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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.
What's in Jambalaya?
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.
What You'll Need
3 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)1 medium onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped1 medium bell pepper (any color, but I used red)
4 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 pound chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces
9-10 ounces sausage, (link type) cut into bite-size medallions (andouille or any sausage of choice)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoon paprika (more or less to taste)
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme, dry
1 tablespoon oregano, dry
1 tablespoon basil, dry
1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained (28 ounces)
3 cups chicken broth (or stock)
1 cup rice, uncooked (I used Lundberg Jubilee, a wild mixed rice)
½ pound shrimp medium size, tail on or off, raw or cooked
(Full Recipe Below)
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 highly recommend that you get yourself one if you don't already have one. That's the very pan I used for this delicious authentic jambalaya recipe!
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
You may also love my Spaghetti Bolognaise recipe - simple yet so delicious pasta sauce!
Other Delicious Recipes to Try:
Corn Potato Chowder (Easy, Hearty & Delicious!)
Baked Mahi Mahi Recipe (Simple & So Flavorful!)
Turkey Ala King (Using Leftover Turkey or Chicken)
London Broil Crock Pot Recipe (with Built-In Gravy)
Authentic Jambalaya Recipe (Easy & Healthy Jambalaya)
- 3 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper (any color, but I used red)
- 4 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 9-10 ounces sausage, (link type) cut into bite-size medallions (andouille or any sausage of choice)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 2 teaspoon paprika (more or less to taste)
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme , dry
- 1 tablespoon oregano , dry
- 1 tablespoon basil , dry
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained (28 ounces)
- 3 cups chicken broth (or stock)
- 1 cup rice, uncooked (I used Lundberg Jubilee, a wild mixed rice)
- ½ pound shrimp medium size, 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.
Don't Forget to Pin For Later!
Dawn @ The Kitchen and a Latte
I have never tried jambalaya before. It is funny how in different parts of the US we have different things we eat and grow up with - I think this is more popular in the south right? I am in NJ and you might be able find it in a restaurant occasionally, but I don't remember seeing it in any. I have nothing against trying new things and I think I will have to try your jambalaya 🙂 It sounds delicious! I never really knew what exactly it was.
Dawn - Yes, it is decidedly Southern, Louisiana specific. If you like spicy, satisfying dishes, you should like this one. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
This is so delicious. We had it with some steamed white rice and everyone had seconds, and there's no leftover. 🙂
Thanks for letting me know, Anita!
I absolutely love the flavors of Jambalaya and this healthy version totally hit the spot!! Thank you for the recipe! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Anjali!
A good jambalaya has so much flavor and this looks great with all those seasonings and the various meats. Comforting and flavorful.
Yes, Caroline - this one is SO flavorful! Thanks for stopping by!
Jambalaya is a favorite of mine all year long but it's especially delicious when I'm looking for a little something spicy to warm me up. Plus it's so hearty.
Mine too, Sharon!
What a great recipe loaded with full of flavors. My family loved it. Thanks for sharing.
We love it too! Thanks for stopping by, Kushigalu!
Added probably 2tsp of cayenne pepper instead of one because we like a little extra heat, used mild Italian sausages and 1 1/2 pounds of fresh raw shrimp and it was absolutely delicious. This was my first time attempting jambalaya and it turned out amazing! Great recipe thank you.
Awesome Jessica - I like extra heat too! Thanks for letting me know how yours turned out!
Tried this recipe tonight and it turned out so nice. I like a bit of spice so I added extra cayenne pepper...yummy!
Awesome Kymberli! So glad to hear!
Turned out great. The only modification I made was to brown the chicken and sausage separately and then added them to the vegetable mix. I don't see how one can brown chicken in a dish that is filled with the juices from the veggies. Otherwise, the recipe can be closely followed with great results.
Thanks for your input, Ivy, and glad yours turned out great! In my experience, the initial veggies don't hinder the browning of the meat at all, as they don't give off a lot of liquid. And I do a lot of my recipes this way.
Anyway to make this in a crockpot? Let the meat and base cook slowly and add shrimp at the end? Then rice separately? Thoughts?
Thanks for your question, Bryan. Your suggestions sound about right for the slow cooker. Haven't made it yet in the Crock Pot, but I just might have to try it. Let me know if you do.
really enjoyed this. Same as others mentioned the white rice I used did not take long to cook. But testing while stirring got the shorter time just right. Nice fresh shrimp made all the difference in a very welcome meal on a cool February Sunday. Thank you for posting this take on a favorite. Also will say cheated up on the ingredient volume since this is going to make more than one lunch this week after feeding the family. .
Great to hear, Bob - thanks for letting me know!
Really yummy and easy! I added a bit more rice so mine was more ricey than saucey (long grain rice) and I added a diced raw jalapeño to the holy trinity to heat it up that way. Used the instructed amount of cayenne and paprika and it’s excellent!! My husband is a huge jambalaya fan I have to make it often. Like this recipe the best. I also only used andouille and shrimp, no chicken.
That's awesome, Bev! Thanks for letting me know!
What an absolutely wonderful recipe ! Thank you so much for sharing my husband and I both love it . Tastes and looks great .
Glad you and your husband love it, Suzanne! Thanks for letting me know!
Bernard M Stiegler
Looks tasty, but it doesn't look like jambalaya. I've lived in south Louisiana my entire life and cook jambalaya all the time. Yours looks more like chicken and shrimp creole. I use twice as much rice. Jambalaya is a rice dish. Two cups of rice, two cups of broth. For creole jambalaya I use one 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes and one 8 oz can of tomato sauce. Cajun jambalaya is brown and does not have tomatoes or tomato sauce.
i thought this version of creole jambalaya was really good. I have bookmarked it I am not an expert by any means and I live in the Northeast. . I read a lot about food and consider my self a pretty accomplished cook. Yes this is a creole Jambalaya. Which is why I made it. I prefer other things Cajun or low country, but I prefer Creole Jambalaya. And this was really good. I liked the generous amount of herbs. I used mostly green pepper in the trinity. The rice was a little wet but I can adjust that next time Stellar.
Thank you for your feedback, Jim!
On the stove! I am using leftover Easter Ham, Leftover Roast Chicken, Leftover Andouille Sausage and Fresh shrimp, along with the trinity + some peas and okra. Refrigerator Jambalaya! Yum!!!
Sounds amazing! Thank you for letting me know how you've personalized yours!