Hearty, hot, and spicy, this quinoa jambalaya is a plant-based take on a traditionally meat-heavy dish. Made with quinoa instead of rice + packed full with plants, this jambalaya is deliciously satisfying and healthy, making it a perfect meal during the colder months.
My grandma used to make jambalaya every Christmas. I’m not sure why it became part of our Christmas dinner, but that was the only time of year that I would eat jambalaya. I don’t even know how she started making jambalaya, since my family is Japanese/Japanese-American. But our holiday dinners are always very traditional American-style dinners (roast turkey, ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc.). I loved my grandma’s jambalaya, though. Shrimp, sausage, tomato-y rice, and the perfect blend of herbs and spices. No one else in my family has made it since, so it’s been a few years since I’ve had proper jambalaya. But with Christmas just a week away, my jambalaya craving has come back and this vegan quinoa jambalaya definitely hit the spot!
Packed with Plant-Based Protein & Fiber
Although jambalaya is traditionally very meat-centered, it’s actually very easy to make vegan. Just switch out the sausage for vegan sausage (I used Italian flavored as that’s all I could find at Trader Joe’s), use vegetable broth (or water + veg bouillon paste — I like Better than Bouillon), and leave out the shrimp or use vegan shrimp if you can find some (I know some Asian stores sell them). I decided to use quinoa instead of rice — untraditional but I had quinoa to use up + it adds extra fiber and protein.
The jalapeno adds a nice kick and blends perfectly with the tomato flavor and spices. Fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, and parsley also add wonderful flavor and depth to the dish, making it hearty and satisfying. This jambalaya is perfect for cold weather and is guaranteed to keep you warm and cozy for hours. Pair it with a salad for some extra greens or cornbread if you’re feeling carb-y and dinner is set. Perfect for meal-prepping at the beginning of the week so you don’t have to worry about cooking while you’re so busy with work, school, or whatever else you do! It would also make a great plant-based addition to Christmas dinner, and is probably what I’ll be bringing and eating next week.
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I hope you love this jambalaya as much as I do! If you try it out, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing your tasty recreations 🙂 You can also find me on pinterest for more yummy plant-based food. Happy cooking!
*This recipe was updated August 16, 2020.
Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 4 ribs of celery chopped
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- 2 bell peppers chopped
- 2 vegan sausages sliced
- 6 small tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup spinach
- Heat a large pot over high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and a splash of water. Cook until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add more water as needed to prevent veggies from sticking to the pan.
- Add jalapeno and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, quinoa, vegetable stock, tomato paste, paprika, herbs, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until quinoa is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Add sliced sausages and cook to brown each side. Turn off heat.
- Once quinoa is fully cooked, turn off heat and add sausages and spinach, letting the spinach wilt in the remaining heat with the lid on. Taste and add more salt/pepper as needed.
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