Friday, February 17, 2012

Cajun Chickpea Jambalaya

A whopping 4% of the restaurants in the town next to us are Cajun.  In other words, there is one Cajun restaurant there.  Needless to say, it's a small town, but bigger than the one we live in, which boasts one Subway and a deli.  So when my parents come to visit, as they are doing today, there is a good chance that they will say, "Hey, let's go out tonight!"  And an even better chance that what that really means is "to that Cajun restaurant whose only vegetarian option is buttered noodles."  I don't think I've ever had Cajun food before, but seeing my parents and husband in such states of food bliss made me wonder what the fuss is about.  So I set about to find out for myself.

 I based this recipe off of Emeril's Cajun Jambalaya, but as you can see, I strayed from it quite a bit.  After all, what does Emeril know about Cajun food?  What makes this so good, in my opinion of course (although I hope you agree) is that each individual element is seasoned- the chickpeas, the peppers, the rice- so you get that wonderful effect of layer upon layer of flavor.  Thank you, Emeril, for a good base recipe.  But you know how it is- sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch.

Cajun Chickpea Jambalaya

2 cups rice
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp cajun seasoning, or to taste
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cans chickpeas
olive oil for frying
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cloves garlic

Cook rice according to instructions on package, substituting broth for water and adding bay leaf.  Stir in cajun seasoning, butter, and tomato paste.  Meanwhile, add enough olive oil to coat large frying pan and cook chick peas over medium high heat, stirring in taco seasoning.  Let cook for 5 minutes, then remove from pan, add a bit more oil, and add peppers, onions, celery, salt and pepper to pan.  Let cook until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds while stirring.  Add veggies and chick peas, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaf before serving.


  1. You're so creative! It definitely looks like jambalaya. Good call using the garbanzos.