Dana Slatkin

Vegetarian Summer Jambalaya

Vegetarian JambalayaTwo of my dear friends happen to be from New Orleans. They are both passionately attached to the Louisiana cuisine of their childhoods but, when it comes to cooking, they couldn’t be more different. Holly is a svelte Southern belle who makes lighter versions of her mother’s Creole standards. Jeff sticks to his River Road Recipes cookbook with the precision of a surgeon — bacon drippings, sausage, and all.

As the sun was setting one warm evening last week, I was craving something spicy and Southern, like jambalaya. Could I lighten it up for a summer meal without compromising its character?

Heeding Holly’s recommendation to use a Dutch oven (the perfect opportunity to pull out my All-Clad nonstick cast iron beauty), I began to build the base with a classic Southern trinity — onions, celery, and peppers. Then, in a break from tradition that would make Jeff shudder, I swapped olive oil for the butter roux and meatless sausages for bacon and pork, adding zucchini from my garden and brown rice for added texture.

As the vegetables cooked down, I added Holly’s favorite Creole seasoning and Jeff’s secret flourish, a can of cheap beer. A half hour later, as I uncovered the pot, a gust of spices engulfed my kitchen, and my feisty Southern dinner was good to go.
By the book? Definitely not. But, at least in my kitchen, tradition can be deliciously twisted.

For more 1-pot vegetarian meals, try my Quinoa Salad with Feta, Tomatoes, Corn and Olives; Sweet and Sour Glass Noodle Soup with Tofu and Fennel; and Tofu Tikka Masala.

Nothing says summer like a freshly baked pie! Share your favorite recipe with our readers and you could win an autographed copy of my cookbook, Summertime Anytime, along with a surprise cooking utensil!

Photo credit: tastespotting.com

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • FriendFeed
  • HealthRanker
  • Live
  • Orkut
  • Tumblr
  • Faves
  • Google Buzz
  • Ping.fm


  1. Sources Of Protein For Lacto Ovo Vegetarians says:

    I’ve never had jambalaya! Believe it or not… I’ve heard about it though! I’m saving this page as a bookmark and I’m going to try it soon! Thank you for sharing this new recipe with me.

  2. nickey g canton amador says:

    in az we do not have creole spices…whats in them, or, what can i use instead?

  3. dana says:

    You can make your own spice mix with a combination of your choice of spices: paprika (preferably smoked), Old Bay seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, ground thyme, ground oregano, black pepper. I have a good mix in here: http://www.danaslatkin.com/fish-recipes/blackened-fish/ Hope you like it!

Please share your thoughts!