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Spicy Vegan Jambalaya

For the rest of the country, folks are two full weeks deep into new year’s resolutions with thoughts tuned to renewal, re-evaluation and creating better self-care habits. But here in New Orleans, it’s King Cake Season! Stuck in limbo between the post-Holiday haze and Mardi Gras, left wondering if we should just wait until Ash Wednesday to even start those resolutions? I say “baby-steps”. So in the spirit of the new year and starting better habits, here’s a plant-based take on Louisiana favorite Jambalaya. Whether Cajun or Creole, we can always use a little more veg in our life. This veggie-based take will tick all the flavor boxes. Mix it up with meaty mushrooms and add that savory, umami flavor. Intensify your flavors and bloom your spices first (smoked paprika is my secret weapon). A sheet of kombu seaweed or a sprinkling of wakame will impart the flavor of the sea. And start off by creating a rich base, make veggie stock from produce scraps that are too good for the compost bin. – Allegro Hopkins, Market Coordinator



  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 large stalks celery, diced
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon diced jalapeño (use more or less depending on how spicy you like things – 1 Tbsp. gives it a nice kick)
  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (you could also use whole cherry tomatoes or one large can of crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 4.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (you can find some good vegan varieties online or, if you don’t have any of the vegan stuff handy, just leave it out!)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish


Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan (use one that has a tight-fitting lid).

Add onion, garlic, celery, and jalapeño to oil and sauté until onions are translucent about 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook an additional minute or two to soften them up.

Add rice, vegetable stock, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, paprika, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir to combine. Cover and bring mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for 20-40 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and cooked through.

Stir in fresh cilantro and serve immediately. Garnish with extra cilantro.


About Us

Market UmbrellaMarket Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the power of farmers markets to drive economic and community health in the region. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.

Crescent City Farmers MarketThe Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round throughout New Orleans. The CCFM hosts 70+ local small farmers, fishers, and food producers, and more than 150,000 shoppers annually.