Vegan jambalaya in the Instant Pot has long been our family’s favorite Creole-style dish. Today I’m sharing my recipe for making it both in the Instant Pot (or whatever brand of electric pressure cooker you may have) and on stovetop.
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This vegetarian jambalaya makes a great one-pot meal that’s perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras, or enjoying any time of the year.
My easy vegan jambalaya takes only about 40 minutes to cook, which makes it an easy meal for busy weeknights or whenever you’re pressed for time.
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 versions of jambalaya recipes from various blogs and cookbooks.
From my experience, I found out that vegetarian 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 vegan Creole 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: sauté some veggies, add the rest of the ingredients, set the pressure cooker timer for 4 minutes, and let the magic happen on its own!
See the vegan Instant Pot jambalaya web story over here.
As in many (most?) Louisiana-style dishes, my simple vegan jambalaya recipe uses the Holy Trinity as its base.
I’m talking about the mixture of chopped onions, celery and green bell peppers that traditional jambalaya can’t happen without.
You realize where the name “Holy Trinity” comes from when just a few minutes into cooking your house fills up with a truly divine aroma.
When using the Holy Trinity vegetables in combination with traditional Creole spices, you’re helping your cooking creations develop amazing flavors that any Louisiana native will approve.
Check out my other Instant Pot recipes with the Holy Trinity: vegan Instant Pot black eyed peas, and Instant Pot vegan black eyed peas and collard greens.
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 sauté 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 sauté 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.
Instant Pot Vegan Jambalaya Ingredients
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 3 ribs celery
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice, white or brown
- 1 15 oz can small diced tomatoes
- 1-2 Tbsp salt-free Cajun seasoning
- Smoked paprika
- Plant based sausage (I prefer 2 Chipotle Field Roast sausages)
- Vegetable broth or water
- Salt, black pepper to taste
- Avocado oil/additional veggie broth, as needed for sautéing the vegetables
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Below I’d like to answer a few common questions about cooking vegan jambalaya.
What’s the Difference Between Cajun and Creole Jambalaya?
Both terms are often used interchangeably, but Cajun and Creole style cooking aren’t exactly the same.
The most notable difference is that Creole cuisine uses tomatoes while Cajun does not.
By that extent, Creole jambalaya looks red thanks to the use of tomatoes, and Cajun jambalaya looks brown, having gotten its color from browned meat and vegetables.
As for the Cajun and Creole seasoning, the difference is that Creole uses a few additional herbs and spices (like thyme, oregano, and paprika) while Cajun sticks to a simplified spice combination (garlic and onion powder, black and Cayenne pepper). Find out more over here.
From my experience, Cajun seasoning is easier to come by at grocery stores, that’s why I’m using it in this recipe. If you can find a jar of Creole seasoning, feel free to use it instead.
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.
How to Make Vegan Instant Pot Jambalaya with White or Brown Rice
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 Instant Pot Vegan 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 to Replace Shrimp, Sausage, and Chicken to Make this Instant Pot Jambalaya Vegan
My favorite vegan way to add a meaty component to my jambalaya is by using plant-based sausage.
Chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausage is my go-to choice for this recipe.
Before the jambalaya purists shake their heads and tell me that chipotle flavor is an abomination in the classic Creole 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 hearty beans like cooked chickpeas or red 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/Creole seasoning, make sure that it’s also gluten-free.
How to Make Vegan Jambalaya (Instant Pot Instructions)
(See ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card below.)
Press the Sauté button of your Instant Pot (medium heat setting). Add 2-3 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil (or water/vegetable broth for oil-free).
Once hot, add diced onions, green bell pepper, celery, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add unrinsed long grain rice (white or brown), 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 chopped tomatoes, Cajun/Creole seasoning (start with the smaller amount if your seasoning brand is very spicy), smoked paprika, chopped chipotle Field Roast sausages, vegetable stock or water, and salt and pepper.
Press the Cancel button on your Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place.
Press the Manual button and set the timer: 4 minutes at high pressure for white rice, 23 minutes for brown rice.
Once the time is up and your Instant Pot beeps, follow 10-minute natural release opening method: let the timer reach 10 minutes, then press the Cancel button and carefully turn the pressure knob to release steam.
Remove the lid, fluff up the rice and adjust the seasoning or add extra spices if needed. Mix in fresh parsley. Enjoy!
How to Make Vegan Jambalaya (Stovetop Instructions)
This vegan jambalaya can easily be made without an Instant Pot.
Here’s how you can make this recipe on the stovetop.
To do that, sauté the Holy Trinity vegetables (onions, celery and green bell pepper) in a large pot over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic. Add dry unrinsed rice and let it toast with the veggies for a minute.
Add the remaining 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.
More Plant-based Comfort Food Recipes from the Blog:
Vegan Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup (Olive Garden sausage and potato soup copycat)
Simple roasted butternut squash, served 2 ways
I hope you enjoy my Instant Pot vegan jambalaya recipe as much as we do in our family!
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