Meatless Jambalaya - Who needs the flesh?

in Natural Medicine2 months ago (edited)



Well, at least I finally know how to spell that word. Back in the day I had a friend who used to use "hot jambalaya!" as an expletive(exclamation?).. usually when he was excited about something. It was years before I even knew what jambalaya was.. let alone having ever made it.

Yet, when looking at the ingredients for this week's Plant Power Cooking Challenge, I decided I wanted to focus on beans, as they are a wonderfully nutritious food that I rarely make, and I need to learn how to cook with them in a more routine fashion.

This is one of the things I absolutely adore about this challenge and the blockchain in general. It inspires me to do new things.

As I was looking through the legumes section of my free-pile, well-weathered, mass-produced, poorly-made vegetarian cookbook that is the sole book residing in my kitchen, I came across a meatless version of jambalaya. I have never made jambalaya before, and I'm not even sure if I've ever eaten it, so I decided I would challenge myself in tribute to my old friend Ralph. We've gone our separate ways in life, but we still live close enough, and maybe I'll even bring him some if it turns out to be as good as I hope it will(I'm writing this part as my beans are a-soakin').

The recipe in the book used a faux-sausage, but as there is an unopened package of tempeh that has been sitting in my fridge, I decided to go with that instead. I also wasn't a big fan of the ratios they used in their recipe; so I decided I am going to improv a little bit, borrow some ideas from the internet, and see what happens.



As with all recipes- do your own thang. This is simply what I did, but change this however you please. I think the most useful aspect of cooking is the ability to adapt to what you have available. Sure, it won't go over well in kitchens if you're working a line; but in terms of real life, cooking for yourself, it's one of the most valuable skills you could have. And this recipe is simply adapting to another recipe. That was adapted from another recipe. So on and so forth; back to the 18th century(which is when jambalaya was "invented", according to a quick search on Presearch)

And a quite note about the beans- you may certainly use canned beans. I happened to have dry kidney beans in my kitchen, so I went with the overnight soaking method instead-- but you can skip that step with a nice can of drained beans. Of any type!

  • 3/4 cup dry kidney beans(=~1 15.5 oz can of prepared beans)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 large sticks of celery
  • 16 oz crushed tomatoes (I wish I had a chunkier kind of tomato; but this was in my pantry)
  • 1 package tempeh
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 green onions
  • 2/3 cup parsley
  • 1 cup uncooked rice(2.5 cups cooked)
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • ~2 TBSP hot sauce
  • 2 TBSP oil(I used veg because it's the cheapest oil I have)
  • 2 TSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP Cajun seasoning
  • 1.5 TSP paprika
  • 1 TSP dried basil

As you'll see below, I also used an additional 1 TBSP soy, some ACV, some onion and garlic powder and I think something else for my beans. I didn't list that in my ingredients list as that's just how I personally prepared my beans, and I'm also operating under the assumption that not everyone uses dry beans. I know I don't, if I can avoid it. But I figured since it was my first time making jambalaya, I might as well do it well.



I know beans can be a controversial subject- when cooking from dry that is. Some people soak, some don't.. and some people who don't swear by it. I've only tried cooking beans once without the soak, and it didn't work out well. So, I usually stick with the soaking method. If you're using canned beans, or have your own bean method, you can skip this section entirely.


  1. Soak 'em. I've heard of people boiling them and then soaking in hot water for a short period of time. I'm sure that works fine but I don't have the attention span, and it's easier for me to just soak them in cold water overnight.

  2. I added my soaked and rinsed beans to a pot on the stove, and covered them in what I had left in a vegetable stock carton. Probably about 20 oz for my 3/4 cup of beans. I added a little water for safety, 1 TBSP of soy sauce, 1 TBSP of ACV, and a pinch of garlic and onion powders. One thing I enjoy about cooking dry beans is the stock the process produces. At the end, I ended up with a good amount of DELICIOUS stock- pictured below.

  3. I turned my heat up to high, brought it to a boil, turned the heat down a bit and boiled for about 7 minutes. I was shooting for 5 but forgot. I doubt it really matters- just habit. Then, I turned it down to low, to a gentle simmer, and put a lid on it. I let them simmer for just shy of 2 hours, periodically checking the texture after an hour or so.

