It might seem far-fetched to transform dirty rice, a classic Cajun recipe, into a tasty vegan dirty rice. But thanks to plant-based sausage and mushrooms, it’s easy to enjoy an “clean” interpretation of the original.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really looking forward to attempting to adapt this Cajun classic for a long-ago cookbook of mine. After all, the original is made “dirty” with various items that are, to say the least, unpalatable to vegetarians and vegan, and which I wouldn’t want to even name on a vegan website.
However, after I bit the bullet and tried it, “dirtying” this plant-based adaptation with mushrooms and vegan sausage, I was sold. Boldly seasoned Cajun-style, this is a hearty main dish, great for everyday meals.
Complete the meal: Serve with a basic coleslaw and a simply prepared green vegetable. Simply prepared greens are great with this, as are steamed green beans.
Vegan sausage brands: Amy’s, Beyond, Field Roast, Gardein, Morningstar Farms, No Evil, Tofurky, and The Very Good Butchers all make excellent vegan sausage in an array of flavors and varieties. You may find store brands as well. They’re all good!
Recipe adapted from American Harvest by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 cup raw brown rice, rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable broth or 3 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 links vegan sausage (1/2 of a 14-ounce package), finely chopped
- 6 to 8 ounces cremini or shiitake mushrooms (or a combination), finely chopped
- 3 medium or 2 large firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning or barbecue seasoning, to taste
- Cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish if desired
- Combine the rice and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow
boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until the water absorbed, about 30 minutes. If the rice isn’t done to your liking at that point, add 1/2 cup more broth or water and cook until absorbed; repeat as needed.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion, garlic, and celery, and sauté over medium-low heat until all are golden.
- Add the bell pepper and sauté until somewhat softened. Add the sausage and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the sausage is touched with golden here and there, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 longer.
- If the rice isn’t yet done, remove the skillet from the heat and cover until it’s ready. One the rice is cooked, add it to the pan and stir together with the vegetable mixture.
- Add the seasonings; go easy on the cayenne or hot sauce — you can
always pass it around for those who would like more spice. Cook, stirring, until everything is nicely melded, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley, reserving some for garnish if desired, then serve.