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A Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Jambalaya Recipe

It might be low in calories and carbs, but it's still heavy on all the classic flavors in this Creole dish.
A Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Jambalaya RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

No city or region in America lays claim to a richer, more influential lineup of culinary creations than New Orleans and the surrounding Creole country. Gumbo, étouffée, beignets, po’ boys—all are part of Louisiana’s incomparable culinary heritage. Is your mouth watering yet?  No dish, though, is more famous than jambalaya, the rice-based hodgepodge of meat, seafood, and vegetables, not unlike the Spanish paella. By decreasing the rice ratio (or even swapping out with quinoa for a gluten-free alternative) and increasing the produce and protein, this jambalaya recipe cuts the calories and carbs dramatically. Don’t worry though: it still has enough soul (and flavor) to satisfy the most discerning Creole critics.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 15 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 1,070 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

1 tsp olive or canola oil
1 cup diced turkey kielbasa
1 medium onion, diced
1  medium green bell pepper, diced
2  cloves garlic, minced
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
1 cup long-grain rice (for a gluten-free option, swap out for quinoa)
2 1⁄4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
8 oz medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and black pepper to taste
Frank’s Red Hot, Tabasco, or other hot sauce
Chopped scallions (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the kielbasa and cook for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Push the vegetables and kielbasa to the perimeter, making a well in the center of the pan. Add the chicken and sauté until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the rice, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, cayenne, and bay leaves.
  6. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 17 minutes, until nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
  7. Uncover, add the shrimp, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is tender and the shrimp is cooked through.
  8. Discard the bay leaves.
  9. Season with salt, black pepper, and hot sauce and garnish with the scallions, if using.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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