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Scrambalaya (Cajun Jambalaya with Smoked Ham)

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Scrambalaya (Cajun Jambalaya with Smoked Ham)

Scrambalaya (Cajun Jambalaya with Smoked Ham)

Jessica Braider
Scramble devotee Jeanne Rossomme used to live in New Orleans, where she learned to make this zesty jambalaya. She calls it Poor Man’s Jambalaya because it’s not as meaty as other versions.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. smoked ham, turkey kielbasa, or vegetarian sausage (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 - 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. black pepper to taste (it will make it a little spicy)
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 - 4 stalks celery chopped about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups white rice uncooked
  • 32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or use any variety)


  • In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham or sausage and cook it for about 5 minutes until it is nicely browned. (If you have picky eaters, remove some of the ham/sausage to serve to them before proceeding with the recipe.)
  • Add the remaining ingredients except the rice and broth, and sauté it for about 10 more minutes until the vegetables soften, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the rice and stir it frequently for about 3 minutes to coat it.
  • Add the broth and simmer it, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender to the bite, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so the rice doesn’t stick.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the flavors meld until you are ready to dig in. Remove the bay leaves before serving. You can make this up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Rub the inside of a slow cooker with the oil, then place all remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, then check the rice for done-ness. If the rice is not completely tender, cook for another 30 minutes. Alternatively, after rubbing the sides with oil, place all remaining ingredients except the rice in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. Add the rice and cook 1 1/2 hours more, checking for done-ness as above. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Dice the ham and refrigerate, combine the spices, chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Use 1 tsp. black pepper and serve it with hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco.
Tip: If you’re inspired, you can get really creative with the meat you put into jambalaya.  In addition to ham, some people incorporate chicken, shrimp, crawfish, or even alligator (!) into this dish.
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 300, Total Fat: 9g, 14%; Saturated Fat: 3g, 13%; Cholesterol: 25mg, 8%; Sodium: 420mg, 18%; Total Carbohydrate: 42g, 14%; Dietary Fiber: 1g, 4%; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 13g
Keyword All, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Potluck/Buffet, Slow Cooker, Soups & Stews, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
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