Spicy Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage

Our take on jambalaya combines my favorite parts of the Cajun dish – soulful spices and aromatic holy trinity – with an extra punch using spicy Italian sausage instead of andouille.

Why it works

We separately brown the meat and vegetables for extra flavor. Alex learned this technique from his parents who learned it from Julia Child.

Spicy Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage

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This Spicy Jambalaya is inspired by Nolas, my favorite restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. Our recipe is a spicy take on the traditional jambalaya thanks to the Italian sausage substitution. This dish contains sausage, shrimp, and chicken.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: batch-cooking, carbs, comfort, family-friendly, freezer-friendly, party, spicy
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 1248kcal
Author: Anna Rider


Holy Trinity & Garlic

  • 2 Onion
  • 4 Bell Peppers, Typically green peppers are used but I only had red peppers from the CSA box
  • 8 ribs Celery
  • 8 cloves Garlic


  • 4 lb. Chicken , We prefer drumsticks but you can substitute with chicken thighs or breast.
  • 2 lb. Sausages, Spicy Italian is my preferred sausage but you can substitute back the traditional andouille sausage.
  • 1.5 lb. Shrimp, Shelled, deveined, and defrosted.

Cajun Seasoning

  • 3 teaspoons Thyme, Dried
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano, Dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne , Ground. To taste, optional
  • 4 Bay leaves, Dried

Other Jambalaya Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Tomatoes, 28 oz. Peeled, whole
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Rice , I prefer long grain
  • 1 Thai Chili, Optional, left over from the Thai Curry recipe.
  • 12 sprigs Green Onion


  • Collect all ingredients for jambalaya.

Holy Trinity Preparation

  • Chop the bell peppers in half. Discard the seeds.
  • Chop the bell peppers into 1 inch (2.5 cm) large strips.
  • Peel the outer layer of the onion and discard. Chop the onion into quarters.
  • Chop the celery into 1 inch (2.5 cm) sections.
  • Add the chopped bell peppers, onions, and celery into a food processor.
  • Chop the holy trinity until diced.

Browning The Meat

  • Heat a frying pan on medium high with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Place the chicken drumsticks in the hot frying pan.
  • Turn to brown on all sides of the chicken.
  • Remove from pan when chicken is golden brown on the outside, about 7 minutes. The chicken will not be fully cooked on the inside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the same frying pan. Add the Italian sausage. Brown the sausage until golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Chop the sausage into half-inch (1 cm) slices. Set the chicken and sausage aside.

Prepare The Tomato & Garlic

  • Add the canned tomatoes to the food processor. Blend until the tomatoes are a chunky puree consistency.
  • Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices.

Cooking The Jambalaya

  • Use a giant pot, the biggest you own. Heat 2 tablespoon of canola oil on medium high heat. Add the holy trinity (chopped bell peppers, onions, and celery mix).
  • Cook the holy trinity mix until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic slices to the holy trinity vegetables. Stir to combine, Allow to cook together for 5 minutes until golden brown.
  • Add the drippings from the frying pan that browned the meat to the holy trinity and garlic mixture.
  • Add the tomato puree. Stir to combine.
  • Optional: add in a Thai chili if you have any leftover from the Thai curry recipe.
  • Add the spices thyme, oregano, cayenne, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped sausage.
  • Add the browned chicken drumsticks.
  • Pour in the chicken broth. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Pierce one drumstick to check the inside is no longer red.
  • Rinse the rice with cold water to wash. Then add rice directly into the pot.
  • Stir the rice and cover with lid. Simmer the jambalaya for about 30 minutes until the rice is softened.
  • Meanwhile, wash and chop the green onion into 1/4 inch (2/3 cm) slices.
  • When the jambalaya is cooked, the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice will be cooked through and tender.
  • Stir in the shrimp. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent. 
  • Season with extra salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Sprinkle the green onion on top of the dish to serve.
  • Enjoy your spicy jambalaya!



  • I referenced Daniel Gritzer’s Jambalaya recipe at Serious Eats for guidance on the method of cooking jambalaya. I re-ordered the steps to make the recipe easier to cook.
  • I followed Ali’s Jambalaya recipe at Gimme Some Oven to reference her spice quantities. Then I adjusted my recipe based on my personal taste. 
  • I also followed Kimberly’s Jambalaya recipe at Daring Gourmet for referencing her spice quantities. 
  • This Spicy Jambalaya is inspired by Nolas, my favorite restaurant in downtown Palo Alto.
    This recipe calls for drumsticks which give the stew extra flavor that chicken breast lacks. 
    Serve it with a Strawberry Ginger Mojito just like at Nolas!


Calories: 1248kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 83g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 504mg | Sodium: 2318mg | Potassium: 1459mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2505IU | Vitamin C: 102.6mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 6.7mg
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About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on GarlicDelight.com with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

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