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.
By the way, this is one of the 15 kid friendly vegan recipes from the blog that have been approved by my 2 year-old toddler.
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.
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. I got great results from using extra-long white basmati rice that I’ve only been able to find in one store (the bulk section of WinCo here in the Pacific Northwest).
Cooking time for jambalaya with WHITE rice: 4 minutes at pressure, then 10 minutes natural release.
Cooking time for jambalaya with BROWN rice: 23 minutes at pressure, then 10 minutes natural release.
(Big thanks to blog reader Shonta who tested this recipe with brown rice and shared her results in the comments!)
How do I replace shrimp, sausage, or chicken to make my jambalaya vegan?
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 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!
This recipe is a part of my collection of healthy vegan recipes made with easy to find non-perishable ingredients you most likely have in your pantry right now.
If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Give it a star rating below, pin it to Pinterest, tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, or leave a comment.
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