An Easy Jambalaya Recipe for Runners
I’d like to preface this recipe by letting you know that I am a Minnesotan. This is not a recipe handed down from Cajun grandmother to Cajun mother to Cajun daughter. It certainly is not traditional. But I do use the Cajun Trinity and some of the traditional jambalaya elements and I can promise you that it is both easy and delicious!
I love the taste of jambalaya and the dish has a ton of potential to fit nicely into a runner’s diet. There’s a lovely saute of vegetables, a spicy kick, and usually some form of protein (smoked andouille sausage, shrimp, and/or chicken). The sauce is then cooked together with white rice which allows the rice to soak up the delicious stock and absorb in the flavor.
My runner-friendly updates to this jambalaya recipe include adding more (nontraditional) vegetables and cooking the rice separately. Cooking the rice separately sacrifices some flavor but it allows you to easily make a healthier brown rice or quinoa substitution without adjusting the amount of liquid or the cooking temperature. It will also allow you to get this recipe on the table quicker since you can cook the brown rice and the sauce at the same time.
Easy Jambalaya for Runners
Time: 45-50 minutes active + any extra time your brown rice takes to cook
6 tbsp *
Salt, to taste**
Black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp butter
1.5-2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
12-15 oz andouille sausage
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 sweet potatoes, cut into a ½ inch dice
1 zucchini, cut into a ½ inch dice
1 bag frozen cut okra
2 28 oz. cans crushed red tomatoes
Brown rice, for serving (recommend enough for 6-7 cups cooked brown rice)
*Emeril’s Essence seasoning can be purchased online or you can make it yourself easily (and for far less money) because he posts the recipe online!
** Emerils Essence seasoning blend contains salt already. I highly recommend using the seasoning first, then tasting for salt and adding a small bit at a time. If you are substituting a different cajun seasoning blend, keep in mind that many of them are extremely salty.
- In a rice cooker, prepare brown rice according to package instructions.
- Season the shrimp with 4 tbsp of the cajun seasoning, seal them in a ziplock bag and let sit in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the sweet potato and zucchini with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are slightly soft. You will not want them done all the way or the vegetables will fall apart in the sauce. When the sweet potatoes and zucchini are done, remove them from the oven and set aside until needed.
- While the vegetable are roasting, in a large, deep sided saute pan, heat up 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Slice the andouille sausage, and sear both sides, which should take about 5 minutes. Remove the andouille sausage to the side with a slotted spoon.
- Add 1 tbsp butter and the shrimp and saute until the shrimp are completely cooked, about 6 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.
- Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, around 7 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Lower the heat to medium, then add 3 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp flour and cook, stirring very frequently, until the flour has a slight color (about 3 minutes). The flour will coat the vegetables already in the pan.
- Add the 2 cans of tomatoes with their juices, and the additional 2 tbsp of cajun seasoning. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently.
- Add the shrimp, sausage, sweet potato, and zucchini (and any juices that are on the plate they were on). At this time, taste the mixture- if you want even more flavor, try adding an additional tbsp of cajun seasoning or more salt. The salt is tougher to control when you are using a pre-made blend, so be sure to add the cajun seasoning first before adding additional salt. Let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In the last 2 minutes, add the frozen okra and bring back to a simmer.
- Serve by spooning the mixture over brown rice, and enjoy!