Mardi Gras season is upon us and that means it’s time for some creole cookin’. I decided to develop this healthy-twist on traditional Jambalaya, a dish consisting of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. This would be considered a creole jambalaya, since it has the addition of tomatoes whereas cajun jambalaya does not.
This hearty dish is filled with whole grains, impressive protein, varying veggies, and incredible flavor from the spices used. I typically like to use long grain brown rice but you can also use up whatever grain you have on hand such as farro or white rice instead. Note the varying cook times on these grains as brown rice is going to take a much longer time to cook than white rice.
This healthy jambalaya is packed with protein from the shrimp and beans. One serving of this dish contains about 9 grams of protein from the shrimp and about 5 grams of plant-based protein from the cannellini beans.
Another reason I love this recipe is because it is a one-pan meal. This means less dishes and throw-it-all-in style cooking. Win and win.
Don’t get Mardi Gras food “FOMO”. Throw on some beads and turn your kitchen into a southern festival with this delicious and nutritious creole-style Brown Rice Shrimp Jambalaya. What are some of your favorite dishes to make in celebration of Mardi Gras?
Healthy Brown Rice Shrimp Jambalaya
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 5 stalks celery chopped
- 1 bell pepper of your choice diced (green, red, orange, yellow)
- 1 cup grains of your choice uncooked farro, long grain brown rice, or long grain white rice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 15- oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth or water
- 1 15- oz can cannellini beans thoroughly drained and rinsed
- 1 lb uncooked tail-off shrimp peeled and deveined, thawed
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cilantro optional for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan (5 qt. or larger) over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add grains, bay leaves, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and tomatoes. Stir until well combined, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, stir until combined, and bring to a boil. It will look soupy here but don’t worry– this will all be absorbed by the grains. Reduce boil to a simmer, cover, and cook until grains are tender*, stirring often to avoid grains sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once grains are cooked, stir in the beans and shrimp and heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.