Low Carb Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya
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It’s been a long year folks, I can’t imagine this is how anyone thought things would go. Summer has come and gone, yet work, school, and our busy lives all remain. It just feels like a perfect time for a one pot low carb meal.
What better to fit the bill, than my low carb cauliflower rice jambalaya recipe.
I have been saving this one for the right occasion. It’s a flavour packed pick-me- up kind of recipe perfect for shaking up your dinner routine. With summer behind us and winter ahead of us, there is nothing quite like a big pot of low carb creole style jambalaya, to brighten your day and “laissez les bon temps rouler!”
What Is Jambalaya?
For anyone unfamiliar with Jambalaya, well, I don’t want to sound dramatic, but your world is about to change, because you are about to be introduced to the spiced, meat filled, one pot meal that is beloved the world over.
Jambalaya comes in a few different varieties, But at it’s core, Jambalaya is a savoury one pot rice based dish, loaded with different meats like chicken, sausage, and seafood, all cooked together in a spiced gravy.
It’s actually kind of difficult to describe, or maybe it’s just me. Either way a picture is worth a thousand bites right so direct your peepers down below and let your eye’s tell you what it is.
Believed to have it’s origins in New Orleans Louisiana, Jambalaya is said to be a dish made out of necessity and ingredient availability. Based on the Spanish Paella, jambalaya is much like the city it’s from in that it borrows influence from all over the globe.
Creole Jambalaya vs. Cajun Jambalaya
There are many styles of jambalaya out there, two of the primary ones being Cajun and Creole style jambalaya.
The primary distinction between the two style being the presence of tomatoes which are found in a creole style jambalaya AKA. “red” jambalaya.
This low carb cauliflower rice jambalaya more closely resembles a creole, red jambalaya.
What Is In Low Carb Jambalaya?
This cauliflower rice jambalaya contains:
- Bacon or Dry cured sausage
- Green Pepper
- Chorizo Sausage
- Creole/Cajun Seasoning
- Fresh Jalapeno Pepper
- Canned Tomatoes
- Riced Cauliflower
- Fresh Parsley
- Green Onion
- Salt and Pepper
What Is In Creole Jambalaya Seasoning
Creole seasoning is a very simple mix of spices commonly utilized in creole and sometimes Cajun cooking. You can make your own with stuff you probably already have at home, or ingredients easily found at the grocery store.
Generally this spice mix is a blend of
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Granulated Garlic
- Dehydrated onion flakes
Creole Seasoning Alternatives
Lately I have been making my own low carb seasonings, but to be honest, store bought Cajun seasoning, is very good, if not better just because of the convenience.
It’s inexpensive, it quick, and can be used for nearly anything, even as just solo seasoning for chicken, it would take quite the palette to single out whether a store bought seasoning or a homemade one was used.
Another shortcut for making this seasoning is to use store bought Italian seasoning, which is a pretty standard mix of dried herbs. Use that instead of the all the dried herbs listed above.
How To Make Low Carb Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya
A well built jambalaya will always start with a well built mirepoix, known in Cajun and Creole cuisine as “the holy trinity”. It is the foundation of this dish.
Building the Mirepoix “The Holy Trinity”
Start with the traditional members of the holy trinity and build from there. Onions, green pepper, and celery. Our additions will be carrots, garlic, and green onion. Feel free to experiment here with different flavours.
Dice or grate all the ingredients nice and small. I like a little bit of a chunky mirepoix as I feel it improves the texture and flavours of the Jambalaya, so I hand chop the vegetables. You could however use a cheese grater or shred it with a food processor. Don’t shred it too fine though, it should not be a paste.
Traditionally these ingredients would be fried in butter until caramelized. I have found that rendering off some bacon, or fatty dry cured sausage like chorizo adds an additional layer of flavour to the Jambalaya, a nice underlying smokiness.
Even better, there should not be any additional cooking oil needed for this jambalaya recipe. All that is needed is what renders from the meats during cooking.
Also, it’s a fourth meat, and if there is one thing I know, it’s that four meats is better than three.
Add the bacon to a cold pot or pan and turn up the heat to medium. As the pot heats up the fat will begin to release from the bacon at which point, add the chopped ingredients for the mirepoix.
Fry the mirepoix stirring occasionally to prevent burning until the vegetables have started to brown and break down. Could be 15 minutes or more.
