Mardi Gras just isn’t Mardi Gras without a bowl of jambalaya and not just any jambalaya, Healthy Cajun Jambalaya! This recipe is one that came from my grandma’s recipe box and I absolutely love it!
Jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, and shrimp etouffee, are all dishes that we seem to forget about until Mardi Gras rolls around. I’m not sure why, because they are all fantastic! I love the bold, spicy, Cajun flavors and the heartiness of all these dishes. Aside from the humidity, large bugs, and hurricanes, I think I would do well living in New Orleans.
While I’ve never been to New Orleans, I’ve been told some great stories from my mom, uncle, and grandparents who all lived there for a year way back in the day. My mom told me how shrimp was cheaper than beef, that the seafood there is better than anything you’ll find here in Colorado or most other places, and that the food there is all around delicious. Then there is the not so glamorous side that involves tons of humidity and very large bugs. She told me horror stories about getting on buses and how there would occasionally be 3-4 inch long roaches crawling along the floors or walls. That pretty much sealed the deal for my husband that we would never live there, he is NOT a fan of roaches!
I do hope that one day I will be able to visit this city that is so rich in history, food, music, and certainly knows how to have a good time! Until then I’ll dream about the amazing fresh seafood and those spicy Cajun dishes and do my best to create some of them in my own kitchen. Red beans and rice used to be my favorite Cajun meal, but ever since I had my grandma’s jambalaya that’s all changed.
I love that this Healthy Cajun Jambalaya is packed with different kinds of meat (chicken, ham, and shrimp), the trinity of vegetables (onions, bell peppers, and celery), and a slew of spices that give this jambalaya incredible Cajun flavor and a good kick of heat. The heat in this jambalaya isn’t like Mexican food where there is a spicy burn from the first bite. This is the kind of heat that hits you in the back of the throat but still lets you experience all the amazing flavors. Traditionally jambalaya has rice mixed in, but if you are keeping things low carb you can leave it out and it is just as delicious. If you do add rice and want an extra boost of whole grains, use brown rice instead of white. Bring the flavors of the south into your kitchen this Tuesday and make my favorite Healthy Cajun Jambalaya!
- 8 ounces cooked chicken breast, diced
- 8 ounces ham steak, diced (andouille or kielbasa sausage may also be used)
- 8 ounces medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, or other flavorless oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- When the oil is hot add in the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add in all of the spices and the flour and stir until the flour is totally incorporated.
- Add in the 2 cans of tomatoes and the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add in the diced ham and chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Add in the shrimp and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the shrimp is cooked.
- Serve with a 1/4 cup scoop of brown rice on top of the bowls of jambalaya if desired.