If you do a search for jambalaya recipes, you're going to find more to choose from than you know what to do with. There are lots of great Cajun cooks out there--and lots of jambalaya recipes full of personal expression and ingredient lists as long as your arm. (What Makes Cajun Food So Great? Top Chefs Share Their Secrets.)
But say your intention is just to tip your hat (or dinner plate) in the direction of New Orleans during this Mardi Gras season, while still getting dinner on the table tonight in just 25 minutes. In that case, you'll want to make what the EatingWell Test Kitchen calls Express Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya.
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This recipe is the soul of brevity--just 6 ingredients!--yet those ingredients combine in one pot with soul-satisfying results. The traditional smoky and spicy complex flavors of the Cajun original come through from the andouille sausage (you just need half a pound of this bayou staple--and kielbasa makes a fine substitute) and the shrimp (just half of pound of those too). The vegetables come from a super-handy bag of frozen peppers and onions (no chopping!) and the brown rice is the instant variety you keep in your pantry (no waiting!). When you discover how tasty this fast recipe is, it's a good bet you will stock your kitchen with frozen vegetables and instant rice from now on if you don't already.
With this recipe, everyone gets a substantial bowlful of jambalaya--1 1/2 cups each--for a practically complete meal that's less than 400 calories a serving. And because it all cooks in one pot, there's just that one pot to clean--which means there's plenty of evening left after dinner for the good times to roll.
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Here's the recipe:
Express Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya
Active time: 15 minutes | Total: 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each.
Print and save this recipe here.
You don't have to sacrifice the traditional smoky punch of this Cajun favorite just because you're short on time. All you need is some purchased sausage and quick-cooking brown rice to create a rich, satisfying dinner on any weeknight. Have some sliced berries for dessert to cool off your palate!
1 teaspoon canola oil
8 ounces andouille sausage (see Ingredient Note) or low-fat kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 16-ounce bag frozen bell pepper and onion mix
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups instant brown rice
8 ounces raw shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and pepper-onion mix; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir once, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Per serving: 392 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 127 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars;27 g protein; 3 g fiber; 914 mg sodium; 188 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value), Magnesium (28% dv).
3 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat
Ingredient note: Andouille sausage is a smoky, mildly spicy pork sausage commonly used in Cajun cooking. Look for it near other smoked sausages in large supermarkets or specialty food stores.
What recipes put you in a Mardi Gras mood?
By Wendy Ruopp
Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.
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