Jambalaya with Lentil Chorizo

I must say. I ended up liking this dish far more than I thought I would. It was tangy, had depth and that great sausage-y chorizo flavor. More than I expected for a rather easy jambalaya recipe!

Jambalaya is a creole dish, brought to New Orleans by the Spaniards (ah, that’s why I loved it so much) and is very similar to paella. It has some more heat than the traditional Spanish, as it’s seasoned with cayenne rather than saffron (and way less expensive!).

I studied abroad in Spain in college, and have always loved loved loved paella, to the point where I may have resented my host mother for hoarding her amazing recipe. I can’t believe I never knew jambalaya was so directly related to paella. It 100% makes sense though.

Try this recipe out for yourself and let me know what you think! Did it take you to NOLA? To Spain? Salud!


2 tbsp olive oil
14 oz package of Tempeh chopped into cubes
1 white onion diced
3-5 cloves garlic minced (the more the better for me)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dried lentils
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup cooked brown rice
½ green pepper diced
½ red pepper diced
1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes
2 tsp liquid smoke

  1. In a large sauce pan add the olive oil, cubed tempeh, and diced onion. Cook over medium heat until the onions are tender. Add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cook another minute.
  2. Next add the vegetable broth, lentils and bay leaves. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. You can test this by removing a couple of lentils with a spoon, allowing them to cool for a minute and then tasting. If it's still crunchy, allow them to cook for a few more minutes.
  3. At this point you can use a spatula to break up the tempeh into smaller pieces if you'd like.
  4. Remove the bay leaves with a spoon, add in the tomato paste, soy sauce, cooked brown rice, green pepper, red pepper, stewed tomatoes, and liquid smoke.
  5. Cook for another 10 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  6. Done! I let this cool and put some on a plate in the fridge (this will make sense later!).


3 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp diced jalapeño (you can use more or less - I used the whole jalapeño because I like it hot)
4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (or one large can of crushed tomatoes)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
4.5 cups veggie stock or broth
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you can’t find it, leave it out! I bet you can easily find this though and it’s great to have on hand)
3 bay leaves (fresh is best)
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp hot sauce (I use Sriracha, use your fave!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 cups chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeño to oil and sauté until onions are translucent, around 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook an additional minute or two to soften them.
  4. Add rice, veggie stock, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, paprika, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to pan and stir to combine. Cover and bring mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for 20-40 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and cooked through.
  5. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
  6. This is when you add in the chorizo we previously made. You can either just mix it in and let it heat through, or take a little extra step (which I enjoyed).
  7. Heat oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat.
  8. Form small medallion patties in the palm of your hand from the cold chorizo mixture. Once the oil is hot, add your little chorizo patties to the pan. The goal is to get a crispy sear on each side, which should take a few minutes on each side.
  9. When one side is crispy to your liking, carefully flip to the other side.
  10. Once your patties are crisp on both sides, build your plate (or bowl, if you’re me).
  11. Ladle a scoop or two of jambalaya into a bowl. Add a few of the chorizo patties, and continue to ladle more jambalaya on top. Do this one more time or so, until you’ve reached your portion!
  12. Garnish with extra cilantro.

Chorizo recipe adapted from Namely Marly.
Jambalaya recipe adapted from Life as a Strawberry.