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Having some Louisiana roots, Cajun Gumbalaya (also spelled gumbolaya) is a family favorite around here. It combines the flavors of gumbo and jambalaya for an intensely flavorful recipe. As they say: “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll!).
What Is Gumbalaya?
I’ve also always been somewhat of a rule-breaker, so while gumbo and jambalaya are both excellent dishes in their own right, I wanted to find a way to combine them in one pan. Voila, Gumbalaya!
Certainly, there is a place for the traditional recipes, but this is my go-to fast version for busy nights. It has all the flavor but is much quicker and easier to make and doesn’t have a flour-based roux.
Fast & Easy Cajun Gumbayala
Whenever possible, I try to use up whatever I have in the fridge or freezer. It helps me avoid food waste and it saves me money. I tend to put this recipe near the end of the week in my meal plan since it’s so versatile.
Some easy substitutions you can make that will still have that Cajun flavor you crave:
- Bell peppers – Use green peppers or whatever color you have on hand. The yellow and oranges are sweeter but won’t change the flavor.
- Cauliflower rice – Rice your cauliflower to keep it keto or low-carb gumbalaya, or you can use white rice. I’ve even used quinoa or brown if I have some leftover I need to use up but they do change the flavor a little.
- Kielbasa – You can use andouille sausage or smoked sausage depending on what you have on hand.
- Red beans – For extra protein, separately pressure cook some red beans and add them for the last 15 minutes to reheat. I tend to batch cook beans and freeze them so they’re easy to throw into this recipe.
- Celery – Since it’s one of the veggies that lasts a long time in the fridge, I like to slice and use it up in this recipe.
- Chicken stock – Even though the diced tomatoes add some liquid, you can add a cup or two of broth or stock to add a collagen boost without making it too soupy.
- Spices – I’m notorious for adding in extra garlic cloves… but you really can’t go wrong with this recipe. Sometimes I throw in a pinch of cayenne pepper, a couple of bay leaves or a dash of red pepper flakes. If you have creole seasoning, put a ½ teaspoon of it in. The possibilities are delicious.
- Crushed tomatoes – It won’t drastically change the texture if you swap diced tomatoes for crushed tomatoes.
Here’s my un-traditional take on this traditional New Orleans recipe.
Cajun Gumbolaya Recipe
- 1 lb chicken (diced)
- 1 lb sausage (sliced)
- 1 lb shrimp (peeled with tails removed, optional)
- 2 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 3 bell peppers
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp oregano
- 2 bags frozen cauliflower (thawed)
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 bag frozen okra (thawed)
- hot sauce (optional)
- In a large skillet, cook the diced chicken and sliced sausage in coconut or olive oil until browned.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- While the meat is cooking, dice the bell peppers and onion and mince the garlic.
- Sauté the diced bell peppers and onions in the skillet until soft, adding the minced garlic in the last minute or two.
- Season with the spices listed or as desired.
- While the bell peppers, onions, and garlic are cooking, put the cauliflower into the food processor and pulse until it is in small pieces like rice. You can also chop with a knife or hand or box grater, though this takes longer.
- When the onion mix is done softening, add the can of diced tomatoes and the okra.
- Add the chicken, sausage, shrimp, and cauliflower and simmer another 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and shrimp is cooked. Alternatively, you can cook the cauliflower separately in some butter in another skillet and serve the gumbo over it.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
What’s your favorite Cajun dish? Have you tried Cajun Gumbalaya yet?
Discussion (16 Comments)
How much seasoning (teaspoon, tablespoon) should I put of each? Should I put the seasoning just on the onions, peppers, okra and tomatoes or the meat and shrimp as well?
Wow! This is a LOT of food! Get out your biggest Wok for this one!
While this sounds very good and I can’t wait to try this, it by no means is Cajun.
I am Cajun from pecan island la. This dish is Creole not Cajun. Anything with cooked tomatoes in it is not Cajun, heck even spaghetti sauce is more roux then tomatoes.
That being said can’t wait to taste this very Creole treat.
I always use cast iron when I cook tomato based stuff. I heard the acidic tomatoes help leach iron from the skillet and infuse it into the food…
Haven’t ever noticed it tasting different. But that may be because I grew up with a mom who used cast iron for cooking and I’m used to it?
Love, love, love cajun food, so I’ll try this for supper tomorrow!
I use the shrimp shells cooked in just enough water to cover them for 15-20 min., to make extra tasty sauce. Add with canned tomatoes. DELICIOUS! Adds depth to the recipe.
Wow! What a stick-to-your-bones meal this is! Maybe I was a bit tired from watching my two grandchildren, but I totally missed step 5’s “can of diced onions.” If I’d caught the “can” thing I might’ve realized you meant, can of diced tomatoes (and tomato paste there?). My husband is really not a fan of okra but if he hadn’t seen it, he said he wouldn’t have been able to distinguish it from all the other flavors in the dish…a good thing. I am enjoying your meal plan, pre buying and having all ingredients on hand. It’s almost like going to a different restaurant every night! Thanks for all you do!
Fantastic! Made this tonight. Thank you for a wonderful and fun recipe 🙂 (I did add ~1 cup ‘better than bouillon’ broth…seemed to need a little extra liquid during simmering).
How many servings is this for?
Sounds Great! But do you supply the nutritional info? I am a weight watchers member and am always looking for healthy low-point recipes.
glad to see this recipe! living in New Orleans, i’ve been really bummed about the prospect of giving up gumbo and jambalaya…i’ll have to try it with cauliflower and see how it works. thanks! 🙂