First way I healthify jambalaya: adding a bunch of veggies. The recipe always starts with the cajun trinity – bell pepper, onion and celery. The trinity is the flavor base to most Cajun/Creole dishes. A good start I think! It is kind of like a Mexican sofrito – a flavor base that is very nutritious and adds a ton of flavor. I use it in most of my recipes actually! I bump up the vegetables with a carrot, another bell pepper – a sweet orange one in this case – tomatoes, and about 6 cloves of garlic. Mmmm.
I swap out the heavy sausage, typically Andouille, with an all natural, unprocessed chicken sausage from my butcher.
Swap out the white rice with brown – the entire recipe, which serves 4-6 people easily, has 1 cup of rice. So about 1/2 cup cooked rice per serving, but you’ll see it makes a huge portion – thanks to all of those vegetables! That is how I lost over 100 pounds and keep it off – not only are vegetables healthy, but adding a bunch of them to your recipes makes your portions seem large and they are full of fiber so they take up a lot of room in your tummy. They also digest slowly so you stay full longer. Hey, works for me!
For the seasonings, a lot of recipes out there call for a Cajun seasoning blend. That means a TON of salt and sugar and who knows what else. The main flavorings are paprika and dried thyme – use your own high quality herbs here. Cayenne pepper gives a good kick to this traditionally spicy dish, you can leave it out of you wish and add a lot of fresh ground black pepper instead.
I took a poll on my Facebook page about which protein to use…shrimp, chicken or sausage. Shrimp was the winner by far! I still used a little bit of sausage for that classic flavor and to have a bit of fat from the meat, just a little, for browning the rice in. That helps make a good fluffy, flavorful rice. My personal chef clients seem to gravitate towards the chicken and sausage combo – that is my number one request. Use wild shrimp – local or frozen if it is not available.
This is a recipe I make for my personal chef clients and they end up requesting it again and again! I make A LOT of jambalaya – never get tired of that amazing smell! Here’s to hoping it becomes a favorite in your home as well!
This is a quick recipe to throw together. It does take 45 minutes for the rice to cook, but your active time cooking is minimal! Get this going then walk awayand go enjoy some family time or a workout and enjoy the aroma as you look forward to your delicious, healthy dinner!
2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice – I used olive oil
4 oz sausage – organic, nitrate free variety – I used chicken sausage, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 bell pepper – sweet red, orange or yellow, or another green pepper, chopped
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 large pinches Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup brown rice
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with the juice – organic, no salt
1-1/2 cup water
1 lb shrimp – wild, peeled and cleaned
Hot sauce of your choice – a good Louisiana brand is perfect for this!
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add oil, swirl to coat. Add sausage, vegetables and spices. Saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the wine then let it cook off almost entirely. When evaporated add the rice. Cook the rice, browning slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and juice and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and cover. Cook 35 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, cover and let cook 10 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the jambalaya rest for 10 minutes (which helps you get fluffy rice). Enjoy!
*I apologize for the quality of the pictures! My camera is a no-show …using my phone for these pict’s Better ones to come!
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