This Cajun Jambalaya Pasta Recipe is all about bringing that fire to your dinner table – a quick, one-pot wonder packed with bold Cajun spices, juicy shrimp, tender chicken, smoky andouille sausage, and a bunch of fresh veggies, all twirled up with fettuccine noodles. It’s like snagging the Cheesecake Factory’s Jambalaya Pasta right in your own kitchen! And let me tell you, you’re gonna adore this homemade version – it’s a total flavor bomb!
What is Jambalaya?
Now exactly what is Jambalaya in the first place? Jambalaya is truly the quintessential Southern one-pot recipe filled with aromatic Cajun and Creole spices combined with andouille drippings, fresh vegetables, and delicious shrimp and chicken. It’s truly a comfort food I downright love y’all.
If you have ever tasted it in New Orleans, then you know how bomb it can be. But just as with any other staple dish, sometimes you just need to add a twist! If you love the bold flavors of jambalaya and the rich texture of pasta, this recipe is for you.
The Heart & Soul Of This Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
Cuisine Inspiration: Southern, Cajun
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Omnivore! This recipe is perfect for anyone who eats a little bit of everything!
Key Flavor: Succulent shrimp, smoky andouille sausage, and juicy chicken are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with vegetables for a dish that’s truly satisfying.
Skill Level: All levels from beginner to expert!
- Quick Dinner Recipe. This Cajun Jambalaya Pasta recipe is quick and easy, meaning you’ll have an incredibly flavorful dinner on the table in no time.
- Adjustable Flavors and Ingredients. Feel free to customize the ingredients to your taste to make the dish to your preference! You can easily use any combination of chicken, sausage, and shrimp you prefer as well as adjust the spiciness to your level.
- Perfect for Busy Weeknights. I love to throw this together on a weeknight when I’m absolutely exhausted but still want something homemade.
- Hearty and Satisfying. Pasta is the ultimate comfort food and in this recipe, we’re layering on the flavors and packing it with plenty of protein and veggies to fill you up.
Ingredients to Make Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
- Butter: Adds richness and ensures everything gets cooked up in style.
- Chicken Breast Tenders: Cut them into bite-sized pieces, and they’ll soak up all the amazing flavors we’re throwing at them. I prefer using the tenders because it saves a bit on chopping but you can also use chicken breasts.
- Andouille Sausage: It brings a smoky, spicy personality to our pasta party and is a traditional ingredient in jambalaya.
- Onions and Tri-Colored Peppers): Onions and a trio of bell peppers bring sweetness, color, and a bit of crunch to the dish.
- Large Shrimp: Use peeled and deveined shrimp and to save time, buy shrimp that’s already prepped for you.
- Garlic: Minced garlic adds more aromatic flavors to the dish.
- Chicken Stock: Brings all the ingredients together and is the base that creates the flavor-packed sauce for your pasta.
- Diced Tomatoes: They’re like little juicy gems adding a tangy kick to the dish.
- Cajun Spice and Paprika: Cajun spice for the heat and paprika for that sweet, smoky vibe.
- Fettuccine Pasta: These thick and long noodles work perfectly with the sauce and ingredients. Be sure you cook al dente and avoid mushy pasta!
- Garnish Galore: A sprinkle of parsley for freshness and an extra dash of Cajun spice to keep things interesting.
How to Make Jambalaya Pasta
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Toss in the chicken pieces, give them a quick season with salt and pepper, and cook until they’re just not pink anymore.
- Throw in the sausage, onion, and peppers, and let them cook until the veggies are just tender.
- Add the shrimp to the mix, and cook until they just start to turn pink. Stir in the minced garlic, let it do its thing for about 30 seconds, and then make sure it’s all mixed in with the other ingredients.
- Pour in your chicken stock and diced tomatoes and bring the heat down to medium. dd the Cajun spice and paprika, and let it cook until about ⅓ of the liquid is reduced. You’re building flavors here!
- Toss in the cooked fettuccine, ensuring it gets a nice coating of all those delicious juices and spices. Give it a taste, and adjust the salt and pepper if you think it needs a bit more zing. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley and a bit more Cajun spice for good measure!
Tips for Making the Best Jambalaya Pasta
- Looking for more control over the heat? The easiest way is to make your own cajun seasoning in order to keep the level of spiciness to your preference. It’s also a way to make sure your spices are fresher!
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Cook it just until al dente, which means it will still have a little bit of bite or chewiness to it. If in doubt, slightly undercook the pasta, as it will cook a little bit more when you toss it with the sauce.
- Choosing sausage for your dish. Andouille sausage is the best option for flavor and authenticity as it’s big on smoky flavor. If you can’t get it, opt for a bold, smoky sausage with a similar flavor profile.
- Save time during the week with a little meal prep. Do all your chopping ahead of time to make things quicker to throw together. You can do this up to two days in advance. Don’t forget to choose convenience items such as shrimp that are already peeled and deveined as well as chicken tenders which require less chopping.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Swap the Pasta: Use any long noodles you prefer, or you can also use short pasta such as rotini, bowtie pasta, or penne.