  4. When your beans have achieved desire tenderness, scoop them out with a slotted spoon into an external apparatus. Then pour your stock into a container to save for later! I use the slotted spoon as I've found it the easiest way to separate the stock from the beans; rather than strainers, etc.



SICK! Now you're beanin', and the time-consuming part is done with. Everything after this is pretty easy and quick.

I WOULD suggest preparing your vegetables beforehand. I did NOT, and I somewhat regretted it. I mean, I was also dealing with my dog and trying to figure out why my speaker playing The Last Podcast on the Left wasn't working properly; I'm sure if 100% of your attention was on the cooking you'd have no problem prepping intermittently- yet I simply can't.

The other thing I did as "prep" was a first-time thing. I've heard of people steaming tempeh before "cooking" it. The quotations is because you don't actually need to cook it. Anyways, people say it makes the texture and taste better- removes bitterness and softens it. I cut my tempeh block into quarters and steamed it for 15 minutes. I honestly didn't notice much of a difference at all. Although, I have never found tempeh to be "bitter" to begin with- like some people say it is. Additionally I like the texture. SO, do it if you'd like; especially if you find tempeh bitter. I don't, and I didn't really notice a difference. Next time I'll do a side-by-side comparison.

Oh, also, I almost forgot to say cook your rice. I had done so earlier when I cooked my beans, and from my understanding the "classic" jambalaya usually pulls parboiled rice from an already prepared batch.



  1. Prep your onion and your garlic. I usually leave red onion in slices, but I decided to chop/dice it this time. From my limited knowledge of jambalaya, this seemed like the right move. I made everything much more square than I usually do- even the garlic. I kind of minced, but it was certainly more of a rough chop.

  2. Grab a good pan- and keep in mind the size. I did not. I mean, I did; I used the biggest sautee style pan I had.. but I wasn't prepared for how much food I was actually making. I have a tendency to make a large portion of one thing, such as beans, and then adjust the recipe to that. And I forget how that ends up. ANYWAYS, pour your oil into the pan and heat it on the stove/whatever your cooking apparatus is.

  3. Once you've got your preppin' done and your oil heated, add your red onion and stir to coat. I'm not much of a timekeeper when it comes to cooking, so go by sight. Once they are a little translucent(if you want a time I'd guess maybe 3-5 minutes depending on the size of your onion and your heat level), add your garlic and stir for about a minute.

  4. Once your garlic is nice and aromatic, browned; however you'd like, add your celery, pepper, and tempeh. I chose to cut my tempeh into little squares to go with the consistency of the size of the rest of the ingredients. The celery I chopped as I feel most people do, and the pepper larger chunks than usual. Once they've been chopped and added, stir, coat, cook for ~6 minutes. You can cook for longer, certainly; just watch your onions and especially your garlic. The rest should be fine.



  • (5) When you're satisfied with the above step, add your beans, (cooked) rice, spices, tomatoes, soy sauce, hot sauce; essentially everything except for your greens(parsley and green onions). Due to my limited pan size, I added the spices and sauces before the larger items; to make stirring a little less hectic.

  • (6) Stir the SHIT out of this. It took me a solid 3 or 4 minutes of constant effort just to get everything combined- again, the pan size didn't help as I had to be really careful.


  • (7) Cook for roughly 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Or, less than 10 minutes. Or, more. Just give it the taste/heat test throughout and adjust accordingly. You want to saturate everything, but as long as everything is well-combined and heated thoroughly you shouldn't have any problems with that. Just make sure everything is heated through and all your liquid is absorbed.


  • (8) Chop your parsley as you please, and your green onion into rings. Throw that shit in, stir to combine, add some salt or other spices as you please, turn off the heat, serve, and enjoy :) Unless you have a large family you'll have plenty of leftovers. Put them away or freeze some in a freezer bag.

And there you go


My first time making jambalaya couldn't have gone better. It was absolutely delicious; and I have tons of leftovers. I enjoy cooking this way; as I have to worry about less vegetables spoiling and I have something good to eat when I'm feeling lazy- rather than just making the fastest simplest food I can cram down my throat.

I hope you enjoyed this post about vegan jambalaya and I hope someone attempts to make it! Cajun folks- give me your feedback. Jambalaya experts- you as well. If this inspires you to make some, please take a picture and leave it in the comments.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge. This is my second go at taking a traditional meat-heavy dish and creating a vegan version. I'm getting to the point where I don't really remember the taste of meat but I also don't remember ever missing it all that much as long as the cooking is done right.

