This Easy Weeknight Jambalaya is the ultimate comfort food made easy! Loaded with andouille chicken sausage, shrimp – this is a super versatile dish that will have your whole family going back for seconds!
This recipe is sponsored by al fresco – however, all opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make OBB possible!
Hey friends! I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with y’all today – it’s one of my favorites and my Mom has been making it for my family for years! It’s incredibly delicious, easy to make + overflowing with flavor! So let’s get into it 🙂
What is Jambalaya?
Alright, so, y’all know I’m from the South. However, I’m from North Carolina. While we may have been the birth place of biscuits and gravy, jambalaya was NOT born here! Ha.
In fact, jambalaya originated from my friends just a few states away in Louisiana! After a quick search, I found that it originated in the French Quarter of Louisiana after they attempted to make Paella (which is normally a Spanish inspired dish) but didn’t have access to some of the key ingredients. So, instead, they used tomatoes and voila! Jambalaya was born.
There are even more variations to it – both Creole and Cajun style. You can read more about the origin and history of jambalaya HERE!
What does Jambalaya Taste Like?
Jambalaya is a dish that is PERFECT for families. Why? It’s normally made in one large pot, has tons of meat, vegetables and rice and it’s insanely versatile!
It’s peppered throughout with a homemade cajun spice blend that tickles the back of your throat in the best way possible – the creamy tomato-y rice mixed in with the charred sausage and juicy shrimp..oh, and the vegetables that still have a slight crunch to them.
Combined all together, it’s ultra delicious and is the best comfort food.
Ingredients You Need:
- Al fresco andouille chicken sausage
- Bell peppers
- Shrimp (can use pre-cooked or raw/de-veined)
- Yellow onion
- Fresh garlic
- Long grain white rice
- Crushed tomatoes
- Cajun seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
- Chicken stock
- Parsley + green onions to garnish
Best Tips for Making Jambalaya + Substitutions
Of course, if you’re looking to try to make this dish the most authentic way possible, you would most likely include 2 sets of ingredients that are must haves in classic jambalaya. These are: celery, onion + bell peppers and the three meats: chicken breast, andouille sausage and shrimp.
Growing up, we often didn’t have all of those at one time so we would have to improvise! I did the same thing for this recipe.
Instead of using chicken breast, I used al fresco andouille flavored chicken sausage! Y’all. This sausage is amazing.
It’s already fully cooked (hello easy meal!) and when you MUST add it to the pot to give it a little char + get the juices flowing, the flavor turns out amazing!
I used shrimp in this dish as well and I loved the juicy texture they yielded. I tried this dish with both raw de-veined shrimp AND with thawed pre-cooked frozen shrimp. Spoiler alert for busy families: they both worked!
If you’re using the frozen/pre-cooked shrimp, just make sure to THAW them fully before you add them to the pot. You add them to the pot at the very end with only a few minutes left just to make sure they’re warmed through.
Feel free to buy whatever cajun seasoning you like from the store – but if you’re looking to save some money and use what you have at home, you can always make your own!
For me, I combined spices I already had like garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, dried oregano + thyme, black pepper and onion powder + salt of course. I tasted and adjusted it based on my spice preference. Find the measurements in the recipe card below!
Keep in mind if you have little ones in the house you might be making this for, that this is an inherently flavorful/spicy dish. So I would go easy on the seasoning and then work up to the spiciness as you go.
Overall – this is such a simple, easy, serve a huge crowd of people dish. It’s delicious and I love how special it is to me – it represents a time in my childhood where my Mom would work hard all day, come home and still make dinner for me and my brother. Cheers to one pot, delicious + easy weeknight meals!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few others you might like:
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Easy Weeknight Jambalaya
This Easy Weeknight Jambalaya is the ultimate comfort food made easy! Loaded with andouille chicken sausage, shrimp - this is a super versatile dish that will have your whole family going back for seconds!
- 1 package (4 links) al fresco andouille chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
- 2-3 tbsp avocado oil (can use olive oil)
- 12 oz. shrimp (can either be raw or pre-cooked, see notes)
- 3 medium bell peppers, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock (or broth!)
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
Dice all of the bell peppers, onion and mince the garlic. Slice the andouille chicken sausage into rounds. Set aside for now. Warm up a large pot or dutch oven on the stove on medium heat. Add in about 1 tbsp of avocado oil.
Add in the sliced chicken sausage and cook for about 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway, until they are slightly charred. Once done, remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add another tbsp of oil to the pot and then add in the diced bell peppers along with the yellow onion. Add in a generous pinch of salt and stir and let these cook for 5 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes followed by the chicken stock and 1 cup of rice and 1.5-2 tbsp of the homemade cajun seasoning (you can always make it even more spicy later!) Stir together to combine. Let this mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. Stir this every few minutes to make sure that nothing sticks or the rice doesn't burn.
Lastly, add in the shrimp. If you're using raw shrimp, add in and let cook for about 3-5 minutes or until they're opaque and cooked through. If you're using frozen pre-cooked shrimp, make sure they are thawed and then add in for about 3 minutes to let them warm through. Add in the chicken sausage as well. Stir to combine.
Serve immediately. Can garnish with fresh parsley, green onion and more cajun seasoning! Enjoy!
If you're cooking this meal for your kiddos, know that this meal is very spicy - so I would suggest starting with a little and then adding a little at a time 🙂
On cajun seasoning: You will have extra! Store to use for the next time you make jambalaya or use it for seasoning french fries, eggs, chicken, etc!
Raw vs. Frozen Pre-cooked shrimp: If you use raw shrimp, make sure they are peeled and de-veined. Add them into the pot with about 5 minutes left to go and cover and let cook until pink and opaque.
If you're using frozen pre-cooked shrimp, make sure you thaw them completely. Add them into the pot with 3 or so minutes left to go and let them warm through.
If you're trying to make this more authentic, you can add diced chicken breast and celery 🙂