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Vegan jambalaya in a white bowl, topped with sliced green onion.

Spicy Vegan Jambalaya

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 32 reviews
  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Cajun and Creole Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy, vegan jambalaya recipe is perfect for cozy weekends or Meatless Mondays!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 large stalks celery, diced (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (see recipe notes) 
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish (optional)

Equipment Note: Use a large, wide saucepan or pot with a tight-fitting lid. We used an older version of this deep, 5.5 quart sauté pan in these photos; this recipe also works well in a Dutch oven.


Instructions

Brown the Veggies (10-30 minutes)

Add the Liquids (5 minutes)

Cover and Cook (1 hour)


Notes

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce. Regular Worcestershire sauce isn't typically vegan: Strict vegans should be sure to opt for a vegan variety (if you're not vegan, regular Worcestershire works just fine here!) We've tested and liked Annie's Vegan WorcestershireThe Wizard's Vegan Worcestershire sauce is also well-reviewed (although we haven't tested it ourselves). Worcestershire lends important balance, flavor, and umami to this recipe - don't just skip it! If you don't have vegan Worcestershire, use soy sauce instead (it's the best substitute we tested!)

Additions and Substitutions. Add your favorite vegan protein (like plant-based sausage, soy curls, or tofu), diced mushrooms, or beans (chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans) to this jambalaya to make it heartier. If you'd like more spice, add extra smoked paprika or hot sauce, or sauté some chopped jalapeño along with the veggies. Use red or yellow bell pepper instead of green bell pepper.

Look for brown rice with a long grain, and avoid any pre-cooked or microwaveable rice products as the cook time and absorption can vary widely. We did test this recipe with short grain brown rice: It tastes great but often needed an extra few minutes to cook. 

Can I use a different kind of rice? We do not recommend using white rice or other grains in place of the brown rice unless you are comfortable making on-the-fly substitutions, as different rice varieties vary widely in cook time and liquid absorption. Swapping white rice for the brown rice in this recipe with no other adjustments will affect the texture and taste of the final dish. White rice or other grains will likely require less liquid and a shorter cook time than this recipe as written.

What if my rice isn't fully cooked? If your rice is still crunchy towards the end of the cooking window, it just needs a bit more time to cook! If the jambalaya has no liquid left, add an extra splash of veggie stock or a bit of water, then re-cover with the lid and continue to cook on low heat for another 10-20 minutes. If there is still liquid in the pot, simply re-cover with the lid and cook a few minutes more. 

What hot sauce should I use? We've tested this recipe with almost a dozen different hot sauces (including Sriracha, Cholula, Tabasco, Frank's, and a variety of local/specialty hot sauces). and they've all been great! Use whatever you have on hand.

Like all good things, jambalaya takes practice. Use this recipe as a jumping-off point, take a few notes after your first try, and keep at it! Remember that everyone's kitchen and equipment is different: It may take a few tries to dial this recipe in for your specific environment.

This recipe was originally published in 2014. It was updated in 2024 with new photos, additional notes, and a few adjustments to make the recipe even easier and more straightforward.