Photos: Wendy Goodfriend, Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco

This dish is fragrant, spicy and very satisfying. It won’t matter whether or not you’re a vegetarian.

And to make this dish vegetarian it is important that the Worcestershire sauce you use is vegan, made without anchovies. It’s possible to find this product online or in health food stores. Once you make a batch of the Creole spice, you’ll find other excuses to make this dish or add it to your favorite vegetables.

I was a vegetarian once for a short period of time towards the end of high school and beginning of college. I decided to join a friend in her dietary preferences and young women often do. There’s strength in numbers. Most of my family thought I was crazy, but I always found plenty to eat and I think it made me more creative when cooking for myself. I still seek out ways to make new combinations for vegetarians who dine in my restaurant, but this is a favorite that’s always on the menu.

I attempt to put soul food into a new light by using the freshest, most sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible. And I personally try to limit my consumption of animal fats and proteins. Balance is the key. Most of our side dishes are vegetarian and some are vegan. I want everyone to feel welcome at Brown Sugar Kitchen and know that they can find something on the menu that they can eat that will also satisfy their cravings for comfort food.

Tanya Holland’s Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Tanya Holland’s Vegetarian Dirty Rice (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Vegetarian Dirty Rice

Fresh vegetable-laden rice sauteed with Creole spices

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño chile
  • 1/4 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Spice (see recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Ingredients for Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Ingredients for Vegetarian Dirty Rice (Wendy Goodfriend)
Tanya Holland preps ingredients for Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Tanya Holland preps ingredients for Vegetarian Dirty Rice (Wendy Goodfriend)
Dice one red bell pepper
Dice one red bell pepper (Wendy Goodfriend)
Dice one green bell pepper
Dice one green bell pepper (Wendy Goodfriend)
Prepped vegetables and Creole spice
Prepped vegetables and Creole spice (Wendy Goodfriend)

Instructions:

In a large bowl cover rice with cold water. Stir the rice and drain. Repeat this process 5 to 6 times until water runs clear. In a medium saucepan add washed rice and cover with enough water to measure 1 inch above rice. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered until just done, about 20 minutes; do not overcook.

Cooked basmati rice
Cooked basmati rice

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, peppers, and jalapeño chile and cook, stirring until vegetables are soft but still have some crunch and integrity, add garlic to soften with other vegetables and cook about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in Creole spice, herbs and seasoning. Add cooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, a little bit of water and heat through, stirring until rice is coated with sauce. Add spinach. Lower heat. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, peppers, and jalapeño chile and cook, stirring until vegetables are soft but still have some crunch and integrity, add garlic to soften with other vegetables and cook about 10 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, peppers, and jalapeño chile and cook, stirring until vegetables are soft but still have some crunch and integrity, add garlic to soften with other vegetables and cook about 10 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Sprinkle in Creole spice, herbs and seasoning. Add cooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, a little bit of water and heat through, stirring until rice is coated with sauce.
Sprinkle in Creole spice, herbs and seasoning. Add cooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, a little bit of water and heat through, stirring until rice is coated with sauce.
Add spinach. Lower heat. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add spinach. Lower heat. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. (Wendy Goodfriend)
Tanya Holland’s Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Tanya Holland’s Vegetarian Dirty Rice (Wendy Goodfriend)
Tanya Holland tasting the Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Tanya Holland tasting the Vegetarian Dirty Rice (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Creole Spice

Yield: Makes about ½ cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store extra spice in an airtight container at room temperature.

Creole spice
Creole spice (Wendy Goodfriend)
Celebrity Chefs Recipes: Tanya Holland’s Vegetarian Dirty Rice 7 February,2018Tanya Holland

  • Sarah Lehman

    Great recipe… BUT The written instructions need a hard edit to match what she says/does/uses in the video. Written instructions omit the yellow onion and the extra water added with the spinach, doesn’t say when to add the tamari, and mis-states when to add the dry spices (answer: after the veg saute, not after the rice. Do it like the written instructions say and the spices are nearly impossible to distribute well)

    • weegee

      Hi Sarah-
      Thanks for taking the time to share this discrepancy. The written recipe edits have been made to match the video sequence.

  • Johanna A.

    Your vegetarian friends will likely be upset with you if you feed them regular Worcestershire (I would be); the opening paragraph is misleading, the difference between vegan and vegetarian isn’t fish.

    • weegee

      Thanks for pointing out the confusion in the wording. The copy has been clarified to reflect what was intended.

Author

Tanya Holland

A pioneer of the “new soul/southern cuisine” movement, Tanya Holland is Chef/Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA. She is the author of The Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2014). Tanya was named California Restaurateur of the Year by the California Travel Association in 2013, the same year she was awarded the Key to the City by the mayor of Oakland. The previous year she was honored with Tanya Holland Day in Oakland on June 5th, 2012. Brown Sugar Kitchen has received numerous accolades including a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Tanya has been a member of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier since 2010.

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