It’s been a busy week, but I figured I’d make a dish in honor of Mardi Gras, being a former Catholic. This particular post also benefits from the long, long side trip we made to Florida’s first and brand new Trader Joe’s aaaaaaaaall the way down in Naples.
Since I like to make everything healthier, and brown rice is much tastier than white, I’ve substituted brown rice for the white rice usually used in jambalaya. I added extra vegetables, since I like lots of vegetables and less starch, and I also used meat substitutes, Tofurky sausage and Trader Joe’s chicken-less strips; definitely no seafood, and seafood substitutes are rare. I make this in more of the New Orleans style: protein cooked with the celery, pepper, and onion trinity; tomatoes; rice cooked together with all of the ingredients.
The ingredients list looks a little lengthy, but that’s mostly the herbs and spices. Feel free to use one to two tbsp. of Cajun seasoning instead of the last five herbs and spices, if you want something simpler.
As the meat substitutes are cooked with the liquid ingredients, they may become a little softer but do take on the flavors of the herbs, spices, and tomato. If you’d like the protein to be firmer, remove the meat substitutes after browning and add them back 5-10 minutes before the rice is finished cooking. This will give the proteins a little flavor without sacrificing the firmness from browning.
Vegetarian Brown Rice Jambalaya
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 large vegetarian sausages (Tofurky, Field Roast), sliced
8 oz. non-chicken strips
2 large onions, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
3 bell peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups brown rice
7 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1-2 tsp. cayenne, depending on spice tolerance
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy stainless steel skillet or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sliced vegetarian sausage and non-chicken strips, and cook, stirring often, until evenly browned. Add onions, celery, and peppers, stir well, sprinkle with salt, and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 60-75 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Remove bay leaves before serving. Adjust salt and Tabasco to taste, and serve with extra Tabasco at the table.