Pastalaya (Vegan)

Y’all already know how much I love my Cajun food. There is a difference between Cajun and Creole that a lot of people fail to understand. A major difference is that Creole style foods will incorporate tomatoes whereas Cajun food doesn’t. I’m not the biggest fan of tomatoes and I lived in Cajun Country, not the more Creole area, so no tomatoes in my pastalaya.

But what is pastalaya? It’s basically jambalaya but with pasta instead of rice. Yes, I know, yummm!! I tried very hard to make this gluten free, and the best way to go about that is to just make the pasta separately and cook the veggies, add the protein after 25 minutes along with the other ingredients except for water and pasta. Cook until the protein is done. Once you have made your pasta, add one or two ladles of the boiling water to the veggies and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens a bit. This will vary depending upon what kind of pasta you use. Once your sauce is the desired consistency, add the pasta and stir to combine.

If you’re ok with gluten, this is a one-pot dish! I made andouille sausages, which I’ll be sharing a recipe for in the near future. You can use Beyond sausages or something similar. This is also awesome with mushrooms and whatever veggies you have on hand. Use mock chicken, vegan shrimp, eggplant, really whatever you like. I also added tofu just because, but it’s definitely not necessary.

RECIPE

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vegan butter

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable base (like Better than Bouillon)

1 tablespoon of salt-free Cajun spice (do not use this much Tony’s or similar seasoning, it’ll be too salty)

1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce

1 tablespoon of browning liquid

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Black pepper, to taste

2 1/4 cups of water

1 pound of desired protein (vegan sausages, tofu, vegan shrimp, or vegan chicken), cubed or diced. If using something like Beyond sausages, brown them before starting the recipe and cook the veggies in the leftover fat.

8 ounces of mushrooms, optional

8 ounces of pasta such as bowties or penne

METHOD

You’ll need to use an oven-proof pot with a lid. A Dutch oven is perfect for this. Heat the pot over medium-low heat. Add the oil and butter.

When warm, add the onions, celery, and peppers. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the Cajun spice, garlic, and green onions. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want everything very tender, but not burned.

Once the veggies are very soft, add the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Preheat your oven to 300°F.

Once boiling, immediately turn off the heat, press down to ensure the pasta is covered with liquid, cover, and place in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove the pot and let it stand covered for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and garnish with chopped parsley or green onions. Enjoy!

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