Italian Festa Jambalaya

I’m not going to pretend that I  know what goes into authentic jambalaya.

I’m a New England kid through and through. I know about eating ice cream year round and picking Macintosh apples that are crisp and juicy beyond your wildest imagination. Clam chowdah and lobster bisque? I’m all over it. Concord grapes and pumpkin pie are my homegirls. I can even claim to know a thing or two about Italian American cuisine – sfogliatella and zeppole? Yes, please.

Jambalaya? Eh. Not so much.

I thought it had something to do with lots of seafood and tomatoes. Turns out sausage and rice get in on the action, too.

I stumbled across Mama Pea’s vegetarian jambalaya and decided it didn’t look half bad (bonus: I had all of the ingredients). You all know I have an aversion to fake anything so I used real chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, sweet Italian style, and chicken stock.

I also attempted to make my own Creole seasoning ala Emeril Lagasse but my jambalaya really came out tasting more like an Italian chef had had his spoon in the pot.

What I made was really delicious but I won’t exactly be bragging about my new jambalaya recipe. I’d hate to offend the experts but, really, I just want to have authentic jambalaya before I go around acting like I know it all when really I don’t have a clue.

With my 20-page final paper printed and my biostats exam out of the way, this bowl of spicy, tomato-y goodness felt like a bit of a festa in my bocca.

Italian Festa Jambalaya

Inspired by Mama Pea

serves 2 (heck yes, leftovers!)

Seasoning Mixture:

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • sprinkle kosher salt


  • 2 organic chicken sausage links (sweet or spicy style) – slice each link lengthwise and then chop each link into half-moon pieces
  • 1/2 yellow onion, large dice
  • 1/2 large or 1 small bell pepper, large dice (I used orange)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 cup chicken stock, low sodium
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • crushed red pepper (pepperoncino)


  • Heat a teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook until beginning to brown.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, pepper, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic and seasoning mixture. Stir well.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the brown rice and tomato paste and cover to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with pepperoncino – if you like it hot, add more!
  • Check for seasoning balance and adjust to your liking.

I added a 1/2 cup of green beans to my meal since it was the only color missing…

…as well as a slice of baby spinach and garlic ciabatta from When Pigs Fly. This bread smells heavenly when toasted right from the freezer. HEAVENLY.

This bowl was so satisfying. Really filling without being heavy and quite the perfect stew-like meal for a rainy day in May. I loved that much of the sweetness from the tomatoes had been cooked down and finding the little bits chicken sausage was so exciting.

Yes, exciting. This was festa jambalaya, after all.

For dessert? Coconut milk ice cream!

I was really excited for this intially. I was psyched by the low sugar content and healthy fats in this pint but, as it turns out, ice cream is better with more sugar 😉 I added a sprinkle of chocolate chips on top because I just couldn’t get the chocolate flavor that I wanted from the ice cream.

Also, coconut milk really tastes like coconut. I knew that in theory but still didn’t think it would take over my entire bowl of ice cream.

You’ve been warned!

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