I love the flavors of New Orleans: gumbo, po’boys, and, of course, jambalaya. To satisfy my craving for the region’s cuisine, I make this easy jambalaya recipe at home. With vegetables you’ll almost certainly find in your fridge and a surprising shot of my favorite condiment, this recipe is ready in a jiffy!


  • The Mysterious Origins of Jambalaya
  • What Makes Jambalaya, Jambalaya?
  • Why I Love This Jambalaya Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • Directions

The Mysterious Origins of Jambalaya
New Orleans is a melting pot, and so is jambalaya. It’s a product of the region’s Spanish, French, and African roots. Some believe the dish may have evolved from Spanish paella. The dish’s andouille sausage, however, points toward French origins. Of course, jambalaya also bears resemblance to West African jollof rice.

It’s likely a combination of all three, as is the name. Some linguists theorize it’s a combination of “ham” in French (jambon) or Spanish (jamón) and an African word for rice (ya, aya, or yaya).

Regardless of its origins, it’s delicious and one of my favorite Louisianian dishes.

What Makes Jambalaya, Jambalaya?
You’ll find recipes with a variety of meats and vegetables that dub themselves “jambalaya.” Which might have you wondering: What exactly is jambalaya? In order to be jambalaya, the dish must include:

  • Rice
  • Meat, like pork, chicken, or even rabbit
  • Onions, celery, and bell peppers
  • Many recipes include seafood, like crawfish, shrimp, or crab
  • Many recipes also include stock
  • Most recipes include andouille sausage
  • If the dish is “Creole” style, it includes tomatoes
  • If it’s “Cajun” style, it does not include tomatoes

Why I Love This Jambalaya Recipe

I tried making jambalaya at home for years, but I was never really happy with the result. They tasted great, but the recipes were always so time-consuming and, with a long list of ingredients, expensive.

I eventually created my own recipe. It’s easy, uses ingredients you probably already have in your refrigerator, and includes my favorite condiment: salsa.

Because of the salsa, you might call this Creole-style jambalaya. I just call it delicious. Jambalaya traditionally includes only cooked vegetables. The salsa adds a zesty, crunchy kick of fresh vegetables that balances the cooked onions, peppers, and celery. It also makes it pretty saucy, so you can skip the usual stock.

When I make this jambalaya recipe, I like to use Maker’s Mark Fresh Salsa. The flavor is pure and simple, so it doesn’t compete with the Creole spices. It adds extra texture and even more healthy veggies to this already good-for-you recipe.


  • 1 c. prepared rice
  • 1 T. salted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 pieces celery, chopped
  • 1 Lb. chicken breast, chopped
  • ½ Lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne (optional)
  • 1 c. salsa (I like to use Maker’s Mark Fresh Salsa!)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the rice according to the package. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until tender.
  3. Add chicken and cook through, about 6–8 minutes.
  4. Add sausage, garlic, and seasonings. Cook until sausage is browned and garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add salsa and cook until heated through.
    Stir in rice and serve.