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An authentic jambalaya recipe is savory, spicy, meaty, and oh so flavorful! And it’s very easy to make as well! Let me share with you my favorite healthy jambalaya with lots of meat, crushed tomatoes, and jambalaya seasoning.
The authenticity of any recipe starts with some historical rules. With jambalaya, there are two main types: Creole and Cajun with the main difference in the two being a tomato base.
Both use what’s called a “holy trinity” base, which includes onion, celery, and bell pepper. Other veggies are often included as well, such as carrots, okra, and garlic.
Most jambalayas are made with at least chicken and some type of sausage, and many others also include seafood such as shrimp or fish. I love to add all three, which makes it so hearty, satisfying, and filling.
If you’re trying to be budget conscious or don’t care for one of the meats, it’s totally fine to just use one of the meat ingredients.
Whether or not a jambalaya is healthy partly depends on what your idea of “healthy” is. I consider this healthy, as all the ingredients are “real” as opposed to processed or coming from a box.
I served mine with a wild rice blend, specifically Lundberg Jubilee rice, which is whole grain and gluten free. You can use any short- or long-grain rice that you prefer, but avoid instant for this recipe.
The meats in the recipe are healthy depending on what brands you choose. For your sausage, you should choose the least processed as possible and avoid nitrates if you’re looking for healthy.
For the shrimp, it’s best to choose wild caught instead of farm raised. And for the chicken, choose non-GMO or organic if you can for the most healthy chicken.
Jambalaya usually has at least a small amount of “heat,” but you can tone it down (or up!) according to your liking. You can also choose your sausage based on the amount of spiciness you want your jambalaya to have.
For example, kielbasa is a type of mild sausage that’s great for kids or those who don’t like spicy foods. Or you can use andouille, Italian sausage, or just about any that you prefer.
We like to experiment at my house, especially me and my boys, and I used a spicy Italian sausage this time, but we also love andouille and just about anything hot.
The jambalaya seasonings used in this authentic jambalaya recipe include paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and basil. It was almost too hot for my boys, as I actually used 2 teaspoons of cayenne instead of the 1 teaspoon indicated.
You may want to leave the cayenne out altogether and add it if you find that you want more heat after tasting. Another good addition to jambalaya is red pepper flakes, although I didn’t find the extra spice was needed.
What to Serve With Jambalaya
I like to serve my jambalaya with a side salad, and this makes a complete wholesome meal. You could also serve it alongside any side dish of your choice, such as baby carrots or corn.
The jambalaya with rice doesn’t lack much, so the side salad is the ideal choice in my opinion, but use your imagination! If you like bread with every meal, this jambalaya would be great served with some fresh crusty bread or biscuits.
How to Make Jambalaya
I love to use my Lodge cast iron Dutch oven. It’s so thick and can handle high temperatures with ease, all while keeping the whole pot at the same even temperature.
It’s deep, so splatters don’t usually make it out of the pan. I also love how I can slow cook to perfection just about any dish I can conjure up.
I like to heat the pan on medium heat first. Then after about 5 minutes I’ll add the oil and let it slide all over the bottom of the pan for a few minutes before adding the ingredients.
First is the “holy trinity” mix of onion, green pepper, celery, plus garlic in the pan of oil. After about 5 minutes when the veggies become a bit tender and translucent, you will add the oregano, basil, and thyme and stir.
Of note, I love to use already-prepared minced garlic in the jars. This is such a time saver! Maybe you’d like to consider this too … It’s great if you forgot to get garlic at the store!
Then you will add the cut-up chicken and sausage pieces and cook on low-medium heat until browned, stirring often. When this mixture is browned and filling your kitchen with wonderful aromas, it’s time to add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and rice and stir to incorporate.
You’ll want to bring the pot to a light boil on medium heat, then reduce the heat before covering. You will have the heat on about 1-2 while covered for about 45 minutes, stirring a few times during this period to avoid bottom sticking.
Adding the Shrimp to Your Jambalaya
The shrimp is added during the last 5-10 minutes, as it doesn’t take long to cook, and you don’t want to over cook it. You can use either tail-off or tail-on shrimp, but preferably it should be raw instead of already cooked.
If you use cooked shrimp, just put it in during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking just to warm it. You don’t want it to cook too long, as it will become rubbery.
I like to put the shrimp just at the top of the mix, so I can watch how done it becomes during the cooking process and also flip it over a few times so that it cooks thoroughly.
Hope you enjoy this amazing authentic jambalaya recipe as much as me and my boys! (My husband doesn’t like spicy foods or sausage, so I will have to make a milder one for him on a day that he’s off work.)
Products recommended in this post:
- Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Lundberg Jubilee Rice
- Spice Hunter Cayenne Pepper
- Spice Hunter Sweet Paprika
- Minced Garlic
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. When you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small commission, but your price will remain the same.
Authentic Jambalaya Recipe (Easy & Healthy Jambalaya)
- 3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper (any color, but I used red)
- 4 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 9-10 ounces link sausage, cut into bite-size medallions (andouille or any sausage of choice)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 2 tsp paprika (more or less to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- 1 Tbsp dry oregano
- 1 Tbsp dry basil
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained (28 ounces)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked rice (I used Lundberg Jubilee, a wild mixed rice)
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, tail on or off, raw or cooked
- Heat the oil on medium in a large Dutch oven on the stove top.
- Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme and stir. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
- Add the chicken and sausage and let brown for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add cayenne pepper and paprika to the meat mixture and blend lightly.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and rice and mix. Bring to a light boil, then lower the heat to 1-2 and cover.
- Cook covered on low for 45 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom.
- During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, add the shrimp to the top of the mixture and cover. Check again after about 5 minutes and flip shrimp over, making sure not to cover it deeply so you can keep an eye on its doneness. Cover and cook 5 more minutes or until shrimp is opaque pink and white.
- Serve right away with a side salad and crusty bread if desired.