Vegan Jambalaya (Slow Cooker or Stove Top!)

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This easy vegan jambalaya is made with a spicy mixture of rice, red beans and peppers. It cooks up quick and easy on the stove, or you can let it simmer away in the slow cooker!

I’ve never had traditional jambalaya, but one thing I know is that it involves shrimp and sausage. Which basically means that traditional jambalaya is off the menu for me.

However, all the other things in jambalaya, i.e., rice, peppers, spices, hot sauce and the like…those are all things that I LOVE. Which basically means I need some vegan jambalaya in my life.

So I made up a recipe for just that. My meatless jambalaya includes red beans in lieu of shrimp, and optional vegan sausage links in place of regular sausage. You can also just leave the sausage out, which basically makes this dish a Cajun-inspired version of rice and beans, but really, who cares — it’s delicious.

You can make this jambalaya on the stove, which is pretty quick and easy, or in the slow cooker, which is quite possibly easier, but not so quick. Be sure to read my notes below if you go for the slow cooker version.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Vegan Cajun Recipes
  • Vegan Jambalaya (Slow Cooker or Stove Top!)

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Olive oil. You can substitute another high-heat oil if you’d like. You also have the option of skipping the oil if you make this in the slow cooker.
  • Green bell pepper. You can use a red one if you prefer, though green is more traditional for jambalaya.
  • Celery.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Spices. We’re using paprika, cumin, black pepper, thyme, and oregano.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • Canned diced tomatoes.
  • Hot sauce. Any vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce will work, but I like this recipe best with Crystal brand hot sauce.
  • Basmati rice. Okay, this is definitely not the variety of rice you’d normally find in a jambalaya recipe, but it works really well, particularly for the slow cooker version. You can substitute another type of long grain white rice, or even brown rice if you’d like. For brown rice you’ll need to increase the broth amount to 4 cups and simmer the jambalaya longer (40 minutes for the stove-top method).
  • Red kidney beans. We’re using canned beans here. If you’d like to, you can substitute another variety of beans, such as black.
  • Vegan sausage. Like I mentioned above, this is optional. I used Field Roast’s chipotle flavored links, which aren’t exactly traditional for jambalaya, but then again, what about this recipe is? You could also make some spicy meatballs like I did for this vegan gumbo recipe.
  • Scallions.
  • Salt.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

Stove Top Method

  • Heat your oil in a large pot and add chopped pepper, celery and onion. Sweat the veggies for a few minutes, until they start to soften up.
  • Stir in minced garlic, along with your spices. Cook everything briefly, stirring constantly. Be careful not to let your garlic or spices burn, which could make your jambalaya taste bitter.
  • Stir in the broth, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, and rice.
  • Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Give the mixture a stir (scrape off any rice that’s sticking to the bottom of the pot), lower the heat, cover the pot, and let your jambalaya simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Tip: The rice will cook best if you don’t peek at it while cooking. If you don’t do a whole lot of rice cooking and don’t have a feel for when it’s done, I recommend getting a pot with a clear lid, so you can see what’s going on without removing it.
  • If you’re using vegan sausage, brown the pieces in a skillet while the rice cooks.
  • When the rice has finished cooking, stir the beans and sausage into the pot. Taste-test and season your vegan jambalaya with some salt to taste, and adjust any other seasonings to your liking (I always add more hot sauce at this point!)
  • Top your plant-based jambalaya with some scallions and it’s ready to serve!

Slow Cooker Method

First, a few words of caution for those who decide to make this in a slow cooker.

  1. There’s quite a bit of variation among slow cookers. This means yours might take a bit more or less time to cook rice than mine. Be flexible and use your senses to make adjustments where needed. (I’m using a very basic 20-year old Rival Crock Pot, by the way).
  2. This is not a set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker recipe. The first 4 to 5 hours can be, but once you add the rice you’ll need to start keeping an eye on it, stirring every 20 minutes, and adding liquid if needed.

Having said that, here’s how it’s done!

  • Optional first step: Sweat the veggies in oil. You can do this in the slow cooker if yours in fancy, or on the stove if it’s not. My slow cooker is not fancy, and I always skip this step.
  • Add the veggies (cooked or not) to the slow cooker, along with the broth, tomatoes, and hot sauce. Do not add the rice at this point. Cook everything on low for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Now stir in the rice, add more hot broth if needed, and let everything continue cooking for another hour to hour and a half. Make sure to stir the mixture every 20 minutes and add more liquid if it’s getting too dry in there. Always heat up your liquid before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Brown the sausage if using it, then add it to the cooked rice, along with the beans, scallions, and salt to taste.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover vegan jambalaya will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this jambalaya gluten-free?

As long as you don’t make it with gluten-containing vegan sausages, it is! Beyond sausage is gluten-free.

Can I make this dish using dried beans?

You can, but you’ll need to soak and cook them first. Try this method.

Is this vegan jambalaya spicy?

It is a bit on the spicy side. Leave out the hot sauce if you’d prefer it to be milder, or use extra hot sauce if you’d like it extra spicy.

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