What a journey this has been! I’ve spent a good week and a half experimenting with various vegan alternatives, trying to find the yummiest sausage and the tastiest combination of spices to make this dish shine. Somewhere along the way I discovered I’m a little allergic to jalapeños. This is unfortunate because I love spicy food. Thankfully my room mate was nice enough to cut these vicious peppers for me while I waited on the other side of the room with my rescue inhaler. At least I don’t react once the peppers are cooked!
Where to Find the Meat Substitute
Where to get the meat substitute — That stands out in my mind as the only item I had slight difficulty finding when I went shopping. There are quite a few options out there. I ended up buying a Mexican Chipotle flavored pack of four vegetarian Field Roast sausages from Winco. There are other places that often carry vegan sausages if Winco isn’t in your area. I’ve found them at Safeway and at Costco. Not always the brands I normally use, but there are options. Check your local health food stores. Also consider using Azure Standard’s bulk food service. The last time I checked, they carry vegetarian kielbasa. I don’t know if it’s as good as the sausage I used, but it’s worth a try. If you do, let me know how it turns out.
After picking out the sausage, it was easy getting the rest of my ingredients together. Amazon carries an organic, vegan Worcestershire sauce by Edward and Sons for ten dollars. I’m already a prime member so I get free shipping. It’s definitely worth having prime if you order a lot of stuff from Amazon’s website.
Cut Up Veggies, But Beware of Jalapeños
To get started cooking, I cut up all the vegetables. I diced the onions, sliced the celery and minced up the fresh garlic. I then harnessed the Cat and made him cut up the jalapeños. He didn’t mind. He thought I looked ridiculous trying to cut up peppers like this.
Once the peppers were split open he removed all the seeds and cut the green parts of the peppers into tiny pieces. I was able to re-enter the kitchen once he’d finished cutting them. I put a deep sauce pan on the stove and heated up about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once it was warmed up a bit, I tossed in the onion, garlic, celery and devilish pepper. I covered it with a lid and let it cook for about five minutes until the onions started turning clear and the peppers had stopped screaming.
At this point it is time to add the rest of the ingredients, except the sausage and tomato. I found that it’s best to leave these out until the end because adding them too early makes them get soggy and fall apart. So I tossed in the rice, seasonings and vegetable stock and started a timer.
Pick Your Rice Wisely
Certain kinds take forever to cook. The brown rice I used the first time was supposed to only take 30 – 40 minutes, but it ended up taking an hour and a half! Maybe my stove temperature is uneven or I didn’t have the correct water-to-rice ratio. I kept having to add more water to the pan, even though I kept the lid on the whole time! I recommend using a long grain white rice such as Jasmine. That speeds up the process a lot as it only take 15-20 minutes. Make sure to check on the dish regularly to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and getting burnt.
Once the rice is tender, add the tomatoes and vegan sausage. Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes if possible, to heat up the sausage and gently wilt the tomatoes. Turn off the burner and remove the lid. There should be no water in the bottom of the pan. If there is, let it sit for a few minutes so the rice can soak up the excess water.
Enjoy! It is ready to serve!