Shrimp n’ Spinach Quinoa Jambalaya

from Emily (who loves food)

Jambalaya is a classic Louisiana comfort dish. Packed with the ‘holy trinity’ of onions, bell pepper and celery (and in this case, carrots and spinach too), juicy shrimp and smoked sausage, topped of with a classic Creole seasoning. Traditionally it would be simmered with rice, but I think quinoa adds an awesome new texture to the dish – as well as being far better for you – so it’s a no-brainer for me.

I’ve got something to admit though.

I had no idea how to say Jambalaya.

In my tinny New Zealand accent, it came out something like Jam-bail-arya.

I actually had to google how to say it correctly.


Yeah, all you not-Americans can thank me later.

I found the original recipe over here at Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends. Though I had to adapt it a little for the kiwi pantry – chorizo is the only spanish smoked sausage we get here, and spinach instead of kale. Plus I tweaked the seasoning a little, just to taste. If you have access to Andouille sausage though, by all means, use it instead – texturally it’s better than the chorizo in this dish.

I write this as the whole thing simmers on the stove, and I honestly wish there was a scratch n’ sniff wordpress widget. Warm tomatoes, garlic, smokey sausage…. mmmhm. Even though it’s still summer – we had our first few days of humid, dribbly rain for months – this winter dish still has my tummy on high-alert. I’ve been job hunting furiously, and need a comforting savoury hug from the Southern States.




Shrimp n’ Spinach Quinoa Jambalaya – Serves 4

Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 25 mins

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on taste)
  • 350g uncooked shrimp
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 100g chorizo sausage, cut into rounds
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 80g (or a few giant handfuls) spinach greens

Mix together the seasoning ingredients. Mix half of it in withe the shrimp, set aside. Reserve the remaining half.

Heat a glug of oil in a cast iron skillet over a medium heat – chuck in the onion, peppet, celery and carrots. Cook until tender, about 7 mins. Stir occasionally.

While the veggies are cooking, finely mince the garlic cloves and cut the sausage into thin rounds. Chuck it all in with the veggies along with the reserved seasoning, and cook for a further minute to thoroughly combine.

Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and worcestershire sauce, and bring to a gentle boil. Add the quinoa and spinach, a cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to ensure the quinoa cooks evenly. Finally, add the prawns for a further 5 mins, or until they’re totally cooked and looking pink and delicious.

Serve hot, with some crusty bread on the side.

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