We hosted a successful Sibling Dinner last night! Once per month we invite my husband’s 6 siblings, their significant others, their babies, our brother-in-law’s brother, and his family over for a large group family dinner. Last night everyone was available to come, which is pretty rare, and we had 15 hungry adult food bellies to feed. The weather is turning cooler and I thought a steaming hot pot of jambalaya was the way to go. Anything I can do for a large group in a crock pot, I’ll do it. No matter what it takes and how creative I have to get. If anyone knows me, they’ll tell you that I’m terrible at cooking rice without the use of a rice cooker. It’s either too dry or way too mushy. In a rice cooker, I know I put in 1.5 cups of water for every cup of rice and that’s that. So, yesterday I thought to myself, how can I use the crockpot and also use a rice cooker? Make the rice and jambalaya base separately, and serve the rice-less jambalaya over a bed of steamed rice! Woo hoo! Here’s what I did for our dinner last night and served it with some vegan cornbread and side salads. Our adorable 15 year old sister brought some vegan pretzel caramel brownies that were scrumptious. I’ll ask her for that recipe and post when I get it! To my surprise and joy, there were not enough leftovers to send home with everyone, so a lucky two got a next-day lunch packed up for them 🙂

Vegan Crockpot Jambalaya

Serves 16

Ingredients:

2 large cans of diced tomatoes (not drained, or use fresh if you have them!)

3 cups veggie broth

6-8 stalks celery, chopped

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium to large onion, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

4 cans red beans (drained and rinsed)

1.5 T dried parsley

1.5 T dried oregano

2 T cajun seasoning

1 T dried thyme

2 t. Old Bay Seasoning

3 packages Tofurky brand Kielbasa (optional altogether, or use another veggie protein of choice)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

5 cups uncooked rice

7.5 cups water

Salt

Preparation:

Add all ingredients listed starting with tomatoes, all the way through Old Bay Seasoning to the crockpot and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until celery is tender. About 40 minutes before dinner, cook your rice. If you have a rice cooker, add rice, water, and salt to it and press the cook button (my rice cooker generally takes about 40 minutes to cook a large batch of rice. If you know yours takes more or less time, just adjust your timing so it’s ready when the jambalaya is ready). If you don’t have a rice cooker, use the instructions on the bag to cook via stove top. While your rice is cooking, grill or pan fry your Tofurky kielbasa (I had meat eaters in my group last night as well as vegetarians, so I also grilled up some chicken sausages from Costco). Transfer to a cutting board, and cut all the links into slices and put in an oven safe serving bowl. Keep them warm by putting in a preheated 200 degree oven while your jambalaya and rice is finishing up. Finally, chop up your bunch of fresh cilantro and put that in a serving bowl. When you are ready to serve dinner, put a bed of rice in a bowl or low bowl, top with jambalaya, then top with Tofurky kielbasa, and garnish with cilantro. Beautiful! Serve with vegan cornbread.