- Adjust the Spiciness: If you prefer a slightly less spicy jambalaya pasta, you can adjust the amount of cajun spice added or choose a mild cajun seasoning. However, if you prefer things with a bit more kick add some cayenne pepper. Just be sure to add it in a bit at a time since you can’t take it away once it’s added.
- Different Sausage: Andouille is a Cajun-style smoked sausage that is also spicy. If you’re looking to tame the heat, swapping the sausage for another smoked sausage may help. While it won’t be as authentic having the option to use another type of sausage makes things easier if you are having difficulty finding the andouille.
- Other Canned Tomatoes: For a less chunky texture you can also use crushed tomatoes or for more chunky you can use whole tomatoes and break them up with a spoon after adding them to a pan.
- Leaving Out the Shrimp or Chicken: If you prefer to make this shellfish-free or without the chicken you can certainly do so. I suggest adding more shrimp or chicken to make up for the meat you decide to eliminate.
What to Serve with Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
- Satisfying Sippers. For the full Cajun experience, enjoy your pasta with a glass of Southern sweet tea or a New Orleans Hurricane drink.
- Veggie Sides or a Salad. Pair your bowl of cajun pasta with a simple vegetable or fruit salad or more vegetables to round out your meal.
- Some Bread for Dipping. Pasta and bread are a match made in heaven, so you can soak up all those juices left in the bowl after your last bite of pasta. Garlic bread or this no knead bread make excellent options or you can pick up something at the store instead of homemade to save some time.
- Sweet Endings. When serving this dish for guests or company don’t forget to end the meal with something sweet. Banana fosters, bread pudding, and homemade beignets are a few New Orleans classics to consider.
How to Store & Reheat Jambalaya Pasta
Let the pasta cool to room temperature before packing it in an air-tight container. If you plan to take it on the go, divide it into single servings for an easy grab-and-go option, and don’t forget to label it with the date to keep track.
When you’re ready for round two, add a bit of chicken stock while reheating to bring back the saucy deliciousness. Heat leftovers in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave until heated through.
How long will pasta jambalaya last in the fridge?
When stored properly your pasta will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Can I freeze pasta jambalaya?
Sure you bet! Pack it up following the tips above and freeze for about a month. You may find that the texture of the pasta is slightly softer after it’s been frozen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking this dish in a Dutch oven makes it so easy to mix everything together without making a mess. You can also use a large, deep skillet or another large soup pot as well. The trick is to make sure it has higher sides to keep everything contained in the pan.
We haven’t tested it without the meat but it would certainly be possible. You could leave out the sausage, shrimp, and chicken and simply pile on the veggies. You will be missing the smokiness of the sausage but could use smoked paprika instead of paprika or even add a bit of liquid smoke to achieve a similar effect. You could also add some vegan chorizo/sausage or tofu for a meaty substitute.
Sure you can. If you prefer thighs over chicken breasts they will work perfectly fine. Chicken thighs make a budget-friendly choice and are also easier to keep moist during cooking than the breasts.
I’m totally convinced y’all are gonna be head over heels for this Cajun Jambalaya Pasta with its bold, “gotta have it” flavors! It’s the ultimate game-changer for your weeknight dinner routine, especially if you’re looking to shake things up a bit. This dish is not just quick and easy – with a little prep in advance, it’s a breeze! Plus, it’s packed with flavors that’ll have the whole fam coming back for seconds.
More Cajun Recipes
Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
- ¼ cup salted butter w/ olive oil or half olive oil and half butter
- ½ lb chicken breast tenders cut into bite sized pieces
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup andouille sausage sliced
- ¾ cup diced onion
- ¾ cup diced green, red and yellow peppers
- ½ lb shrimp large peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 1 tbsp cajun spice
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- ½-1 lb fettucine pasta cooked al dente
- Parsley and Cajun Spice for garnish
- Add salted butter with olive oil to large pot over medium high heat until melted.
- Add chicken pieces and lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink.
- Then add sausage, onion and peppers to pot and cook until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in shrimp and cook until barely pink then remove and set to the side.
- Next add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds then toss into the rest of the ingredients except the shrimp.
- Pour in chicken stock and diced tomatoes and lower heat to medium.
- Stir in Cajun spice and paprika and cook over medium heat reducing ⅓ of the liquid. Toss in cooked pasta making sure to coat with sauce and add in the shrimp. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of Cajun spice and serve it up.
- Quick Cool & Store: Let the pasta cool to room temperature before packing it in an air-tight container, keeping it fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for about a month.
- Portion It Out: Divide it into single servings for an easy grab-and-go option, and don’t forget to label with the date to keep track.
- Splash & Reheat: When you’re ready for round two, add a bit of chicken stock while reheating to bring back the saucy deliciousness.