In my attempt to create more recipes to celebrate holidays and special events (fondue for Twelfth Night, berry sweetheart icebox pies for Valentine’s Day, etc. etc.), I decided to liven up an ordinary weeknight with a little bit of ‘Nawlins spice! The perfect day to do it? Fat Tuesday, of course! I researched a lot of recipes online and found out that most of the Mardis Gras recipes have a combination of vegetables (yay!), beans (yay!), bold spices (yay!) and multiple kinds of meat (yay! but multiple? bleck!) in one dish. No one needs more than one type of meat in a dish, in my humble opinion, so I decided against those recipes and decided to go my own way. I created a vegetarian, vegan (if not adding the chicken) Creole-style jambalaya that’s healthy and hearty without needing TWO kinds of meat to make it delicious! I also used some of the seasoning for some blackened chicken to serve on the side- the perfect spicy and flavorful complement!
Need a perfect recipe for Fat Tuesday without actually feeling fat? This healthy, hearty Jambalaya is the perfect choice to keep you satisfied through all of the Mardis Gras festivities! It’s easy to throw together, and most of the ingredients are things you can open with a can opener or scissors. My kind of recipe! It also makes a TON, so either make it when you’re planning to feed the entire French Quarter, or be prepared to buy a second freezer just so you can store all the leftovers.
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced thinly
- 1½ tbsp minced garlic
- 2 links fully cooked turkey or chicken sausage, sliced (optional- omit for Vegan)
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 can black eyed peas, drained
- 1 can green chilies, drained
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 can sliced peeled tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 8 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 bag frozen collard greens, thawed
- 1 bag frozen stir-fry mix (carrots, peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and green beans)
- 1 bag frozen okra
- 24 oz low sodium vegetable broth
- Creole seasoning (see notes for recipe)
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional)
- Cooked brown rice or quinoa, plain greek yogurt, and additional spices (for serving)
- For Blackened Chicken: spread about ½ tsp Creole seasoning (recipe in "notes") on each side of each chicken breast and set aside to marinate.
- For Jambalaya: In skillet on medium-high heat, cook celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and sausage (if using) until slightly browned- about 5-7 minutes- stirring occasionally. Scape up browned bits from bottom of pan and remove from heat.
- In large stockpot, combine beans, black-eyed peas, chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, stir fry mixture, frozen okra, vegetable broth, and ⅓ cup Creole seasoning (see notes for recipe).
- Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom.
- To cook chicken, heat a frying pan with olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Add chicken to pan and cook until literally "blackened"- about 2 minutes each side.
- Cut into thin strips and make sure the center is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove from heat
- Just before serving stew, stir in collard greens.
- Serve over rice with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and blackened chicken strips.
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2½ tsp paprika
1 tbsp Jerk seasoning (if you have it)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (plus more if you like more heat)
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp dried bay leaf
Add beans, frozen veggies, and Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low for about a half hour while you prepare the rice and chicken (and arrange all your new Mardis Gras beads around your neck :P)
Cook seasoned chicken until blackened- about 2 min each side.
Cut into strips to serve on top of stew or on the side.
Serve stew over a bit of brown rice with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.
Dig in and enjoy Fat Tuesday in only one sense of the word!