Even though I’m a vegetarian, I grew up in Maryland, and I’ve never stopped yearning for southern food. Until lately, I’ve been out of luck. Home style southern cooking just hasn’t been a popular topic among vegetarian cookbook writers.
Fortunately, things have begun to change.
With the publication of the Vegan Soul Kitchen, Cookin’ Southern Vegetarian Style, and Great American Vegetarian, vegetarians can now enjoy their southern roots without eating meat.
Great American Vegetarian, by Nava Atlas, is the source for my favorite Vegetarian Jambalaya recipe. This recipe is full of delicious creole flavor, without including a speck of animal products. Plus, it healthy!
Vegetarian Jambalaya by Nava Atlas
3 cups water
1 1/4 cups raw brown rice
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
8 links soy “sausage”
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon each: paprika, dried oregano, dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan. Stir in the rice; cover and cook at a gentle, steady simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Heat just enough of the oil to lightly coat the bottom of large, nonstick skillet. When hot, arrange the “sausage” links in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, gently turning them until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, celery and bell pepper, and continue to saute until all the vegetables are lightly browned.
Add the remaining ingredients except the salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut the “sausage” links into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Add to the skillet and simmer briefly, just until they are heated through.
Combine the skillet mixture with the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl and toss together thoroughly. Season to taste with salt (and a bit more cayenne if you’d like) and serve at once.