Sharon's new book California Vegan is available for pre-order now!

Red Bean and Okra Jambalaya (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Sharon Palmer

No matter where you’re from, you can borrow from the culinary melting pot of the world in order to infuse your plate with a bold essence. The Creole flavors of New Orleans—steeped in a rich tradition of cultures, including African, Caribbean, and the New World—are among my favorites. You might be surprised to discover that many of these traditional dishes, such as jambalaya, are based on plant foods: beans and rice. This one-pot meal for Red Bean and Okra Jambalaya is bursting with flavor; serve it with a crusty whole wheat baguette for a hearty meal. And the leftovers are wonderful the next day.

Jambalaya is a traditional Cajun dish that has roots in Spain, West Africa, and France—in particular Provence. You can see shades of Spanish paella in this recipe, as well as a traditional Provencal rice dish called jambalaia. Jambalaya usually has sausage and shrimp, but I skipped these and focused on the red bean classic, which is part of this food culture. You’ll see the holy trinity of onions, peppers, and celery featured in this recipe—a traditional base of ingredients used in Cajun cuisine.


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares icon

Red Bean and Okra Jambalaya (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(10 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • Hot sauce, optional
  • 1 cup (200 g) uncooked short-grain brown rice
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red, orange, green, or yellow), diced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups (200 g) chopped fresh or frozen okra
  • One 14.5-ounce (411 g) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • One 15-ounce (425 g) can red beans, no salt added, with liquid (or 1 ¾ cups cooked, with 2∕3 cup water)
  • 2 cups (474 ml) reduced sodium vegetable broth 
  • ½ cup (119 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cayenne, paprika, cumin, chili powder, celery salt, hot sauce (if desired), and rice. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the bell peppers, carrots, celery, and okra. Saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the tomatoes, red beans, broth, and water. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender, stirring frequently. Add additional water as needed to compensate for moisture lost to evaporation, but avoid thinning the consistency too much (it should be thick).
  6. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the parsley immediately before serving.


Variation: Substitute any other kind of bean for the red beans (such as black beans, chickpeas, or heirloom varieties).

Recipe from Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, ©Sharon Palmer 2014. Reprinted with permission from the publisher, The Experiment.

Star Nutrients: folate (17% DV), thiamin (11% DV), vitamin A (110% DV), vitamin B6 (15% DV), vitamin C (113% DV), vitamin K (74% DV), calcium (12% DV), copper (15% DV), iron (16% DV), magnesium (13% DV), manganese (35% DV), phosphorus (14% DV), potassium (19% DV), zinc (12% DV)


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
  • Calories: 280
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 424 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 56 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

For more plant-powered one dish meals, check out some of my favorites:

Thai Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, click  here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *