The Herbivorous Butcher is all the rage these days, in case you haven't heard. What's more, this brother-and-sister duo who create meat-free meats and cheese-free cheeses are the sweetest of the sweet. I had the honor to be a part of the grand opening celebration of their new storefront last weekend in Minneapolis. I gave away an autographed copy of my cookbook as part of the festivities and schmoozed with the throng of excited patrons who were lined up at the door.
I look forward to using their assortment of plant-based goodies for my culinary creations, and I hope that you will too. Here's a perfect way to get started: Prepare a batch of my Down-and-Dirty Jambalaya and use their vegan sausage to make it extra delish. (I do believe their products are available via mail order if you don't live in the Twin Cities area.)
from Mistress Ginger Cooks!: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone
Yields 6 servings
Let’s get down and dirty, folks. By that I mean let’s make some jambalaya. What did you think I meant? You dirty birdie, you think you know me so well. Well, you didn’t know me when I was living in New Orleans, singing in the jazz dives by night and apprenticing with a Cajun chef by day. He taught me how to worship the holy trinity. I asked, “What holy trinity?” Until then, I just thought the holy trinity was “safe, sane, and consensual.” But in Cajun-land, the holy trinity refers to onion, celery, and bell pepper. Who knew? I’ve since veganized this Cajun favorite, which usually consists of a mad mix of different meats, now replaced with meaty mushrooms, chunky chickpeas, and vegan sausage. Ooh, there’s another holy trinity for you to relish with glee.
1½ cups long-grain brown rice
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
3 cups stemmed and chopped white button mushrooms
¾ cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
¾ cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can salt-free chickpeas, rinsed and drained
7 ounces kielbasa-style vegan sausages, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh parsley, lightly packed
Let’s talk dirty. Combine the rice, water, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, fluff the rice with a fork, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. (Hmm, “fluff” and “drizzle.” That could qualify as dirty talk, if improperly applied.)
While the rice cooks, let’s take care of the holy trinity. Here’s how we get holy: heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, chile, and Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chickpeas and vegan sausage and stir to combine. Cook until the sausage is heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, festoon your dining room for a Mardi Gras celebration with an indiscriminate spray of purple, green, and gold accoutrements.
Stir in the parsley and then let the festivities begin. Leading a parade of freaky dancers and gaudy floats, carry this dynamite dish out to the bedazzled dining room. And make sure a genuine N’Orleans jazz band is bringin’ up the rear. (No dirty talk was intended with that last remark, I assure you).
Per serving: 404 calories, 19 g protein, 13 g fat (2 g sat), 56 g carbohydrates, 354 mg sodium, 71 mg calcium, 9 g fiber
Tricks of the Trade
While the ingredient list is on the long side, this dish is remarkably simple to prepare, especially when you consider the impressive results. What makes a dish like this even easier is prepping all the ingredients before you begin to cook. Once you begin to cook the rice, take the next 20 minutes to clean and chop the veggies so they’re ready to go when you start tackling that part of the recipe. This advance preparation will save you time, and that’s time that you can use to figure out how to fit that friggin’ parade into your one-bedroom apartment.