Vegan Cajun Pastalaya

by Kaitlynn Fenley
a white surface with two plates of vegan pastalaya and bread rolls.

Pastalaya is my absolute favorite south Louisiana food. I love the smoky flavor, the hearty texture, and the soft, spicy noodles. This vegan cajun pastalaya is my healthy take on my favorite southern classic.

Ingredients for Vegan Cajun Pastalaya

  • Noodles: Here we use Bucatini noodles. These thick noodles hold up well through the cooking process.
  • Seasoned Mushrooms, Jackfruit and Tempeh: Jackfruit is ESSENTIAL to this recipe. It gives the pastalaya an authentic shredded chicken texture. It’s important to cut the jack fruit and remove the hard seed pods. You can use fresh jackfruit or jackfruit canned in brine. Remove all the mushroom stems and slice to be about 1/2 inch thick. Any tempeh will work in this recipe, and it’s best to soak the tempeh in boiling water then rinse it a few times before use. I seasoned everything with steak sauce, double fermented soy sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce.
  • Bell Pepper, Celery, Garlic, and Onion: aka the essentials of cajun cooking.
  • Cajun Seasoning: Cajun seasoning with salt, or without is fine. I picked up some basic cajun seasoning with salt included from whole foods. If you use a cajun seasoning without salt, you’ll need to add 2 teaspoons of salt to the recipe.
  • Vegan Butter: This is what you want to sautée the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and celery with. For Louisiana cooking, the flavor comes out better when you sautee with butter instead of oil.
  • Vegetable Broth: I used two boxes of basic vegetable broth from the store.
  • Thyme and Parsley: Fresh is best, but dried herbs will work too.
a white surface with two plates of vegan pastalaya and bread rolls.

One-Pot Vegan Cajun Chicken Pasta

My favorite part of this recipe is that it can be cooked in one pot. Technically you’ll use a sheet pan to roast the tempeh, jackfruit, and mushrooms. However, after that, it’s totally a one-pot meal. Dirtying two dishes total to make this isn’t bad!

a white surface with one plate of vegan pastalaya and bread rolls.

Tip For Making Vegan Cajun Pastalaya Perfectly

  1. Use a large stockpot: I used an 8-quart stockpot.
  2. Don’t skimp on the garlic and onion: This is a Louisiana recipe, sha. Use the whole onion, and trust me, you want two tablespoons of garlic.
  3. Big Noodle Energy: Seriously, the fatter the noodle the better. My favorite pasta to use in pastalaya is Bucatini,  also known as perciatelli.
  4. For Gluten-Free Folks: I’ve made this dish with rice noodles before, and I highly suggest getting a sturdy shaped noodle. Try bow-tie brown rice pasta. DO NOT use bean-based pasta for this recipe. It will be a disaster.

What to Pair with this Recipe

Pastalaya is generally eaten solo, or with some traditional cajun sides like bread, potato salad, mac and cheese, or white beans. If you’d like to enjoy this cajun pasta with a side I suggest the following:

a white surface with two plates of vegan pastalaya and bread rolls.
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Vegan Cajun Pastalaya

Pastalaya is my absolute favorite south Louisiana food. I love the smoky flavor, the hearty texture, and the soft, spicy noodles. This vegan cajun pastalaya is my healthy take on my favorite southern classic.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Servings 1x
  • Category: Entreé
  • Method: Stove-Top

Ingredients

Scale

Vegan Smoky Meat Mixture

  • 2 Twenty-Ounce Cans Jackfruit in Brine
  • 16 Ounces Tempeh, Cubed
  • 2 Cups Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Steak Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Pastalaya

  • 3 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
  • 1 Large White Onion, Minced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Minced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (with salt)
  • 8 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 16 Ounces Bucatini Pasta

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit and wash the mushrooms. 
  2. Cut the tough ends/cores off the jackfruit and remove the seed pods. Pull apart the jackfuruit with your fingers. 
  3. Wash the mushrooms and slice. 
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450 F
  5. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, jackfruit, steak sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and olive oil.
  6. Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until everything starts to brown.
  7. In a large stockpot add the vegan butter, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. 
  8. Sautee until all the aromatics are soft. 
  9. Remove the smoky “meat” mix from the oven and immediately add to the stockpot. 
  10. Sautée until the bottom of the pan starts to get a brown sticky glaze on the bottom. 
  11. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot (just scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon until there’s no more stickiness on the bottom).
  12. Add in the remaining 6 cups of vegetable broth and the cajun seasoning, then bring to a boil.
  13. Add in the noodles, reduce heat to a simmer and cook with frequent stirring until the noodles have absorbed all the liquid. 
  14. Serve and garnish with thyme and parsley.

Notes

  • to avoid bitter tempeh, soak it in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain and rinse it a few times before using in the recipe. 

Keywords: vegan,cajun,pastalaya

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1 comment

Lou Daigle July 13, 2021 - 9:19 am

Love it, love it, love it!!!
This recipe is soooo good! I’ve made it twice now and the house smells so good while it’s cooking.
I was drawn to this recipe primarily because it’s Cajun. But also because it features Tempeh & Jackfruit both of which I have been curious about.
The first time I made this recipe I made a couple of mistakes. I failed to follow the instructions about boiling the Tempeh. That resulted in slightly bitter tasting Tempeh. I also made the mistake of using “Jackfruit in Syrup” instead of “Jackfruit in Brine”. That resulted in a sweet tasting Pastalaya…. that’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but it was an interesting taste. I had a lot of trouble finding the Jackfruit in Brine, but after much searching, I finally found it at Trader Joe’s.
So, I made this a second time, correcting my mistakes and let me tell you this recipe does not disappoint! It smells and tastes great and our guests loved it!
And now my wife and I are lovers of Tempeh and I’m anxious to try some more recipes that incorporate Tempeh. It sure would be nice if Cultured Guru (Kaitlynn) could put some more Cajun recipes on her blog!

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