Prawn and Brown Rice Jambalaya

With this cold weather, this sounds like the perfect family meal. We love today’s recipe by Jo Pratt: Prawn and Brown Rice Jambalaya.

I’ve adapted a classic Creole rice dish in a couple of ways just to give it a nice healthy boost, you do still however get to enjoy the beautiful mix of strong flavours and great textures the traditional dish is known for. Jambalaya is French for ‘mixed up’ or ‘jumbled’. Rice, spices, vegetables, meats and seafood all cooked together in one pot. Here I’m sticking to using prawns, a great antioxidant and fibre-rich kidney beans, plus nutty brown rice for even more goodness. Then finishing with a scattering of spring onions/scallions and fresh lemon juice to really liven things up.

Ingredients (serves 4)

preparation time:  10 mins

cooking time:  40 mins

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 yellow or red pepper, deseeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp smoked paprika

a pinch of cayenne pepper

200g/7oz/1 cup brown rice

400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes

400g/14oz canned red kidney beans, drained

750ml/26fl oz/3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

400g/14oz raw peeled king prawns/jumbo shrimp

1 small handful of chopped parsley

4 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges, to serve


Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan or a wide casserole dish over a medium–high heat. Fry the onion, celery, pepper and garlic for 5–8 minutes until softened. Stir in the bay leaf, paprika, cayenne pepper and rice and cook for a further minute or so.

Add the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 minutes until the rice is almost tender.

Season the prawns/shrimp and stir into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the prawns/shrimp turn pink. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Scatter with spring onions/scallions and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

PS… If you want to make this into a chicken jambalaya, the prawns/ shrimp can be substituted for 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips. Add to the pan once the onion, celery and pepper have softened, frying for a couple of minutes before continuing with the recipe.

See Jo cooking live at a BBC Good Food Show 2016.

Recipe extracted from ‘In the Mood for Healthy Food’ by Jo Pratt. Published by Nourish Books.