Vegan Cajun inspired Dirty Rice is a party in a bowl!
Celebrate Mardi Gras or Carnival season with a tasty one-pot easy and quick family meal.
Or simply celebrate Spring's imminent arrival with a delicious, comforting and wholesome bowl of veggie Cajun rice especially good with crispy green lettuce leaves and fresh red onion rings.
Origins of Cajun Dirty Rice
Traditional Cajun dirty rice or chicken and rice, originated hundreds of years ago in the American south. The term 'dirty' comes from the chopped chicken livers that were used to prepare the rice meal and give it a dirty appearance.
Cajun cooking embraces what is known as 'the holy trinity' of basic veggie flavours: celery, bell pepper and onion.
Most Cajun cooking includes this veggie magic trio as the baseline of the recipe. Other classic dirty rice ingredients include cayenne and black pepper.
During cooking dirty rice the chicken livers, along with any other meat that happens to be included, and the veggies tend to stick to the pan and form little crusty nearly burnt bits that get mixed through the rice dish adding to the dirty look of the rice!
Many traditional recipes cook the rice separate from the rest of the ingredients and then combine everything at the end.
Cajun dirty rice is a popular meal during the New Orleans Carnival season and celebration of Mardi Gras otherwise known as Fat Tuesday.
This year carnival season began on the 6th January 2022 and continues until Mardi Gras Day on the 1st March. The 1st March is also known as Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday.
The carnival Mardi Gras is a celebration and time to eat tasty food before the period of Lent (the 40days that lead up to Easter) where many Christians undergo periods of fasting.
During the 40 days of Lent no meat is allowed on Ash Wednesday (2nd March) or on any of the Fridays which includes Good Friday (15th April).
So traditional Cajun dirty rice would not be permitted on Lent fast days but a veggie inspired Cajun rice would technically be allowed as no meat is included!
Vegan Cajun Dirty Rice
This recipe for vegan Cajun dirty rice is not an authentic dirty rice recipe rather it is inspired by the classic meal and is free from all animal products.
This recipe replaces chicken livers with fine chopped ordinary mushrooms which gives the rice the dirty look whilst providing lots of savoury tasty flavours. Many classic dirty rice dishes also contain sausages or other meat so this recipe adds kidney beans as a delicious stand-in.
To prepare this veggie Cajun rice the fine chopped or food processed mushrooms are sauteed along with the onions. Next in the pan are diced bell peppers, celery, peas, sliced green beans and garlic.
Long grain rice is tipped in the pan and cooked for a few minutes before kidney beans, Cajun seasoning, dark soya sauce and veggie stock are poured in. Cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt are sprinkled into the rice mixture and everything is brought up to a simmer and cooked for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes a lid is popped onto the skillet, the heat turned to low, and the rice left to cook for a further 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes the rice should be cooked and the liquid absorbed. All that's left is to season to taste and fluff up the rice.
This vegan Cajun rice is delicious served with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and some fresh red onion rings. A dollop of vegan sour cream or vegan mayonnaise finishes the veggie rice of beautifully.
A few drops of hot sauce or some canned jalapenos or dill pickles/gherkins is another tasty garnish idea.
If you prepare this recipe do pop back and let us know how you got on. We love reading comments and feedback.
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Recipe Notes And FAQS
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store within a covered food container.
Do cool the rice as quick as possible and pop in the refrigerator as soon as possible after cooking.
Cool quickly and place in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
Defrost completely before reheating.
Reheat leftovers by placing in a non-stick pan or skillet, along with about ¼ cup of water or stock, and over a medium-high heat reheat until piping hot.
Stir frequently so that the rice heats up evenly.
* Leftover dirty rice is tasty served chilled as a rice salad for next days lunch or for a tasty snack.
* Leftovers also make delicious burritos.
Pile the leftovers into a tortilla wrap along with crispy salad leaves and add your favourite sauces or condiments.
* Or enjoy leftovers along with a baked potato and salad.