Thank you all for reading! Mad love to the HIVE <3


Ahh dude you just totally outdid yourself. That was an epic informative post with a good lot of fun in it. You are making some kick ass plantbased yumsters!

I would really love to get my chops on some of that.

I've never had jambalaya as far as I can remember but I feel like I may have had a non vegan one a long time ago.

Anyway you don't find tempeh bitter because you haven't had bitter tempeh. I used to make it as a job, from scratch and I assure you it sometimes can be bitter. At that time I had an extreme love hate relationship with it. That's why I always boil it in something before I use it for the initial thing. I am not brave like you. But I know it probably isn't always necessary. It worked for you in this case. Good to know.

Your photos are great! Nice work Vermont!

I realized once I tasted it I definitely have had it before. And definitely with meat. I can’t remember it clearly, but Im fairly confident I like this version better.

I wish I could give you some, i have too much to handle and I thought my room mate and his partner were going to help me out like they said they would, but as soon as I cleaned up my dishes they started making pizzas... so now I have to handle as much as possible of this myself...

And yeah, tempeh. I have to admit I don’t cook it often. I’ve always enjoyed the ways I’ve prepared it but I’m learning through hive that these are NOT the ways to prepare or use it haha. I’ll probably continue my methods but it won’t be in any more posted recipes 😂 I’ve said before I thought I had a weird taste and I was the only one who liked my cooking- then hive proved me wrong- but now I’m starting to think I’m right as no one can actually taste the food I make here 😂😂 maybe it’s the bitterness I like or something, I’m not sure

Thanks for your kind words as always :) are you going to enter this week? I’m looking forward to seeing some real cooking!!

Hey you can prepare your tempeh any way you want. I was just saying that I have had bitter tempeh so now I'm afraid of it. I may give it a try your way again.

Your room mate should have just wanted to dive into that goodness. I think you should freeze it and keep it for when you don't have time to cook. That's what I do. I'm too lazy sometimes then I remember something in the freezer and I'm so relieved. What I eat when I post and what I eat when I don't, are two different things.

What I eat when I post and what I eat when I don't, are two different things.

Hahaha but that's exactly what I mean about the tempeh. I'm not only referring to your comment, it seems as though my tempeh method may have given me a lot of negative points in this challenge haha. But, hey! It's lesson learning.

My room mate's one of those people who hears the word vegan/vegetarian and turns away. Not turns away, but his girlfriend is vegan, and he'll come home all of the time bragging to me about some sort of epiphany. Like, "yo so Katie made this meatless ____ and it was actually, no kidding, really good! It's incredible to think about eating a meal without meat but I did it and" bla bla bla. It's like yeah man... you're talking to a vegetarian. I'm pretty aware it's "possible" hahahhaa

He's not super bright. Nice guy. But, there are a lot of interactions like this. He speaks one on one as if the other person must be on the same page about everything.. even if he knows they aren't. I'd almost say "bigoted" but he's really not at all... just... idk. He's not all there, upstairs.

I'm gonna freeze some. I came to the realization I don't really know how to freeze jambalaya in the best preservation way; in terms of container. My first thought was plastic bag but all mine are flimsy. I'll figure it out today, once this week long rain storm starts.

Haha really don't stop to cook tempeh for a post. It's not wrong to do it your way. In fact many people do especially when you have a saucy recipe like yours. I just wouldn't grill it without boiling first. I get a little creeped out by it that way but I love tempeh and it's not a point losing factor to cook it straight up.

I collect plastic containers that had things in it. I wash them and use those instead of buying tupperware.

You room mate surprises me with a vegan girlfriend and they made pizza when they could have had your food. Some people. I know people like that.

I also collect plasticware; I guess I am overthinking this freezing process. Freezing food is new to me. Really in the past I've only frozen soups so in my head I feel like you need a different type of container for more "dry" foods... but as I'm typing this I'm realizing how stupid that is and that I can just put it in plastic 😂

You room mate surprises me with a vegan girlfriend and they made pizza when they could have had your food

Well, I told him they should have some hours before she arrived. I think he never told her I had offered because he didn't want to try jambalaya without meat. She actually looked rather disappointed when she showed up and I told her the offer was on the table, but she also had about $30 worth of groceries to make pizzas with so she stuck with their plan. AKA he definitely didn't tell her.

