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Chicken jambalaya: A quick, tasty and affordable recipe

I’m sitting in Wholefoods in New York, very much in my natural habitat.

I’m surrounded by fresh berries, juicy nectarines, every wholegrain under the sun and a sizeable dose of gluten-free goodies – not healthy, but maybe good for the soul?

There’s a little café with Wi-Fi so I have settled down for a few hours, after nosing around the shelves to see what’s new.

The “functional food” market keeps growing and it’s amazing what’s on offer – mints that help you focus, probiotic chewing gum, cookies that boost breast milk supply.

It used to be herbal teas that cornered that market (sleepy tea, calming tea, smooth move tea, PMS-relief tea …) but we have definitely moved along.

I love the concept of functional food. It endorses the idea that the food we eat should be doing jobs for our body; that food can build us up, make our lives easier (healthier) and take us towards the best version of ourselves.

The only danger is in believing that by taking in a few functional foods, you can outrun a bad diet. If you drink kombucha and stir collagen into your coffee, but snack on junk and skip the vegetables … then I’m talking to you! Otherwise, the concept is sound.

Getting your nutrition right most of the time is what counts. If you rely too heavily on a few wonder products saving the day, then it’s time to focus on the basics. Make sure you’re hydrated, always choose wholegrains, pair your carbs with protein, get your veg in and learn how to cook from scratch. Eating healthy home-cooked meals most days counts for a lot.

We often say, “I don’t have time to cook.” If that’s you, instead try saying, “Cooking isn’t a priority for me right now.”

Because the fact is we do have time, it’s just we often prioritise other things. I’m not judging, those other priorities might be legitimate and unchangeable, but sometimes we can shuffle things to give ourselves more time in the kitchen.

Saying “it’s not a priority for me right now” is a helpful reality check.

(If you really don’t have time – ever or occasionally – then try Miles’ deli for amazingly healthy home-cooked options. I’ve also helped build a recipe archive on their website for when you want recipe inspiration. Check it out!)

Whether you’re an old hand at cooking from scratch or new to the game, you’ll need recipes that are quick, tasty and, these days, affordable.

It’s also helpful to have recipes that you can make in bulk and save or freeze extra portions for healthy lunches and quick dinners. Home cooking doesn’t mean you have to cook every night, after all.

This recipe is a quick and easy jambalaya. It’s chicken-based because seafood doesn’t reheat or freeze so well. The vegetables are also on the cheaper side – peppers, onions and frozen peas.

I would serve it with a green salad on the side, which can be as easy as a big handful of greens straight out of the bag. The sausage adds a fun, fiery kick, but you could replace it with crumbled feta if you like. And if you’re vegan replace the chicken with tofu. Either way, enjoy!

Chicken Jambalaya (serves 4)


2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces

¾ tsp smoked paprika and ¾ tsp cinnamon, divided

2 tbsps light olive oil

2 servings Andouille sausage/chorizo, sliced into rounds

1/2 onion diced

2 stalks celery diced

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced

1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 to 2 cups chicken broth

1 cup brown basmati rice

1 cup frozen peas

Optional garnish: diced avocado tossed in lime juice.


Season the chicken pieces with ½ tsp of smoked paprika, ½ tsp cinnamon and a good crack of salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once heated, add the chicken and sausage to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

Now add in the onion, celery, and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomatoes, the remaining spices (1/4 tsp each), oregano, 1 cup chicken broth and the rice. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the rice has cooked and the liquid has absorbed.

If you need to add more broth, then do. Towards the end (when the rice is pretty tender) stir in the frozen peas, chicken and sausage. Cook until the peas are cooked, the meat is well heated through and the rice is fully cooked.

Give the jambalaya a good stir. Pile into bowls and serve with a big handful of leaves! The avocado/lime on top (optional) is a winner!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published July 08, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated July 07, 2022 at 4:24 pm)

Chicken jambalaya: A quick, tasty and affordable recipe

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