 entrees of Jambalaya. A quarter of a million is a big number for one item at the restaurant. When I went vegan six years ago, I worked on making the plant-based versions of some of our classics. Here are two Cajun Vegan specialties that you can whip up from my book, Later Gator. We serve the Vegan Jambalaya at Allyn’s and I will introduce the Red Beans, Rice and Vegan Sausage soon. I hope you enjoy them!

Vegan Jambalaya

Ingredients
Olive oil, 2 tbsp
Minced garlic, 2 tbsp
Yellow onion, one diced
Pepper (green or red), one diced
Vegan chicken strips, 1 package (10 oz)
Mexican Chipotle (Field Blend) Sausages, four sliced
Crushed tomatoes, 25 oz can
Lundberg Wild Blend Rice, 2 cups
Water, 4 cups
Not Chick’n Bouillon cubes, 2
Marjoram, ½ tbsp
Cayenne pepper, ½ tsp (be careful not to add too much)
Joe’s Stuff, 1 tbsp (optional, available from the New Orleans School of cooking online)

Directions

  1. Add the bouillon cubes and spices to four cups of water and slowly bring to a boil.
  2. In a large pot add olive oil, minced garlic, onions and peppers and cook them on a medium to high heat. When the vegetables begin to sweat, add the sliced vegan sausage and vegan chicken strips. Cook them for about two minutes.
  3. Next add the rice and continue to cook for about two more minutes, stirring constantly to get the rice to absorb the flavors.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and continue to stir, deglazing the bottom of the pot. After a few minutes, add the boiling Not Chicken broth and spices to the big pot and bring to a boil.
  5. After the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let it cook for one hour and fifteen minutes.
  6. Check the doneness of the rice; it should not be mushy or too firm.

Cook for an additional few minutes if needed. Remove the pot from the heat and serve. Cool any remaining jambalaya and save it for leftovers. It heats up very easily and tastes just as good the second time around.

In my quest to do more Cajun recipes, I also came up with a great red beans, rice and vegan sausage recipe. Normally all you do is replace the real meat with a vegan substitute, and they get easier to find all the time. This recipe like the real red beans and rice alternative requires it to simmer for several hours. So, I will usually start it in the late morning for a dinner delight.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice with Vegan Sausage

Ingredients
Olive oil, 2 tbsp
Minced garlic, 2 tbsp
Yellow onion, one diced
Peppers, two (green and red) diced
Mexican Chipotle (Field Blend) Sausages, four sliced
Red beans, 6 drained and rinsed cans (12 oz each)
Water, 4 cups
Not Chick’n Bouillon cubes, two
Marjoram, ½ tbsp
Cayenne pepper, ½ tsp (be careful not to add too much)
Sugar, 1 tbsp
Bay leaves, 1 or 2
Brown rice or Lundgrens Wild rice, 2 cups
Water, 3½ cups

Directions

  1. Add the bouillon cubes and the spices to four cups of water and slowly bring it to a boil.
  2. In a large pot add the olive oil, minced garlic, onions and peppers and cook them on a medium to high heat. When the vegetables begin to sweat add the sliced vegan sausage. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and add the drained red beans.
  3. Stir the beans and vegetables and cook them until a boil of the liquid in the pot is visible and continue for two to three more minutes.
  4. Add the broth to the pot and bring it to a boil. Boil for two to three more minutes and reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for two to three hours or longer for the thickness of the broth and the desired tenderness of the beans.
  5. In a separate two-quart pot prepare the rice. Add two cups of Lundgrens Wild Rice to three and a half cups of water and bring it to a boil. If you use a different rice, follow the direction on the package. For the Lundgrens, simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  6. Add the rice to the bottom of a bowl and top it with the beans and sausage mixture. I usually put about one third rice and two thirds red beans.

I hope you enjoy my variations on New Orleans classics. You can make some really delicious Vegan variations on most of the classics and they are much lower in fat and cholesterol than the originals and have the same amount of protein. Let me know if you like these or if you had any trouble making them.