Happy Mardi Gras! Vegetarian Jambalaya

First of all, the recipe I used for this dish may be found here. It says it serves 6, but it served 2 very hungry adults. 

Jambalaya is a traditional dish usually found in New Orleans in the French Quarter. It’s generally made with tomatoes, rice, spices, and meats. According to the New Orleans Restaurants site, it’s literally any kind of meat(s): Crawfish, oysters, shrimp, duck alligator, turtle, and boar. The meat is usually cooked with diced bell pepper, celery, and onions, plus other veggies.

Since this is a meatleass dish, I decided to use black beans for the main source of protein. I was going to add some tofu, but it was severely freezer-burned and about 4 years past the expiry date. I didn’t trust it. 

The rice is to soak in the flavors that you put into the dish. As I said in the video, jambalaya really is like a stone soup in that you put in whatever you have on hand, rice, and spices. I did use some of The Last Dab hot sauce (probably about 1/4-1/2 tsp), which boosted the flavor and heat. I also had a large jalapeno and used the whole thing (the recipe only calls for half). I was wanting to substitute the rice for something else, but I was hard-pressed to think of what would sub well that wouldn’t turn to mush (like cauliflower), so this isn’t exactly low carb, but it is lower-carb with the black rice than it would be with the white rice.

If you’re not up for jambalaya today, then consider some Fastnachts! Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, Fastnacht Day, Pancake Day, etc, was originally a pagan celebration of Spring. A week-long celebration during which time, people ate pancakes! Why did we stop this practice?! Oh, right. Enter Christianity. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Lent is a 40-Day fasting period (modernly, you give up something for 40 days; it does not have to be food). The festival of Spring gave early Christians the opportunity to use up their eggs, milk, and sugar before their fasting period.

You see, you’re not supposed to be indulgent during Lent–no rich foods, no flavor, just plain, boring food. For 40 days. Shrove Tuesday became the day Christians would go to confession to be shriven from their sins before the lenten period. Shrove Tuesday is 47 days before Easter. 

This year, Ostara is March 20 (Vernal Equinox) and Easter is April 4.

So, enjoy your Fastnachts; enjoy your Jambalaya; enjoy your Pancakes. If you participate in Lent, what are you giving up for 40 days? Let me know in the comments!