Give Jambalaya A Nutty, Savory Makeover With Sweet Potato

Jambalaya is a one-pot meal that traditionally combines rice with vegetables like bell peppers, meats such as pork sausage and chicken, and spices. Depending on where you eat it and who cooked it, jambalaya can have Cajun or Creole flavors and use a variety of proteins. Despite the flavors and ingredients traditionally used, the dish can be easily customized in numerous ways. For example, add sweet potatoes for a nutty, savory, and slightly sweet upgrade. 

To get some culinary inspiration, check out our original recipe for wild rice and sweet potato jambalaya created by Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn. "Adding sweet potato transforms jambalaya into an autumnal affair with a nutty, savory flavor and the same, mellow heat," says McGlinn. Our recipe also has ingredients traditional to jambalaya, like Andouille sausage, chicken, diced bell peppers, garlic, and wild rice. All versions can be served as a complete one-pot meal, or McGlinn suggests pairing it with gumbo, hush puppies, or collard greens.

Tips for upgrading jambalaya with sweet potatoes

To prepare the sweet potatoes for jambalaya, peel and dice them first. Be sure to dice them in small pieces so they can cook thoroughly and become tender, or you might end up with chunks of undercooked spuds. However, you can also boil and smash sweet potatoes and incorporate them into this dish. This method works when you have leftover mashed sweet potatoes that you need to use or if you prefer a creamier consistency in jambalaya.

Another alternative is to skip the meat and use sweet potatoes to make a vegan version of jambalaya with other vegetables like green beans, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Add tofu to vegan jambalaya if you want more protein in the dish. If you like seafood, add shrimp or lobster along with the tubers in the jambalaya. Do you prefer red meat or already have some in the fridge? Skip the chicken and use beef instead. Here's a final tip: We understand if you prefer to keep the skin on sweet potatoes because the outer layer is full of nutrients, but peel them for this dish to create a smoother texture.