Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and what better way to celebrate than with Jumpin’ Jambalaya from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Fire and Spice? The term jambalaya is believed to derive from the French word “ jambon,” which means ham. Traditional jambalaya is a rice and tomato dish made with a selection of whatever ingredients happen to be on hand. This recipe shows how well the tradition translates in a vegan kitchen. If seitan is not “on hand,” add more beans. Another tasty addition is sliced Tofurky sausage links. To tone down the heat, omit the chiles and cut back on the Tabasco. 


  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 hot chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon filé powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 8 ounces seitan, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  • Freshly cooked rice 


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pep- per, celery, garlic, and chiles. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the cover, add the juice from the tomatoes, the thyme, filé powder, salt, cayenne, and Tabasco. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, then add to the tomato mixture along with the kidney beans. Adjust the seasoning to taste and simmer an additional 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over rice.

Serves 4 

From Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson. ©2008 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from  Vegan Heritage Press.