Simple Swaps: Cajun Jambalaya

This dish, based on a staple of Louisiana cuisine, swaps smoked sausage for chicken and shrimp—turning this into a flavor-filled weeknight dish. Consider using already-cooked packaged brown rice if you’re in a pinch for time.

Cajun Jambalaya
3-1/2 cups cooked brown rice (from 1 cup raw rice)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch pieces, all visible fat discarded)
3 teaspoons sodium-free Cajun spice blend (or chili powder)
1 (14.4-ounce) package frozen stir-fry onions and peppers, thawed
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added, diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/3 cup scallions

Make brown rice according to package directions (or, if pressed for time, use the packaged cooked rice and skip this step). Add canola oil into a Dutch oven and warm over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and 1 teaspoon Cajun spice/chili powder. Stir constantly until chicken is mostly cooked, around 5 minutes. Add thawed onions and peppers, along with diced tomatoes, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir and let mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat so mixture is at a simmer and let simmer about 5 minutes. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Add shrimp and, stirring constantly, cook until shrimp turn pink and are fully cooked, about 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of shrimp. Stir in the cooked rice and cook until rice is heated, just 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with scallions and serve. Serves 4

Cooking Tips

  • Another shortcut is using rotisserie chicken—just shred 2-1/2 cups of the rotisserie chicken breast (without the skin) to take the place of the cooked chicken; stir chicken into mixture at the end of the recipe along with the cooked rice.
  • Whether using a Cajun spice blend or a chili powder for this recipe, make sure to grab one without sodium. Many spice blends have added salt so check the ingredients before purchasing.
  • Buying chicken breasts and cutting into the size you need—whether it’s 1-inch pieces like in this recipe or slivers for chicken fingers—is much cheaper than buying already-cut chicken.

Nutritional Analysis—Calories: 438; fat: 7.4g; cholesterol: 144mg; sodium: 428mg; fiber: 5.6g; sugars: 8.9g; protein: 38.3g

From American Heart Association News