I really found myself wanting something different from my usual recipes this week. Although I love my tried and true, go-to recipe for dinners, sometimes you just have to get out there and try a completely different flavor palate than you usually have. Which has mainly been in the realm of spicy Indian curry.
But It is just too good to quit.
Since I have had jambalaya on my mind for a while now, I thought there was no better time than now to give it a try. Plus I have the kitchen entirely to myself all day.
So if a disaster does happen I will be able to dispose of the evidence before anyone’s the wiser.
I will admit that I have been holding off on trying to make a vegan version of this dish for a while now. I was extremely concerned about being able to correctly substitute all the different meats that I know are in the regular versions. But still keep the texture, consistency, and taste.
Since the original, non-vegan version is from the New Orleans, I knew that seafood would be a big part of my recipe. Most of the time when I am cooking I don’t adventure far past the usual chicken or beef realm of replacement. So I had absolutely no clue where to even begin in terms of replacing seafood.
But luckily, many vegans before me have experimented over the years and found perfect replacements for just about anything out there.
Cue my introduction to heart of palm.
Now I have never cooked with heart of palm before. I can remember vaguely hearing about it from other people or in passing while scrolling through different recipes. But I have never found a need to use it in any of my cooking. Because as I said, I mainly am a chicken and beef replacement kind of girl.
As soon as I opened the can I could tell that it would work perfectly for this recipe. For me, it seemed to be a bit reminiscent of crab sticks in the way that they peel as well as their overall consistency.
Although most of the time, the ones in the can are precooked and will also be cooked further in the jambalaya, I highly recommend cooking them further. By cooking the hearts of palm on their own, it helps to remove any of the remaining taste that came from it being in a can for so long. This allows for you to have a clean palate when replicating the fishy taste you need for this recipe.
This step also allows for them to separate slightly and for the different layers to become looser which makes for a much more pleasant consistency and similar seafood texture.
If you do skip this step, the heart of palms may not get as soft as you like and add a little bit too much extra crunch to your jambalaya.
Another crunch related concern may be with the rice. Since there are so many extra ingredients cooking with the rice, you may worry that the rice will not get enough of the liquid or enough heat to fully cook them.
But don’t add more liquid!
If you do your jambalaya will become a much soupier consistency or cause the rice to break up or even become one big ball of mush.
And nobody likes mushy jambalaya.
Luckily no explosions happened and the kitchen remains intact and this recipe turned out better than I could have ever expected. The heart of palm held up to its hype and turned out to make the perfect seafood replacement.
Now I just need to come up with some other seafood recipes to try out *hint hint*
My sister and I actually ate the rest of the leftovers right out of the container later on and it was perfect (even with the battle of the forks).
*Side note: this recipe is just as delicious when it is cold.
You can either enjoy this recipe all on its own or use it as a filling in a lettuce wrap. The combination of cold and hot is perfect for summer. And on top of it, makes is so you can enjoy this meal quickly or on the go.
And who doesn’t love a quick delicious, healthy and filling meal?
- 2 cans heart of palm
- 4 tablespoons Seafood Seasoning + additional
- 3 roasted seaweed sheets, roughly torn up
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup diced celery, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cans (10 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoon green chiles
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Drain liquid from and wash heart of palms under warm water then slice into 1/2-1 inch sections. Add to a small pot filled with enough water to submerge all of the heart of palms. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain out the water and pour into a medium bowl. Add seafood seasoning and seaweed sheets to the bowl and mix until the heart of palms are evenly coated. Add additional seasoning if necessary.
- In a large pan or pot, add oil and sautee onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion begins to caramelize.
- Add in heart of palm, celery, and peppers and continue to cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 1-2 hours or until all liquid has been absorbed or cooked off. *Remember to stir frequently as to ensure that no ingredients burn to the bottom.
- Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.
- Serve and enjoy~