There are many stories about where jambalaya comes from. The dish—and its name—probably came about because of the concentration of many cultures in New Orleans centuries ago, says food writer Bethany Moncel. Jambalaya is similar to Spanish paella, which contains meat, fish and rice. Influences from French, African and Caribbean cooking styles and ingredients are apparent in the variety of recipes across Louisiana and beyond.
Today’s version keeps jambalaya’s unique flavor without meat, fish or shellfish. Like traditional Creole (“red”) versions, this recipe incorporates tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. Tomatoes include high concentrations of the antioxidant lycopene, according to the George Mateljan Foundation. Lycopene can help decrease total cholesterol, decrease LDL cholesterol and decrease triglyceride levels. Tomatoes also contain alpha-tomatine, a phytonutrient that some studies indicate may inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells.
Per serving: 110 calories, 3.4 grams of fat, 576.5 mgs of sodium
Serves: 6. Serving size: 6 oz.
2 tbsp., vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ small green chili, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp., paprika
1 tsp., garlic powder
1 tsp., cayenne pepper
½ tsp., dried thyme
½ tsp., dried oregano
1 tsp., salt
1 tsp., freshly ground pepper
1 tsp., vegan Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
¾ cup long grain rice
3 cups vegetable broth
- Place the oil in a large, high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and celery. Cook for about five minutes, until they become translucent but not brown.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the rice and broth. Let everything cook for about one minute to release some of the tomato juices.
- Add the rice and slowly pour in the broth. Reduce the heat to medium and let the dish cook until the rice absorbs all the liquid. It should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Photo and adapted recipe, courtesy of Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap, 2014, Creative Commons 4.0 license.