Southern Creole Dirty Rice, Vegan Style

Vegan "Dirty rice" recipe

Traditionally, what makes Creole “dirty rice” dirty is the addition of fowl gizzards. Um, no thanks. Chopped eggplant, a Louisiana crop, takes its place in this super-satisfying vegan recipe. Not spicy in itself, but you can make it that way. That’s what Tabasco is for. Recipe contributed by Ellen Kanner. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Southern Creole Dirty Rice, Vegan Style
Recipe type: Rice main or side dish
Cuisine: Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
Chopped eggplant, a Louisiana crop, takes its place of traditional "dirty" ingredients in this super-satisfying veggie version.
  • 1½ cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1 (32 oz) container low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 handful fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • juice of ½ to 1 lemon, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce for passing around
  1. Pour 3 cups of the broth into a large saucepan. Place over high heat and bring liquid to boil. Add rice and bay leaf and give a quick stir. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaf and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and eggplant. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften a bit.
  3. Add the celery, green pepper, tomato, paprika, and thyme. Continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not overdone.
  4. Stir in the cooked rice and remaining cup of broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. The mixture should still be a bit moist, so if need be, add ½ to 1 cup water and allow to absorb a bit.
  5. Stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley.
  6. Serve at once; pass around Tabasco for spicing up individual servings. Keeps several days in the fridge, flavor improves over time.



For a bright pop of color and protein, add 1 cup or more cooked edamame or green peas when adding the last ingredients.

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Ellen Kanner writes the Meatless Monday column for The Huffingon Post and is the Edgy Veggiea syndicated column.

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  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Yum! Can you use whole grain pasta instead of rice?

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I would say yes, go for it!

  • Reply
    Melanie Hutsell
    November 14, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Just made this and it was out of this world!! I crumbled up some Vegan breakfast sausage in it and that took it over the top! So so good!!

    • Reply
      November 15, 2016 at 8:22 am

      So glad you enjoyed this, Melanie!

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