Vegetable Jambalaya Rice

This one pot dish is a family favorite. Easy to make and does not take too much effort to cook. The ingredients can be easily swapped with any veggies you prefer. Jambalaya is a Creole rice dish of West African, French (especially Provençal cuisine), and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice.


The trinity of celery, onions and peppers is sautéed well. Vegetable broth, tomatoes, seasonings and black beans and rice are added along with water and cooked for 20-25 minutes to let the rice cook in the vegetable broth and develop flavors perfect for the Jambalaya Rice.


ORIGINS


One origin story of New Orleans Jambalaya suggests that it was based on Jollof rice, a West African dish. Many of the slaves that lived in New Orleans came from West Africa and would have been familiar with the dish of Jollof rice. Like Jambalaya, Jollof rice was traditionally made from whatever ingredients were handy, such as seafood, crawfish, and various meats. Tomatoes are always present in its preparation.



A more likely origin story states jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron.



Whatever the origins of this dish might be, this one pot rice dish is filled with healthy carbs, proteins and fiber and also full of flavors, so its a must try. Here's how to make this dish.


Ingredients (Serves 2)


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil/olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 small green chili, like a jalapeño, finely chopped

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1tbsp paprika

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 cups rice (Any basmati long grain or jasmine rice)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup canned black beans

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds



Instructions

  1. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. After it gets hot, add cumin seeds and let it crackle.

  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes, until they become translucent but not brown.

  3. Add the garlic, chili, tomatoes, bay leaves, paprika, turmeric, cayenne if using.

  4. Cook for another 5 minutes.

  5. Add canned black beans and vegetable broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Let everything cook until some of the tomato juice releases

  6. Add the rice. Taste and adjust the salt, and pepper, and any other spices.

  7. Lower the heat to medium and let the dish cook until the rice absorbs all the liquid, 20 to 25 minutes.


NOTES


  • You can add any number of veggies or any substitute any veggies in this dish.

  • You can use mexican seasoning for more flavor.

  • Serve with some Sriracha for more heat with a side of sour cream and sliced avocadoes.

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  • Increase the portion of rice to a cup for each person.


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