Brown Rice Jambalaya (2023)

Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

Bring a taste of New Orleans (the NOLA) to your household with spicy creole jambalaya cuisine. A strictly shrimp and chicken rendition made with brown rice and a pork free version (no andouille sausage).

Brown Rice Jambalaya (1)

If you enjoy a bit of heat and well seasoned food, then this jambalaya made with brown rice is ideal for you.

I just love making my jambalaya with brown rice because of its excellent nutritional value.

Furthermore, I'm a huge fan of southern food and as an avid traveller I've had the luxury of sampling the real deal.

If you are a faithful reader of mine then you will probably already be familiar with this recipe. It was originally published several years ago.

However, like most food bloggers, we do go through periods of re-vamping some of our recipes, it can be for a myriad of reasons; such as our readers feedback, re-testing a recipe and/or wanting to add another ingredient and so fourth.

This recipe has gone through a few changes, I've now included chicken thighs and reduced the ratio of shrimp.

I have also tweaked the amount of cajun seasoning, by increasing it to really bring out the flavour a bit more and switched around the ratio of chopped tomato in juice to vegetable broth (more tomatoes, less broth).

If you don't want to add chicken to yours then feel free to adhere to the original format with a predominate shrimp theme.

What is jambalaya?

Essentially Jambalaya is a one pot dish that consists of rice, meat and vegetables. The meat can include anything from sausage, usually smoked andouille, chicken, and/or seafood such as shrimp or cray fish.

With that being said it's hardly surprising that the word jambalaya derives from the French word for ham - Jambon and Aya is thought to be the West African word for rice.

Variations of jambalaya

Jambalaya is like the southern version of Paella or Risotto, bearing the same wet consistently. There are a few versions of Jambalaya; Creole and Cajun.

Creole (the one pictured here) sometimes referred to as 'red jambalaya' uses tomatoes.

Usually the meat (sausage or chicken) is cooked first followed by the holy trinity (very important ingredient) which is celery, onions and green bell pepper.

On a side note, I included red bell pepper in mine purely for color and a hint of sweetness.

The holy trinity - what is it?

The holy trinity is very similar to the latin America Sofrito, Haitian Epis and the English Caribbean island's Green Seasoning.

In short one would describe it as the base, the starting point as it were or should I say the foundation of the recipe, a very important step for creating a complex flavour.

The ratio of these ingredients does vary from person to person. Anything from 2:1:1 (One large onion, a small green bell pepper and 2-3 celery stalks.

Alternatively, you can use 3 equal parts - one part onions, one part green bell pepper and one part celery stalks.

The holy trinity mix is sauteed for several minutes during the initial stages of cooking, a process that involves "sweating out the vegetables" where the moisture is released which adds more depth in flavour.

Now do you see how important the holy trinity is to the making of jambalaya?

If it's your first time cooking rice and need help with troubleshooting, please check out my How to Fix Rice article.

Brown Rice Jambalaya (2)

Cajun jambalaya

Cajun jambalaya differs in the respect that it contains no tomatoes and the selected meat (chicken, andouille sausage etc.. and veggies) are cooked separately from the rice.

with that being said, it is still just as flavoursome and generously seasoned.

This version isn't as popular as the creole shrimp Jambalaya and tends to be eaten namely in the rural parts of Louisiana.

The steps

Brown Rice Jambalaya (3)
  • Heat the pan on medium with the olive oil.
  • Season and coat the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning, then add to the pan to sear (this should take several minutes).
  • Once the chicken has browned, remove it from the pan and set aside.
  • Replenish the pan with 2 tablespoon of olive oil then add the holy trinity - bell peppers, chopped celery and onions.
  • Saute the holy trinity for 5-6 minutes until the onions are translucent and slightly golden.
Brown Rice Jambalaya (4)
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, followed by the Seasoning - garlic powder, paprika, oregano, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves along with 2tbsp of cajun seasoning.
  • Stir until all of the veggies and herbs/spices are combined.
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring the pan to a rolling boil.
  • Add the rice to the pan and stir so everything is well combined.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for roughly 40- 50 minutes or until the rice has absorbs most of the liquid.
  • Remove the lid then finally fold in the chicken thighs and shrimp.
  • Allow the jambalaya to cook for a further 5-6 minutes or until the shrimp is slightly pink in colour.
  • Do a taste test and adjust for further seasoning adding more cajun seasoning, pink salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve while hot.

What shrimp should you use for jambalaya?

For best results I would advise to use raw jumbo/medium sized shrimp because it's so easy to overcook shrimp.

The texture of shrimp is very changeable should it be overcooked - rubber and tough, not nice!

It's also best practice to add the shrimp towards the final stages of cooking (as per recipe) again to sure perfection.

I used a total of 1 ½lbs worth of raw shrimp. If you want you can use cooked shrimp, but as mentioned earlier add them a minutes to the end of the cooking stages.

