This vegan jambalaya is more like a paella or Spanish rice than a traditional jambalaya. It uses tofu that has been frozen, giving it a great chewy texture.
I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days, but before I go, I’d like to share with you a couple of recipes from my native state, Louisiana.
First up is a somewhat non-traditional jambalaya, based on a recipe for Chicken Jambalaya that I used to love in my omnivore days. It came from a book called River Road Recipes, one of those collections of recipes of the type you can find in most states, put out by the Women’s Auxiliary or the Junior League or whatever. It’s food the way people actually cook at home rather than how some fancy chef does it, so many of the recipes are easy and use short-cuts that save time. And they’re tested on family and friends, so they’re good. Like this one.
This is more like a paella or Spanish rice than a traditional jambalaya, but I’ve been cooking it for years and everyone who tries it likes it. It uses tofu that has been frozen and thawed, giving it a spongy texture that absorbs the seasonings and makes it chewy. To work right, the tofu needs to be frozen for at least 24 hours. The simplest way to to do this is to slice it into 1/2-inch slices, put them into a freezer bag, and freeze. When it’s time to cook, either defrost them in the fridge for a few hours or in the microwave. Squeeze them gently to remove all water and them cut them into cubes.
This makes about 4-6 servings. Once you’ve had this recipe, you’ll do like I do and keep a package of tofu in the freezer at all times!
- 1 lb extra-firm tofu frozen and defrosted
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper any color, chopped
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup uncooked white rice or parboiled brown rice see note below
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato juice or water
- 2 1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder may use part chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke seasoning optional
- red (cayenne) and black pepper to taste
Prepare the tofu by gently squeezing out the excess water and cutting it into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
Over medium-high heat, sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery until soft. Add rice and garlic and cook, stirring, until it browns slightly. Add tomatoes, water, chili powder and other seasonings, and stir. (It’s the cayenne pepper that makes this spicy, so be sure to add plenty!) Gently stir in tofu, cover tightly and put on low heat.
Cook for 30 minutes or until rice is done and liquid is absorbed.
You can do this with brown rice by par-boiling the rice first: pour rice into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Add to the recipe when rice is called for.
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You can find all of my Louisiana recipes here.