Cooking The Meats
Once the mirepoix has started to brown and caramelize, add the Cajun/Creole seasoning and fry for and additional 1-2 minutes to cook the spices. Next add the chunks of chopped chicken and sausage, continuing to fry for 5-10 minutes until the meat has some colour.
Starting The Gravy
Now add 14 oz of canned tomatoes. Use any type of canned tomatoes here, but I like to use a chunkier cut like diced, stewed whole tomatoes, or slices half tomatoes. They are going to cook for a while so they will break apart.
Cover with a lid and simmer over med-low heat for 20-30 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the tomatoes have become tender.
Taste the sauce for seasoning but careful it will be hot! Don’t worry it if seems like there is not much moisture, the cauliflower rice has plenty of its own to add.
Adding The Rice
Add riced cauliflower to the pot, and stir to coat the rice in the jambalaya gravy. Again it may look like there is way too much cauliflower and not enough gravy, it’s all good. Once the cauliflower starts to cook, the water will release into the pot and it will be perfect.
Salt well again to adjust for the unseasoned cauliflower. Cover and simmer/steam over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes. At this point the rice should be much more tender but not quite finished, still a little too al-dente.
Add the raw shrimp and cover, steaming for 8-10 minutes until the shrimp has cooked. Top with fresh greens like parsley, cilantro, celery greens, green onion, and serve.
Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya Recipe and Nutrition
Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp, Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya
- Cutting Board & Knife
- Large Pot
Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya
- 5 slices bacon sliced
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1 medium carrot finely diced
- 1 medium green pepper finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1 pound chicken thighs bonless, skinnless, cubed
- 4 links chorizo sausage sliced
- 2 tablespoons creole seasoning Ingredients Below
- 1 large jalapeno pepper diced
- 14 oz canned tomatoes
- 1 large cauliflower riced
- 30 jumbo shrimp peeled, cleaned, tails removed
- 1 stalk Green Onion sliced
- Parsley for garnish
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Low Carb Creole Jambalaya Seasoning (equal parts)
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Oregano dried
- Basil dried
- Thyme dried
- Granulated Garlic
- Onion Flakes
- Slice raw bacon into small pieces and add to a cold pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and begin to render the bacon to release the fat which will be used for frying the mirepoix.
- Finely dice or grate the onion, celery, green pepper, carrots, and garlic for the mirepoix and add the the pot with the rendered bacon fat to caramelize, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Fry for 10-15 minutes, or until the mirepoix has started to caramelize and brown.
- At this point, add in the creole seasoning and fry for 1-2 minutes to cook off and toast the spices. Next add in the chunks of chicken, and the raw sausage. Continue to fry until the meat starts to brown. Stir and add small amount of water as necessary to prevent burning.
- Once the meat has started to brown, add the canned tomatoes, and chopped jalapeno peppers. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes to soften the tomatoes and tenderize the meat.
- Season to taste and add in the riced cauliflower. Combine well and cover for an additional 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower in almost tender and soft. Stir occasionally to prevent burning but keep the lid on to steam the cauliflower.
- Add the raw shrimp and return the lid, steaming the jambalaya for 8-10 minute just to cook the shrimp, and finish cooking the cauliflower. Serve topped with fresh green onion and parsley.
- The bacon can be replaced with a fatty dry cured sausage, or this step can be skipped all together in place of cooking oil or butter.
- Proteins: Use your favourite meats, fish, and seafood. Jambalaya works with all types!
- In place of homemade creole seasoning, store bought Creole/Cajun seasoning can be used
- Any type of canned tomatoes can be used. Check labels for a lower sugar tomato when buying.
Make Ahead Tips, Leftover, and Meal Prep
Cauliflower rice jambalaya makes an excellent low carb meal prep and leftovers as the flavours tend to improve as it is sitting in the fridge. Because this is a one pot meal, you just need a big pot to make a big batch for the week.
Store any leftovers sealed in the fridge, and reheat as you would anything else.
Time To Dive In
I really hope that you enjoying sharing this cauliflower rice jambalaya recipe with your family as much as I have over the years.
This low carb one pot meal is the same recipe I used to follow when I made traditional creole jambalaya, and I am delighted that I can bring these bold flavours to your family dinner table.
If you liked this recipe and want to make sure you never miss out on my other creations, make sure you join the gang right now!