Hearty, spicy, and comforting, this vegan jambalaya is a plant-based take on a traditionally meat-heavy dish. Made with quinoa instead of rice and packed full of veggies and plant protein!
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 vegan 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 September 30, 2022.
Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 2 ribs of celery chopped
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 small tomatoes or 1-15 oz can tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 vegan sausages sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 cup spinach
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp oregano**
- 1 tsp thyme**
- Mix spices together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add jalapeno and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add spices and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, quinoa, and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until quinoa is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add extra broth if needed.
- 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, stir in spinach and parsley. Cover and turn off heat, allowing the spinach to wilt in the residual heat.
- Stir in sausages. Taste and add salt/pepper as needed.
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