If you think rice is boring and bland, this dirty rice recipe will change your mind! Loaded with flavour in every bite, it’s also full of veggies and plant-based sausage, so you can make it a meal.

Bowls of vegan dirty rice

It seems like every cuisine has a signature rice dish, from Puerto Rican arroz con gandules to Indian biryani and Jamaican rice and peas. And if you’re traveling to Louisiana, you can’t miss out on dirty rice!

Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish made with rice, meat, and seasonings. The name comes from the appearance of the dish, as it looks dirty due to the combination of ingredients and spices. My dirty rice recipe offers a vegan twist by using plant-based sausage, but it still has all the flavour of the original!

Overhead view of dirty rice in skillet

Why You’ll Love This Dirty Rice Recipe

  • A complete meal in a bowl. Like rice and beans, dirty rice is a hearty, filling dish that can be enjoyed on its own for dinner, especially if you round it out with a salad or veggies.
  • Packed with flavour. The blend of spices and vegetables in this recipe gives the rice so much depth.
  • Great for meal prep. This dish keeps well in the fridge, making it an excellent option for meal prep dinners and lunches. You can also freeze it for later!
Overhead view of ingredients for dirty rice recipe

Notes on Ingredients

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.

  • Olive oil 
  • The Cajun trinity – This is the term used to describe the yellow onion, celery, and green bell peppers base of so many Creole and Cajun dishes. 
  • Garlic
  • Vegan sausage – I like a spicy vegan sausage in this recipe for some fiery flavour, but you can use any sausage you like for this dirty rice recipe.
  • Jasmine rice
  • Seasonings – Smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Vegetable stock – I use my homemade vegetable broth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Can I Use a Different Kind of Rice in this Dirty Rice Recipe?

While this recipe calls for fragrant jasmine rice, long-grain white or brown rice is more traditional, and basmati rice will also work. Just remember that the cooking time may need to be adjusted as different types of rice cook differently.

How to Make Dirty Rice

  • Sauté the veggies. Cook the onion, celery, and bell peppers in a skillet with olive oil until they’re softened, then stir in the garlic. 
  • Brown the sausage. Add the vegan sausage and cook until it’s browned, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as you cook it.
  • Season the rice. Stir in the rice, along with the smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant.
  • Cook the rice. Add the bay leaves and veggie stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  • Finish. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Use a fork to fluff the rice, then season to taste and serve.

Tips and Variations

  • Stir occasionally. This ensures even cooking and it also gives you a better handle on how the dirty rice recipe is cooking—you’ll know if it needs more water, if the temperature needs to be adjusted, etc. 
  • Add more veggies. Feel free to add in other vegetables such as diced carrots, corn, or peas. You can stir small frozen veggies (like peas) in at the very end of the cooking time. It’s not exactly traditional, but it’s a good way to bulk up the dirty rice a little more.
  • Spice it up. If you like your food on the spicier side, feel free to add more cayenne pepper or even hot sauce to the dish.
  • Substitute the vegan meat. Instead of sausage, try vegan chicken for something different, or swap in cooked red beans.
Skillet of vegan dirty rice

Serving Suggestions

For a traditional Southern dinner, pair this dirty rice recipe with vegan cornbread or cornbread muffins. A simple salad is also great as a side dish, or round out your meal with balsamic roasted vegetables

How to Store Leftovers

Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days. To reheat, warm the dirty rice in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of vegetable stock or water to prevent it from drying out, or heat it up in the microwave.

Two bowls of dirty rice

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes! Pack the dirty rice recipe in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

More Vegan Rice Dishes

Dirty rice in bowl with fork
Vegan dirty rice on fork over bowl

Dirty Rice Recipe

Loaded with flavour in every bite, this dirty rice recipe is also full of veggies and  sausage, so you can make it a meal or have it as a side!
5 (from 3 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 30 ml
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces vegan sausage, 397 grams
  • 1 ½ cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained, 193 grams
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 2 grams
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, .5 grams
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 2.4 grams
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder, 2.4 grams
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 gram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, 700 ml
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell peppers to the skillet. Sauté until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the vegan sausage to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, crumbling it as you go.
  • Stir the rice into the veggies and sausage, season with smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the bay leaves to the pan and stir in the veggie stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let the rice cook for 20-25 minutes or until it is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Taste the finished product and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

To store: Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
To reheat: Warm the dirty rice in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of vegetable stock or water to prevent it from drying out, or heat it up in the microwave.
To freeze: Pack the dirty rice in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 733mg, Potassium: 289mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 460IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 11mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.