Spicy, filling, and full of warmth, this Southern Style Jambalaya is the perfect easy dish when you’re looking for comfort, and trying to keep your calorie count in check.
The mix of vegetables, meats, and spices offer up a hearty and filling meal that is so tasty on its own, you won’t be missing the loads of carbs and sauces that tend to bog down other comfort style dishes. To top that off, the preparation on this meal is quick and simple, and once you’ve got everything in the pan, dinner is just a short 30 minute simmer away!
Ingredients for Southern Style Jambalaya
Another benefit to this Southern Style Jambalaya is the ingredient list is pretty basic and really short. There’s a chance you might have almost everything you need already in your kitchen.
From the produce section you’ll need a medium sized yellow onion, a green pepper or two, depending on their size, and a bunch of celery. You’ll also need some garlic. You can buy a fresh clove or buy the minced garlic in a jar.
The only thing you need out of the spice section is some cajun spice. That’s it! And yet this dish is so packed with flavor!
Heading to the baking section, make sure you have some white rice, olive oil, and a can of diced tomatoes with liquid. The liquid in the canned diced tomatoes adds to the consistency and flavor of the rice, which is why we use canned tomatoes instead of fresh.
Finally, into the meat aisle. For the chicken we prefer boneless thighs. They aren’t as dry as some other parts of the chicken and carry a nice flavor. If you can’t find or don’t have thighs, you can get away with boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders as well. We get them boneless so they’re easy to cut.
This calls for Andouille sausage, which we do love for the flavor. However, we also recognize that the sausage is the least healthy part of this dish. If you are looking to keep the full recipe on the healthier side you can substitute turkey sausage, a lower fat sausage, low sodium sausage, or even a plant based protein sausage. You do want the same thickness and size of the traditional andouille sausage, so do look for those bigger, thicker, links.
Finally, we use a medium sized frozen shrimp. You can buy them peeled or deveined, or do that part on your own!
Putting together the Jambalaya
Southern Style Jambalaya is a pretty quick meal. If you’re a meal planner that puts things together the night or weekend before, this is a great dish for you. It’s also a great dish for someone who hasn’t planned ahead, and needs a quick dinner with some simple ingredients.
First, slice and dice your vegetables. Cut the onion, green peppers, and celery into quarter inch cubes. Dre uses the LHS vegetable dicer to quickly chop up the vegetables.
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Not only is this a great tool for chopping with his MS, it also dices everything quickly, cuts to the perfect size, and easily measures and stores the vegetables.
Once your vegetables are diced, you’ll need to slice your sausage into slices about an eighth of an inch thick. Cut your chicken into roughly 1/2 inch cubes, then peel and devein your shrimp.
Now that you’ve got everything prepped, you’re ready to cook.
Heat your skillet to medium and warm up your olive oil. Our favorite pans are definitely the Ninja Non-stick Cookware. For this we use the 10-1/4 inch fry pan, which is outstanding. Even and consistent on their temperature and easy to clean.
First step, lightly brown the sausage on one side, then flip (after about two minutes) and brown on the second side. Once the sausage is browned, add the chicken to the pan. Cook until the chicken is about halfway done- you’ll sear the outside for texture. The chicken will finish cooking during the simmering process.
Remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside. You’re going to add your vegetables to the same pan to cook. Don’t clean it in between, as the flavor from the meats will seep into the veggies and make them delicious! Why you don’t need a lot of spices!
Add your onions, peppers, and celery to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes. The vegetables will get a shiny sheen to them and start to soften up. Once this happens, add your garlic and Cajun spice and stir in. After these are mixed in, pour in your rice and stir until it is evenly distributed.
Next, pour in the can of tomatoes and the chicken broth. Stir everything together, bring it to a gentle simmer, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. During this time, the rice and chicken will cook and the flavors will all begin to blend together.
After it has simmered for 20 minutes, add your shrimp and stir in. Cover and let simmer for another ten minutes.
At this point your meats and rice have cooked, flavors have mingled, and you have yourself a ready to serve Jambalaya!
Pair with your favorite cornbread, vegetables, side of choice, or solo!
Check out our blog post on tools and equipment Dre likes to use to keep the kitchen adaptive with his multiple sclerosis if you’re interested in seeing how he keeps accessible!
Why we Love Making Southern Style Jambalaya with Multiple Sclerosis
A dish like Jambalaya isn’t typically thought of as health food, however, when you look at the makeup here, it’s a pretty solid dish to serve up.
First, we love the proteins in this. Shrimp is a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are great antioxidants. It’s also loaded with vitamin B12, which is important for a well functioning nervous system. We also love the low calorie, high protein benefits of the chicken. A much easier protein for the digestive system to work with than red meats, this is a nice protein for muscle and bone building.
We recognize that some folks may shy away from the sausage, as the processing of sausage can be a negative. However, with the multiple different healthy options that have made their way to the market, we feel like there’s a lot to work with.
Perhaps one of the most important things to cooking this dish, is that it’s so full of flavor and filling, you forget sometimes how healthy it is. Having MS doesn’t mean you have to give up all of the great, flavorful foods in your diet. However, we also don’t want every comfort food we find to bog down the digestive system and slow down the body for the next few days.
This dish packs a wonderful punch of flavor and nutrients, doesn’t take a lot of energy to put together but gives a lot back, and falls right under the label of soul food.
So yes, this recipe definitely falls into our favorites for MS, and any other diet. We hope you’ll find it lands in your favorites as well!
Please visit our Resources page if you are interested in finding some of the tools and gadgets Dre uses to make cooking accessible while cooking with MS.
Southern Style Jambalaya
Spicy, filling, and full of warmth, this Southern Style Jambalaya is the perfect easy dish when you're looking for comfort, and trying to keep your calorie count in check.
Heat a large, deep, cooking skillet to medium heat. Warm olive oil in pan.
Add Andouille Sausage to pan. Lightly brown sausage slices on one side, then flip and brown on the second side, about two minutes per side.
Add chicken cubes to sausage and cook chicken through. There should not be any pink in the middle of the cubes.
Remove sausage and chicken from pan and set aside. Warm second tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Add onions, green peppers, and celery to pan and sautte until the start to become glossy and soften, about 3-4 minutes.Do not clean the pan between cooking the meat and the vegetables, as the flavor from the meats will cook into the vegetables.
Once the vegetables have softened, add your minced garlic and cajun spice and stir into vegetables.
Stir the uncooked rice into the mixture. Once rice is evenly distributed, stir in diced tomatoes and the chicken broth.
When everything is mixed, put cooked chicken and sausage back into the pan. Bring mixture to a steady simmer. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
After mixture has simmered for 20 minutes, stir in shrimp. Cover and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes.
Scoop onto a bowl or plate and enjoy!