Healthy Jambalaya Recipe

This healthy jambalaya recipe is a wonderfully cleaned-up version of this southern favorite.

I looked at many, many Jambalaya recipes before I finally formulated this one. What I found was that everyone and their mother has their own version of this dish. There really is no “typical” way of making Jambalaya. It’s one of those “one-pot wonders” that seems to turn out great no matter what you throw into it.

A close up shot of this Clean Eating Jambalaya in a white bowl. You see a bit of the meat and a lot of the rice.

What I also found out, was that most people who eat Jambalaya or grew up with it, have a very strong opinion about how it should be prepared. If it’s not made the way they are used to, then it’s just not good Jambalaya.

So I think you can understand the pressure I was under with this recipe and why I did so much research! One of the things I was concerned about was substituting brown rice for the typical white.  White rice imparts a much different flavor from brown rice. So I knew this dish had to be packed with some hefty flavor in order to compete.

Now I’m not claiming that this Jambalaya is better tasting than your mother’s, your sisters, or your second cousin on your father’s uncle’s side. But I am going to say that it’s a recipe I’m rather proud to share with you.

It’s the first time I’ve ever made Jambalaya (or eaten it for that matter – California girl, remember?), and I can now understand what all the fuss is about.

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Healthy Jambalaya Recipe Card

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

Adapted from a recipe from AllRecipes which is no longer on their site.

Clean Eating Jambalaya Recipe

Healthy Jambalaya

This delicious southern classic gets a whole-food upgrade!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 488kcal


  • 2 lb. clean sausage (sliced – you can sub with shrimp or extra chicken if you can’t find clean sausage)
  • 2 lb. chicken breast (raw – cut into small pieces about 1/2 inch cubed)
  • 4 cups red onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (chopped)
  • 3 cups green bell peppers (chopped)
  • 3 cups red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3 cups celery stalks (sliced thin)
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 cups brown rice (dry)
  • 3 cups chicken broth ( low sodium is best – keep some extra on reserve just in case you need extra during cooking.)


  • In a large pot, sauté the onions, bell peppers and celery in the olive oil.
  • Add the chicken and sausage to the pot and cook for about 3-5 minutes, just to give it a head start.
  • Add everything else, and cook over medium heat until the rice is cooked through (about an hour, give or take). Watch the post as time goes on. You may need to add some extra broth if things get too dry. Stir often to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 937mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3.5mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

5 from 1 vote

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  1. What is clean sausage? Thanks!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Dawn – Any sausage that has no added sugar in any form and all it’s ingredients are ingredients you recognize as something you would cook with in your own kitchen.

  2. I’m soooo excited to try this recipe! I’m a California girl as well and so wasn’t raised on this style of food but have been really wanting to try it. Thanks for the hard work and research to clean it up. Looking forward to it!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      CiCi – Wonderful! It’ll be nice to see how another California girl likes it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ann Hines says:

    A great place to pick up clean sausage is your local butcher who will grind it fresh for you.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ann – Good to know! Thank you!

  4. I’ve been making my own clean Jambalaya for about a year and I can vouch that once you nail down your recipe the way you like it, it will become one of your favorite comfort foods. The biggest hurdle I found was finding the right sausage. Technically, it should be andouille, but finding something clean that was even remotely similar was not easy. Finally my grocer started carrying Chicken & Turkey Andouille Sausage by Applegate Organics. Very good, and not over the top spicy like some andouille can be. I think it does have a bit of sugar but the amount is extremely minimal. Besides, that added with the chicken (plus shrimp if you add that like I do), and the rice, you’re really not going to end up with a lot of it per serving. Looking forward to trying your recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cynthia – Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it! I think the next time I make it, I’ll stick to shrimp, just to save on some of the fat content. But maybe with shrimp it’s a wash. Not sure. Enjoy the recipe!

  5. Tiffany, do you think you could give some pointers about making this in a slow cooker? I am assuming that it will require less liquid? As a girl from Louisiana who grew up on southern comfort food, I can’t wait to try this clean version!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      McCaa – No, I wouldn’t use any less liquid. If anything, you may need a little extra. I would use the recipe as is and keep a little extra broth on hand just in case. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. Do you cook the chicken before adding it to the pot of sauteed veggies?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sheila – I put it in raw, which is why it goes into the pot first – to give it a head start. I find that when the pieces are cut that small, they tend to cook pretty quickly.

  7. I am cooking this in the crock pot right now…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jaren – Let me know how it turns out!

  8. It was really good!I ended up adding an extra cup of broth (I had to leave it unattended all afternoon) and it was a little soupy. Once I added the rice it thickened up. I would suggest, if cooking in a crockpot add an extra half cup of broth.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jaren – Great! Thanks for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Christine says:

    I made this the other night for a crowd (so I had to use two pots). I had to modify it as I was struggling to find clean sausage, so mine was only “kind of clean” – I cooked up some lean ground turkey and threw that in (good) along with some turkey and sundried tomato sausage (lean but not clean) and then my budget was running out of room to feed all these people so there is a length of kielbasa in there too (BAD). That said, the kielbasa was GOOD. I used a lot of extra broth too – thought it was going to take forever for that rice! It went over very well. It was a mild jambalaya given my meat choices, so some of the guys added hot sauce – I think finding the right sausage is the key! I never thought to ask my butcher… BRILLIANT – will do that next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Christine – Bravo for thinking on your feet! It’s not always easy to feed a big crowd! Sounds like it went well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Delish! One serving is very filling and you can’t beat the calorie and protein content. Keeps you full for a long time. It’s food you can feel good about eating!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Aimee – Yay!!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! And yes, it’s very filling stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Leea Browning says:

    This stuff is just awesome! I used sausage that I got at the health food store so absolutely no unnecessary ingredients and chicken. No thyme since I didn’t have any. But this stuff was just so good!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leea – Wonderful!! Thank you for the feedback, so happy you enjoyed it!

  12. graciouspantry says:

    LR – Let me know how you like it!

    1. It turned out great and was a hit with the family too. Will be making it again!

      1. graciouspantry says:

        LR – Fantastic!

  13. Rebecca Hannaford says:

    This is awesome! I am eating it now. Soooooo perfect!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Rebecca – Awesome!!! I always worry about that recipe just a bit because I know some folks are so particular about their Jambalaya!

  14. graciouspantry says:

    Avonelle – If all you want to do is provide a link, simply link to the page on my blog. If you want to actually post the recipe, please follow the directions found in the copyright section of my blog. Thanks!

  15. This was amazing! I could eat it every night! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ we are new to eating clean and this wowed my husband ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. graciouspantry says:

      How awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Emily Strange says:

    I am making this tonight! My husband has an aversion to “healthy” food but as a weigh lifter and a woman, healthy is a must! I’m really excited!

  17. graciouspantry says:

    You could try it, but I would cook everything else longer before you add the rice. Or better yet, cook it separately and just stir it in after everything else has cooked.

  18. graciouspantry says:

    And remember, you’d have to adjust the liquid content as well to accommodate.

  19. I just made this and it came out awesome! I feel like a real chef! I must admit, it wasn’t clean though. I used this sausage that my mother-in-law gave to us for the holidays. I figured I would disguise it in all the other good stuff and make it taste better. I used hickory smoked sausage, cajun sausage and shrimp. I added the shrimp in the last 15 so they didn’t overcook. DELISH!