Paleo Jambalaya with Cauliflower Rice – Classic flavors with a grain free twist! This paleo jambalaya uses cauliflower rice in place of regular rice for a veggie-licious spin on our old favorite. (Gluten free, paleo & Whole30 approved!)
I LOVE big flavors, whether it’s punchy berries and lemon in a gorgeous cake, the rich, hearty flavors of a good slow-cooker meal, or bold pasta sauces that keep me coming back for another taste. I was poking through my freezer recently and spotted a few bags of cauliflower rice I needed to use. It’s a little bland on its own, so I started daydreaming about big flavors I could pair with it.
This paleo jambalaya is just that sort of big-flavor recipe I love. It’s got the classic flavors from jambalaya that I love, made with cauliflower rice instead of white rice for a veggie-licious, extra delicious paleo spin on dinner. Make it with just sausage, or add sausage and shrimp. It’s up to you! Here’s what I put in mine…
Jambalaya is a Louisiana classic. It’s typically made from rice mixed with meat and vegetables. The meat in jambalaya almost always includes sausage of some kind, along with pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp.
After browning and cooking the meat, you add the veggies. The veggie mixture always includes the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking (onion, celery, bell pepper), and can also include other veggies like tomatoes, spicy chilis, garlic, and even occasionally okra.
Once the veggies have been cooked, you add rice, seasonings, and then broth and cook until the rice is cooked through. We’re breaking with tradition a bit today because we’re making paleo jambalaya, which is grain (therefore, rice) free.
What’s in Paleo Jambalaya?
ANDOUILLE OR KIELBASA SAUSAGE. Andouille is more traditional than kielbasa, but it *is* pretty spicy. If you have a low spice tolerance or are serving kids who do, I recommend going the kielbasa route.
SHRIMP. Technically optional, but I love to add it when I can. I only use half a pound of shrimp (thawed from frozen is fine!), but it feels a little more like traditional jambalaya when I include them.
THE TRINITY. The Cajun “holy trinity” is a mixture of onion, celery, and bell peppers. They provide an amazing base of flavor that’s different from the mirepoix in other cuisines.
DICED TOMATOES. I use canned tomatoes for ease, and prefer fire-roasted tomatoes, if you can find them. There’s no spice to them, they’ve simply been roasted first, so the flavor feels a bit more developed and less “tinny” than other canned tomatoes.
CAJUN SEASONING. I go the easy route by choosing a store-bought blend (like this or this), but you can absolutely make your own. Cajun seasoning tends to include chili powder, cayenne, paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper and salt.
CAULIFLOWER RICE. Here’s our grain free substitute! I most often use frozen cauliflower rice (sometimes labeled “riced cauliflower”). It’s easy to keep on hand and works great! Need to make your own? Here’s how.
BROTH. You can use whatever you like–veggie and chicken are my two favorites. You won’t need as much for paleo jambalaya as you do for traditional jambalaya, since cauliflower rice won’t absorb it like regular rice does.
GARNISHES. Optional, but I love ’em! I finish my paleo jambalaya with a sprinkle of sliced green onions and chopped herbs, like parsley, or (non-traditional) cilantro. The pretty pop of green looks great, and I love the light, fresh flavor they bring to the deeper, more rich flavors of jambalaya.
FAQ + Tips for Perfect Paleo Jambalaya
I’m not paleo. Can I make it with regular rice? Unfortunately, the ratios won’t be the same. Rice will absorb liquid, where cauliflower rice really won’t. I’d recommend another recipe if you want a traditional jambalaya with rice.
Feel free to use frozen! I love using frozen cauliflower rice. It’s super convenient to have a bag in my freezer at all times, and it saves me a step of prep. Plus, the pre-grated ones seem to have a more consistent texture than when I’ve made it myself. If it fits your budget, I recommend buying pre-made. Otherwise, you can make it yourself.
Make it more or less spicy. You can control the heat a bit by monitoring your ingredients. For less heat, use kielbasa instead of Andouille sausage, and start with 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning instead of 3-4. For more heat, use Andouille, 3-4 tsp Cajun seasoning, and consider using diced tomatoes with green chiles for even more kick!
Whole30 notes. If you’re making this for Whole30, double check your sausage, tomatoes, broth, and seasoning for compliant ingredients.