This healthy take on the classic New Orleans dish will excite your taste buds and help slim your waistline all at the same time.
Just because Mardi Gras is over, doesn’t mean that those of us not living in New Orleans can’t still enjoy the traditional cuisine. That means there’s no need to stop making beignets, crawfish, gumbo or muffulettas.
New Orleans cuisine is full of vibrant colors, flavors and exquisite aromas. This robust flavor usually comes with butter, sugar, cream and all that other “good stuff.” However, cooking flavorfully doesn’t need to mean using unhealthy ingredients. With a few simple tweaks to classic recipes, you can transform your favorite dishes into healthier versions of themselves.
Here are some tips to make your recipes healthier:
- Don’t use butter, use olive oil. If your recipe calls for sautéing vegetables or meats in butter, replace that with olive oil, which contains good-for-you fats.
- Try Greek yogurt instead of cream. Greek yogurt not only contains fewer calories and less fat than cream, it packs a hearty protein punch.
- Use spices to add flavor. Flavor doesn’t need to come from butter or sugar. Add extra herbs and spices to enhance the natural flavors in the vegetables and proteins that you’re cooking.
- Add lemon juice. If you want to give your dish an extra zing, freshly squeezed lemon juice can add that needed kick. Plus, lemon juice aids in digestion and metabolic function.
- Swap regular pasta and rice for spiralized vegetables. By using a spiralizer to turn vegetables into noodles and then rice, you can avoid extra calories, carbs, fat and eat cleaner with less processing.
In this recipe, we are replacing white rice with sweet potato rice in a spicy twist on a New Orleans favorite: jambalaya.
By using sweet potato rice, we receive the taste and health benefits of the vegetable. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and potassium as well as a great source of iron and vitamins D and C. Plus, the natural sugars that release from the sweet potato while cooking make this jambalaya extra special.
Aside from the added sweetness and nutrients from the sweet potato, we’re using spicy chorizo instead of the classic andouille sausage. The spiciness from the chorizo cooks in with the chicken at first and sets the stage for the vegetables and shrimp.
This jambalaya is jam-packed with protein, veggies and Cajun flavors. This is a healthy, comforting dish that’s easy to make and stores well in the refrigerator. To heat up, simply add it back to a saucepan and stir until it’s hot.
Spicy chorizo jambalaya with sweet potato rice recipe
- 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks (about 1-1/2 inches)
- 1-2 links spicy chorizo
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 3/4 cup diced white onion
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 3/4 cup diced green peppers
- 1 heaping cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 8 medium shrimp, defrosted, peeled, deveined
- 2 large (300g+) sweet potato, peeled, spiralized
- Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add in the chicken and sausage and season with the Cajun spice. Let cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- While cooking, place the sweet potato noodles in a food processor and pulse until made into rice-like bits. Set aside.
- Then, add the onions, mushrooms, green peppers, celery and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and then add in the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire, oregano and season generously with salt and pepper. Let cook for 10 minutes, covered. Then, add in the shrimp, 1/2 cup of chicken broth and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add in the sweet potato rice and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- When done, spoon into bowls and enjoy.