Frozen or fresh shrimp works well with this recipe.

Grain free version of jambalaya

Although this recipe contains grains (brown rice). There's some great paleo alternatives out there such as Cauliflower Rice, sweet potatoes or vegetable noodle (zucchini zoodles).

You can still follow the same recipe steps and achieve an awesome grain free creole shrimp jambalaya

Notes and tips

  • I used my Homemade Vegetable Broth and Homemade Seasoning Mix to make this recipe.
  • Keep in mind this recipe serves up to 6 people.
  • This is the recipe of the Cajun Seasoning that I used.
  • You need a large skillet/frying pan with the circumference of 30cm
  • It's best to use long grain rice (wild or brown rice) works best.
  • If you want your jambalaya to be extremely spicy then I suggest adding more seasoning towards the end when doing a taste test.
  • In terms of storage, you can freeze any leftovers although it is best to consume the jambalaya immediately.
  • Make sure you are using raw shrimp (tails on or off, it's your choice) to make your jambalaya because why are less likely to become rubbery.
  • Try not to re-heat the dish or this will compromise the texture of the shrimp.

Brown Rice Jambalaya (5)

More shrimp and seafood recipes to try

  • Baked Hake Fillets
  • Shrimp Rundown
  • Dairy Free Fish Pie
  • Jamaican Hot Pepper Shrimp
  • Sweet Chilli Shrimp
  • Cabbage and Shrimp
  • Blackened Cajun Air Fried Salmon
  • Cajun Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles
  • Seared Tuna Lettuce Wraps

**Don't forget to comment below and star rate if you have tried my recipes. Let's be friends and engage on YouTube, Facebook and InstagramI also like to pin on Pinterest, where you can find more amazing recipes.**

Brown Rice Jambalaya (6)

Brown Rice Jambalaya

Bring a taste of New Orleans (the NOLA) to your household with spicy creole jambalaya cuisine. A strictly shrimp and chicken rendition made with brown rice and a pork free version (no andouille sausage).

4.75 from 8 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Entree

Cuisine: American, southern

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 400kcal

Author: Charla

Ingredients

To sear the chicken

  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil (28g)
  • ½ lb boneless chicken thighs (250g)
  • 2 tablespoon cajun seasoning (14g) see notes

To make the jambalaya

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (28g)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 14 oz can of tomato in juice (400g)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (8g)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (2g)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (8g) stem removed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (2g)
  • 2 teaspoon oregano (4g)
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (8g) see post
  • cups of veggie stock (828ml) see post
  • 1 ½ cups of rice (305g) thoroughly rinsed
  • lb shrimp (680g) peeled and de vained
  • additional cajun seasoning, pink salt and black pepper to taste

US Customary - Metric

Instructions

To sear the chicken

  • Heat the pan on medium with the olive oil.

  • Season and coat the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning, then add to the pan to sear (this should take several minutes).

  • Once the chicken has browned, remove it from the pan and set aside.

To make the jambalaya

  • Replenish the pan with 2 tablespoon of olive oil then add the holy trinity - bell peppers, chopped celery and onions.

  • Saute the holy trinity for 5-6 minutes until the onions are translucent and slightly golden.

  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, followed by the Seasoning - garlic powder, paprika, oregano, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves along with 2tbsp of cajun seasoning.

  • Stir until all of the veggies and herbs/spices are combined.

  • Add the vegetable broth and bring the pan to a rolling boil.

  • Add the rice to the pan and stir so everything is well combined.

  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for roughly 40- 50 minutes or until the rice has absorbs most of the liquid.

  • Remove the lid then finally fold in the chicken thighs and shrimp.

  • Allow the jambalaya to cook for a further 5-6 minutes or until the shrimp is slightly pink in colour.

  • Do a taste test and adjust for further seasoning adding more cajun seasoning, pink salt and black pepper to taste.

  • Remove the bay leaves and serve while hot.

Notes

  • I used my Homemade Vegetable Broth and Homemade Seasoning Mix to make this recipe.
  • Keep in mind this recipe serves up to 6 people.
  • This is the recipe of the Cajun Seasoning that I used.
  • You need a large skillet/frying pan with the circumference of 30cm
  • It's best to use long grain rice (wild or brown rice) works best.
  • If you want your jambalaya to be extremely spicy then I suggest adding more seasoning towards the end when doing a taste test.
  • In terms of storage, you can freeze any leftovers although it is best to consume the jambalaya immediately.
  • Make sure you are using raw shrimp (tails on or off, it's your choice) to make your jambalaya because why are less likely to become rubbery.
  • Try not to re-heat the dish or this will compromise the texture of the shrimp.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 675mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3046IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg

Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ThatGirlCooksHealthy or tag #ThatGirlCooksHealthy!

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated: 02/04/2023

Views: 6176

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.