Jambalaya, the popular cajun stew, lends itself perfectly to low carb or keto modifications without losing any of its deep, robust flavor. The rice is really the only ingredient in this popular dish that prevents it from being a low carb jambalaya. Using cauliflower rice solves that problem, making a stew that can be relished by any food critic, regardless of dietary lifestyle.
How to Make Low Carb Jambalaya Sing with Flavor
Jambalaya is a popular Louisiana-origin dish of Spanish, West African and French influence, consisting mainly of meat (usually smoked sausage), seafood (usually shrimp), and vegetables mixed with rice.
As a low carb diet coach, I am on a constant quest to offer people alternative ideas for defining “comfort food”. Jambalaya really works as a comfort food. It has a creamy risotto-like texture, robust flavors and can be easily modified to individual tastes. It’s not your bone broth with a tin of sardines, that’s for sure.
The mouthwatering flavors from low carb jambalaya start with a classic sofrito. Sofrito is a base made of finely diced vegetables sautéed in oil until fragrant, and is commonly used in Spanish, Italian, and Latin American cooking.
In Cajun cooking, sofrito is generally made up of finely diced onion, celery, and sweet bell peppers. The vegetables are sautéed with some olive oil until tender and aromatic, and then combined with cajun spices and perhaps herbs. This sofrito melts into the the rest of the jambalaya ingredients, enhancing the flavor and also providing the creamy texture.
Modifications to Jambalaya to fit Differing Lifestyles
Like many stews or soups, low carb Jambalaya can be easily modifed. If you are vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and exclude the meat.
If you hate seafood, include chicken and sausage but leave out the shrimp. There isn’t any dairy or gluten if that is a sensitive area for you.
Just be sure to include the sofrito and the cajun spices as the base and let your creativity and tastes range from there!
Low Carb Jambalaya
- 3 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 12 oz cauliflower rice
- 3 tsp HeathGlen spice blend (I used Jamaican jerk) divided
- 1 onion chopped or diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cups bell peppers diced and different colors
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp paprika
- 12 oz andouille sausage sliced into coins
- 28 oz diced tomatoes Rotel tomatoes with chile peppers
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 12 oz shrimp medium, frozen
- Heat over to 375 degrees F. Empty bag of cauliflower rice onto a sheet pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp Cajun spice. Mix together with your hands and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven after 10 min. and set aside.
- In a dutch oven or large pot, saute the chopped onion in remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes over med-high heat (until it starts to become translucent). Add the chopped celery and peppers to the pot and saute everything together for another 5-7 minutes until soft and thoroughly mixed together (this is the sofrito).
- Add the garlic, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp Jamaican Jerk seasoning (or seasoning of your choice) to the pot of sofrito and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add the sausage coins to the pot for 2-4 minutes to cook through. Then add the tomatoes and the chicken broth and heat all the way through, stirring everything together as it cooks. If you want the stew to be more of a soup, add additional chicken broth.
- Add the shrimp and cauliflower, cover the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is no longer pink.
- Serve in large bowls with a plate to discard the shrimp tails.
DIY Cajun Spice for Low Carb Jambalaya
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder.
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or oregano)
- 2 tablespoons paprika.
- 2 tablespoons salt.
- 1 tablespoon black pepper.
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper.
- 1 tablespoon onion powder.