Vegan jambalaya has long been our family’s favorite Cajun-inspired dish. Today I’m sharing my recipe for making it in the Instant Pot (or whatever brand of electric pressure cooker you may have).
I’ve never made jambalaya myself before going vegan, but after our family switched to a plant-based diet, I’ve tried at least 3 or 4 vegan jambalaya recipes from various blogs and cookbooks.
From my experience, I found out that jambalaya can be easy to cook, but also quite easy to ruin. Forget to check how spicy your brand of Cajun seasoning is, and your jambalaya can turn out hotter than fire. Forget to stir the rice as it’s cooking, and it can stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
This last part recently got me thinking that if I made my jambalaya in the Instant Pot, the need for stirring would be eliminated. Plus, who doesn’t like the convenience of putting everything in the pot, setting the timer, and walking away to do whatever you want while the dinner is cooking?
So this is how my Instant Pot vegan jambalaya recipe was born. It’s really easy and quick to make: saute some veggies, add the rest of the ingredients, set the pressure cooker timer for 4 minutes, and let the magic happen on its own!
As in many (most?) Cajun-inspired dishes, this vegan jambalaya recipe uses the Holy Trinity – a mixture of chopped onions, celery and green bell peppers – as its base. You realize where this name comes from when just a few minutes into cooking your house fills up with a truly divine aroma.
I like that I can make the whole dish in my Instant Pot start to finish thanks to the saute function that lets me cook the onions, celery and bell peppers. If you have a different pressure cooker brand that doesn’t come with a saute function, you can pre-cook the vegetables separately on the stovetop, then transfer them to your pressure cooker along with the rest of the ingredients.
Are you an Instant Pot newbie? See my easy-to-follow guide to using an Instant Pot that will get any beginner up to speed on pressure cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below I’d like to answer a few common questions about cooking vegan jambalaya.
What brand of Cajun seasoning is used in vegan jambalaya?
There are a lot of brands of Cajun seasoning (also known as Creole seasoning) on the market. Some of them are spicier than others. Some contain salt while others don’t. Some seasonings with salt also contain MSG, but be aware that it isn’t always disclosed on the package.
I recommend using salt-free Cajun seasoning blend to avoid MSG. A big plus if the ingredients are organic. However, organic spice brands tend to run more expensive.
What kind of rice is used in vegan jambalaya?
I’ve made jambalaya recipes that called for short grain and long grain white rice, as well as brown rice. From my experience, long grain white rice like basmati makes the best jambalaya, especially in this Instant Pot recipe. Short grain rice often turns into mush, and brown rice tends to take too long to cook.
How do I replace the traditionally used shrimp, sausage, or chicken in this vegan jambalaya recipe?
My favorite vegan way to add a meaty component to my jambalaya is using the chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausage. Before the jambalaya purists shake their heads and tell me that chipotle flavor is an abomination in the classic jambalaya, I’ll say that it mellows out quite a bit during cooking, and enhances the final dish with a delicious spicy and smoky flavor.
If you aren’t a fan of fake vegan meats, or would rather keep your jambalaya entirely whole food, plant-based, skip the Field Roast sausage completely or add some cooked chickpeas or kidney beans instead.
Is this vegan jambalaya gluten-free?
All of the ingredients of this jambalaya recipe are gluten-free except for the Field Roast sausage. To make this jambalaya gluten-free, omit the sausage completely, or add cooked chickpeas or kidney beans.
If you’re using store-bought Cajun seasoning, make sure that it’s also gluten-free.
How do I make this jambalaya without an Instant Pot?
This vegan jambalaya can easily be made on stovetop too. To do that, saute the Holy Trinity vegetables (onions, celery and green bell pepper), then add garlic. Add dry unrinsed rice and let it toast with the veggies for a minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients except for parsley, cover the pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the rice cooks through and the liquid is absorbed. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. If the liquid disappears before the rice is done, add a bit more to keep things moist. After the jambalaya is done, mix in chopped parsley. That’s it!
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cup long grain white rice*, unrinsed
- 1 can small diced tomatoes, drained
- 1-2 Tbsp salt-free Cajun seasoning
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 chipotle Field Roast sausages**
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water, plus more for sautéing the vegetables
- Salt, black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Press the Saute button of your Instant Pot. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth. Once the liquid starts bubbling, add diced onions, bell pepper, celery, and minced garlic. Saute until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking and adding more liquid if needed.
- Add unrinsed white long-grain rice, mix it into the vegetables, allowing the rice to toast slightly for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, cut the Field Roast sausages lengthwise, then chop them into 1/4 inch-thick half-moons.
- Add drained canned tomatoes, Cajun seasoning (start with the smaller amount if your seasoning brand is very spicy), smoked paprika, chopped chipotle Field Roast sausages, vegetable broth or water, and salt and pepper.
- Press the Cancel button on your Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the vent lever is set to pressure. Press the Manual button and set the timer for 4 minutes. Once the time is up and your Instant Pot beeps, quick release for 10 minutes (let the timer reach 10 minutes, then press Cancel and carefully turn the pressure knob to release steam - be careful not to burn yourself when the steam starts coming out!).
- Remove the lid, fluff up the rice and adjust the seasoning if needed. Mix in fresh parsley. Enjoy!
*I usually use white basmati rice with great results.
**I like the flavor and texture of the spicy chipotle Field Roast sausages in this recipe, but feel free to use a different brand of spicy vegan sausage if you'd like. However, I can't guarantee that sausages from other brands will have the right texture when cooked in the Instant Pot.
**For a fake meat-free/gluten-free version, omit the sausage completely, or add 1 can of drained and rinsed canned chickpeas or kidney beans.
- Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker
- Field Roast Vegetarian Mexican Chipotle Sausage 13 Oz (4 Pack)
- The Spice Hunter Cajun Creole Seasoning Blend, 1.9-Ounce Jar
- La Dalia Sweet Smoked Paprika from Spain, 2.469 Oz
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Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 171 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 20g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Protein: 8g
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This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you make a purchase through affiliate links on my blog, I receive a very small commission that helps me run this blog, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!