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Healthy Jambalaya





Betcha always thought that really good South Louisiana jambalaya had to be loaded to the lid with calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol, huh?  Well, if you make your next batch just like this batch I made for the American Diabetes Association you’ll find out that that’s not true.  This bad boy really ain’t that “bad” at all…and I promise that it tastes just as good as the original killer kind from down on the bayou!

Chef’s Notes:

  1. Do not change the quantities, ratios, and proportions. Following the recipe to the letter will produce a tasty, fluffy, perfect jambalaya.
  2. Even if you disdain cabbage, don’t leave it out! One of the secrets to this jambalaya is the moisture the cabbage imparts to keep the rice fluffy.  And don’t worry—even if you hate cabbage, you’ll never taste it in this jambalaya.
  3. If you’d prefer a spicier jambalaya, it’s okay to substitute Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies for the regular diced tomatoes. Just keep the quantity the same.  Remember, excessive moisture produces a soggy jambalaya that resembles risotto; not enough moisture yields a dry, sticky jambalaya.
  4. If you can’t find my seafood and poultry seasonings at the supermarket where you shop, you can order them by clicking on the com link on this webpage.
  5. If the amount of fat and cholesterol is not a criteria for you, it is okay to substitute regular smoked sausage for the low-fat sausage.
  6. As the recipe indicates, be sure to wash and drain the rice before stirring it into the mixture. Even though it’s “converted,” washing removes excess starch and helps the grains fluff.
  7. One last hint: remember that the jambalaya is perfect when the rice is tender and all the excess moisture is absorbed. To reach that end, you might want to cook the mixture to “almost doneness,” then turn off the fire and allow the residual heat from the burner and the heavy cookware to finish the dish.  It’s one sure way to avoid overcooking (and mushy rice).


1 Tbsp. margarine
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 lb. small white mushrooms, quartered
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flatleaf parsley, minced
2 cups shredded cabbage
1-14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes in puree, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. sweet basil
1 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
10 drops Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 whole chicken breast (1 cup +), skinned, deboned, and cubed
12 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
1 cup low-fat smoked sausage, coarsely diced
1-1/2 cups raw converted rice, washed and drained
Green onions for garnish
* Click to ingredient to choose one


First, take a cast iron or heavy aluminum 5-quart Dutch oven and heat the margarine and olive oil to sizzling over a medium-high flame. Then drop in the onions, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms, garlic, and parsley and cook the mixture—stirring continually—until it wilts. Ideally, this should take about four to six minutes or so.
Once the veggies soften, add the cabbage to the pot and stir it thoroughly into the mix. Then stir in the tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the tomato paste and combine all the ingredients once again. When everything is uniformly blended, add the seasonings: the salt, black pepper, cayenne, bay leaf, sweet basil, seafood seasoning, poultry seasoning, and hot sauce. Note—to have this jambalaya come out rich and zesty instead of flat and bland, do not omit any of the herbs and spices! And under no circumstances omit the cabbage, even if you don’t like it. You’ll never taste it in the finished dish and it’s what keeps the rice grains moist as they cook!
At this point the rest of the recipe becomes a true “South Louisiana throw it together dish!” Once the mixture has been seasoned, “throw in” the chicken cubes, the chopped shrimp, the diced sausage, and the raw rice. Then stir everything together once more until uniform, put the lid on the Dutch oven, reduce the fire to low, and allow the pot to simmer until the meats are cooked and tender and the rice fully absorbs all the liquids.
I know the urge is to keep peeping into the pot to check on the cooking process, because you are absolutely convinced that the whole dish is going to stick and burn. But resist the urge and don’t even lift the lid until the dish has been cooking for at least 20 minutes. Only after that allotted time can you check—go ahead and take the lid off, stir everyone once, fluff up the rice, and put the lid back on. It should take only 15 to 20 minutes more to finish the jambalaya to perfection.
When you’re ready to eat, spoon out a generous, piping hot helping (a one-cup serving is recommended by the American Diabetes Association) into a soup bowl right from the Dutch oven. Of course, any quantity you refrigerate for later use can be reheated in the microwave and tastes just as good (some folks say it’s even better!) as the just-cooked stuff. Oh, yeah—a sprinkling of thinly sliced green onions over the top when you serve it lends a coup de grace to the meal.