In keeping with my theme lately of easy, gluten free one-pot dinners for my Wednesday and Thursday night meals, this week I made a gluten free and vegan version of jambalaya (don't worry, there's a meat option for you carnivores). I chose to make jambalaya this week as my book club has just finished reading a series of books about New Orleans, culminating in a trip by many of them to Mardi Gras!!
Alas, although I desperately wanted to go, I didn't join them, given that I've already spent two months out of the past twelve traveling. Sometimes one must keep their feet on the ground and their monies in their pockets...
But back to this jambalaya - savoury, a little spicy, satisfying, and once again, so very very flexible and cheap. Jambalaya basically means mish mash, which is perfect for those of us who like to throw whatever is in the fridge into a pot.
I also like jambalaya because, while I've never been to Louisiana, I feel some small connection to it given that some of my Acadian ancestors who were expelled from Canada went down south and stayed there, while others came back up to settle once they were allowed to return.Whereas a lot of Louisiana and Acadian cooking is very meat heavy, jambalaya is a little more flexible, allowing for vegetarian and vegan options.
Of course, if you have sausage or seafood on hand and want to toss it in, that can make for a tasty and satisfying addition!
I used brown rice for a heartier dish, but if you prefer to cut back on cooking time white rice can be subbed in instead. Just cut back the water, for a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups water.
Also, you can easily double this recipe for leftovers!
If you choose to add any sort of sausage - meat or veggie sausage - I suggest cooking it in the pot first, then removing to add the oil and veggies, then returning the meat at the same stage as the rice and stock. Seafood can be added in the last 10 minutes, following the directions on your seafood packaging.
The ingredients for this are flexible, I just used up what I had kicking around. Jambalaya typically has onion, celery, and peppers at least
Ingredients for Vegan, Gluten Free Jambalaya (serves 4)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1-2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large tomato, chopped (or 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste)
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 c red lentils (optional, but I like them for a bit of extra protein)
1 c brown rice
2 bay leaves
2 3/4 c vegetable broth
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on desired heat)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. If adding meat, cook now and then set it aside. Add onions and cook 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add peppers, celery, garlic, and carrots and cook another 2-3 minutes to soften.
2. Add remaining ingredients from tomatoes down to cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes, until rice is softened and liquid is mostly absorbed. If using seafood, add during the last 10 minutes or so, according to package instructions.
3. Remove from heat and toss with parsley, adding salt and pepper as desired.
Leftovers are great the next day, too, when the flavours have had even more of a chance to blend!
Have you ever had jambalaya?
Have you ever been to Louisiana and Mardi Gras?
Any fellow Acadians out there? (Ok, I'm only 1/4, but still...)
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