* Another idea is to use the leftover dirty rice as a stuffing for veggies such as bell peppers, courgettes/zucchini, marrow, butternut or acorn squash, large mushrooms, cabbage leaves for cabbage rolls, and large romaine leaves for wraps.
A few ideas:
* fresh red onion rings
* cooked onion rings
* chopped herbs
* gherkins/dill pickles
* pickled or fermented cabbage
* vegan coleslaw
* vegan mayonnaise or vegan sour cream
* your favourite hot sauce
* pickled beetroot or pickled onions
* vegan sausages
* carrot hot-dogs
* roast tomatoes
* sweet potato fries/chips or ordinary fries/chips
* a large crispy salad
* especially good is some romaine or similar lettuce leafs and stuff the dirty rice into the leafs
* crusty bread
* cornbread or cornbread muffins
It is easy to prepare this meal as gluten-free with a few considerations.
Ensure that your veggie stock and Cajun seasoning are free from gluten ingredients.
Also use a gluten-free Tamari soy sauce instead of dark soya sauce.
How To Prepare Vegan Inspired Cajun Dirty Rice
More Delicious Vegan Traditional Family Meals:
Slow Cooker Scottish Mince And Tatties (Potatoes)
Vegan Cajun Dirty Rice
- Large non-stick pan/deep fry pan/skillet
- Food processer optional, to fine dice mushrooms but can do this by hand
To saute veggies:
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine or vegan butter/oil (or replace with ½ cup veggie stock)
Cajun dirty rice:
- 240 grams mushrooms fine chopped into very small dice by hand or use a food processor
- 1 can kidney beans 400g/14oz can, drained or 240g cooked beans
- 100 grams celery diced
- 125 grams bell pepper diced
- 190 grams onion diced
- 80 grams peas fresh or frozen
- 130 grams green beans sliced into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic sliced, use more if liked
- 250 grams long grain rice
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or regular/use Tamari if requiring gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning mix or Creole seasoning
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
- 1 litre vegetable stock use a vegan 'chicken' flavour if available such as two meat free chicken OXO cubes (available at Asda UK)
Optional, to serve
- 15 grams fresh parsley chopped, red pepper flakes are also tasty
- 1 red onion sliced into thin rings, gherkins/dill pickles/jalapenos are also tasty
- vegan sour cream or mayonnaise or your favourite hot sauce
- Melt the vegan margarine over a medium heat in a non-stick pan. Or heat the veggie stock if using this instead.
- Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring frequently.
- Next pop in the celery and bell pepper. Stir often and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, peas, green beans and long-grain rice. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Next pour in the soya sauce and hot veggie stock. Sprinkle in the Cajun seasoning mix and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Bring to the boil and over a medium heat simmer for 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat, pop a lid over the pan, and cook for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Season with enough salt and black pepper to bring all the flavours out and to taste.
- Serve with fresh chopped parsley and red onion rings. A dollop of vegan mayonnaise or sour cream is also delicious, as is a few of your favourite pickles or chopped gherkins.For heat lovers add a few drops of your preferred hot sauce or a few jalapenos.
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Nutritional info does not include the optional garnishes of vegan sour cream or vegan mayonnaise.
- The calculation does include the vegan margarine, fresh parsley and red onion rings.
- Cool down leftovers quickly and place in a covered container. Leftover Cajun dirty rice can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freeze leftovers for up to 4 months.
- To reheat add to a non-stick pan along with some veggie stock or a little vegan margarine/butter or oil, and stir over a medium heat until piping hot. Or place in an oven proof pan, cover the baking dish with a lid or piece of kitchen foil, and reheat in a hot oven until piping hot. Sprinkle a little water over the rice, just a few tablespoons, so that the rice does not dry out to much.
- Or microwave leftovers until piping hot.
- Cajun dirty rice does make a tasty chilled rice salad, and can be enjoyed with raw salad veggies and your favourite condiments, wrapped up in a tortilla wrap.