I shit you not, before he started dating her the only things in the kitchen of his were canned soups(the ones with the big bold letters that say MEATY or XXXTRA on them), frozen pizzas, frozen burritos, craft beers, and deli meat and cheese. Occasionally bagels and cream cheese. A frat diet, as a 26 year old accountant that works from home. I'll never understand lol

Uggg those people haha.

Glad you reminded us on cooking the rice 😄. What a freakin great post, I can only agree with carolynstahl. I had my first Jambalaya in Davenport, Iowa, while resting in a creepy Motel on my way to Colorado. Glad I survived that night and still had a car the next morning 😂

My only night in Iowa was also on my way to Colorado haha. I tried to get some rest somewhere near the Worlds Biggest Truck Stop or whatever it’s called. Cops woke me up and told me I couldn’t sleep in my car or something dumb like that, and I ended up driving the rest of the way to CO instead.

Hahaha yeah I had to make a reminder as I almost forgot to, but I didn’t think it fit in as a “step” because I feel most people know how to cook rice and the post was already becoming unbearably long, per usual. Thank you! It was really fun. And easy. And probably something I’ll do again and again.

Glad your jambalaya wasn’t poisoned!

It was actually great. I am going to re-cook your post for sure. Also I am impressed of how much you write. I have a lot in my mind but usually just do some inner self talk and then I'm done lol.

If you do, let me know how it is! I’d love to see a picture.

If I’m alone I have to write. My brain and I don’t get along; I’d say it’s a love/hate relationship but it’s really just hate. And trying to deal with it isn’t always a great time. So, for me, writing it is. It’s a way to use the friendly part of my brain while drowning the part that tells me all the “bad” stuff

A) I will let you know for sure.
B) I know exactly what you are talking about. I just started in Dec 2020 with going sort of public and writing. Still I'm a thinker and inner self talker lol, but yah, the little writing I have done helped with stuff. Even though I can't do it every day. When I feel like it I throw stuff out, and then there are days in between where I just feel blank and paralyzed.

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YUM! You sure are enjoying this challenge - that's awesome. I usually make jambalaya with veggie sausages. Too easy. Such a good dish, and I expect you'll have this as a staple like your viking meal.

I do like tempeh kinda crispy fried, but it can be okay as a meat substitute too, if you like it like that.

Haha don’t worry, I won’t be including tempeh in any more of my recipes on HIVE, apparently people are not a fan of the way I cook tempeh hahahha.. I like it, but to each their own, so I think I learned my lesson that just because I enjoy it, doesn’t mean it’s good cooking haha.

Thanks! Yeah it has been fun. I miss veggie sausages quite a bit- we have them but in my community they’re outrageously expensive! I could try to make my own I suppose, and probably should give it a shot!

Thank you for your kind words and for reading :)

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Well, I'm no jambalaya expert as a Kentuckiana native, and I would probably be more qualified to judge chewing tobacco, popcorn, and Amish rocking chairs. However, I would not not refuse a plate of this protein-packed delight. Let's wait for the Lousiana Hivers to to weigh in on this, although I fear we might be waiting a long time. Can't say I've seen a Cajun Hiver yet.

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Hahah but I could see this being enjoyed on a hot porch, on an amish rocking chair and with a nice jaw of chew waiting for you.. I'm not really sure where the popcorn would fit into this equation.

I have a ton of friends from NOLA I should probably ask them what they think of it. Judging by taste though I'd hope they would approve. I tried to keep it pretty traditional other than the meat/shellfish part.

although I fear we might be waiting a long time

Hahaha I think you are probably right on that front 😂

This recipe looks delicious and good for health. Thank you for share 😊

Thank you!! It was really good. I hope it holds up as well in the freezer..

I loved!!! haha I cook the beans before. but I have to be careful that they do not disintegrate, I like how you do it. I will try it !!! This recipe makes me hungry, I really don't know what tempeh is: (... it's not essential from what I understand ...

Haha no it's not but it does add a nice texture. It's a soy product, high in protein. It's really good when prepared right; but it's also one of those things that some people love, and some people hate haha

and thank you!

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Thank you!! I am honored and yet again, shocked!

This looks absolutely yum @herbertholmes2, I have never had Jambalaya, definitely want to try making this some time, beautifully presented foodie post!

Thank you!! It’s super easy. A nice one-pan, delicious dish