I’ve only been to Louisiana once, and it was for half a day as I was road tripping back home to California from Tennessee. It only took moments for me to fall in love with New Orleans though. The second I drove into the French Quarter I was awed by the beauty and the obvious history and culture contained within it. There was only time for one meal, and I was sad I didn’t have time to hunt down vegan Jambalaya, so the thought of it has been lingering in the back of my mind for a couple years now.
Enter my man. He grew up in Louisiana and the guy LOVES to cook. His Jambalaya is famous at work potlucks but I was never able to taste it given that it’s not vegan, everybody goes apeshit over it though so I knew it had to be good.
Last month we visited some friends up north and he wanted to cook for them, so he made his Jambalaya and the two of us were able to put together a vegan pot for me using Tofurky Andouille Sausage and Beyond Meat Chicken. It was pretty damn good, but I wanted to mess around with the recipe a little more. He was nice enough to share the recipe he grew up eating and making and reluctantly gave me permission to alter it even more for my blog (thanks babe!).
A couple things you should know: 1) this is not a throw together in 30 minutes type of recipe, plan for at least a couple hours to prepare and cook. 2) the recipe below makes a TON of food so unless you want to freeze some or eat left-overs for a week straight, feel free to cut it in half.
This time around I wanted to incorporate more veggies and leave the Beyond Meat chicken out, but the Andouille sausage added a lot of flavor and good texture so I kept it in. I toyed with the idea of adding eggplant or zucchini but, meh, that didn’t sound very exciting to me so I just wandered the produce aisle at Sprouts until I decided upon a wild mushroom medley. I knew mushrooms would give it a nice rich flavor and add more tantalizing texture to the dish. Feel free to use whatever mixture of mushrooms you like. I opted for portobello, shiitake and oyster.
The type of beer you use is also not incredibly important, though I would probably avoid really heavy beers. I used Blue Moon but a pale ale would probably work well too. My advice is to use a beer that you like drinking because there will be some left over from a 6-pack and it’s fun to drink and cook! In fact, the beer I was sipping during the process probably helped keep me from getting annoyed by how long the rice was taking to cook (lazy cook here, remember?).
Overall I was incredibly pleased with how this dish turned out. It was super flavorful, had just the right amount of spice (though my stepdad complained it was TOO spicy but he’s a huge wimp, so I ignored that comment) and the mouth feel had the perfect mix of textures. It certainly scratched the Jambalaya itch that has been nagging me since that gorgeous afternoon in New Orleans almost two years ago.