Happy Mardi Gras!! It was an icy cold and grey morning here in New Orleans, so instead of going out and enjoying the parades, I decided to take it easy, stay warm, and cook up a big pot of Pastalaya. What is pastalaya? It’s like jambalaya, but made with pasta instead of rice! You’ll find this easy and filling dish at large gatherings, celebrations, and even along the parade route during Mardi Gras. Pastalaya is one of those super easy crowd-pleasers that doesn’t break the bank. Sounds like Budget Bytes material, ammiright?
Every Pastalaya Recipe is Unique
Just as with jambalaya, every chef has their own version of pastalaya. Mine is super simple with andouille smoked sausage, trinity, a good dose of herbs and spices, and a splash of cream at the end to smooth things out. A lot of people do sausage and chicken, so if you have some leftover rotisserie chicken or some boneless skinless chicken thighs, you can throw them in there as well.
What Kind of Sausage to Use
Andouille is the only choice if you live in Louisiana, but I know that it can be hard to come by everywhere else. So if you can’t get any good andouille at the grocery store, your next best option will be any type of smoked sausage, and spicy if you can find it!
Use Fresh or Frozen Trinity
Trinity, a mixture of onion, bell pepper, and celery, is the base for most Cajun and Creole dishes. My grocery store was out of green peppers today (I guess everyone was cooking jambalaya!), so I had to sub a pre-chopped and frozen “seasoning mix” (aka trinity) instead.
It’s a nice short cut if you don’t feel like chopping everything up, but fresh always tastes better. If you want to go the fresh route, use one yellow onion, one green bell pepper, and about two stalks of celery instead of the bagged seasoning mix I used.
You ready to get this Mardi Gras party started?
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.04)
- 1/2 lb. smoked sausage (preferably Andouille) ($2.50)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 10oz. bag frozen “seasoning mix”* ($1.29)
- 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.59)
- 1/2 Tbsp Creole seasoning** ($0.15)
- 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp thyme ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
- 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
- 1 cup water ($0.00)
- 1 lb. penne pasta ($1.39)
- 2 Tbsp half and half or cream ($0.11)
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley ($0.45)
- 1/2 bunch green onions ($0.42)
- Slice the smoked sausage into thin rounds, then cut any larger pieces in half. Add the sausage and vegetable oil to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the sausage is well browned (about 5 minutes).
- Mince two cloves of garlic and add them to the pot. Sauté for one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the bag of frozen seasoning mix and sauté until heated through (3-5 minutes). Add the can of diced tomatoes (with juices), Creole seasoning, oregano, smoked paprika, thyme, freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill), and pasta to the pot. Finally, add the chicken broth and 1 cup of water, and stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the pot come to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, stir briefly, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low, and let the pot simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir the pot once every few minutes as it simmers to prevent the pasta from sticking. Replace the lid as quickly as possible to maintain a simmer. If the mixture still seems soupy at around 8 minutes, let the pot simmer without a lid for the last few minutes. A little bit of thick sauce at the bottom of the pot is perfect.
- While the pasta is simmering, chop the parsley and slice the green onions.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the half & half or cream. Stir in most of the chopped parsley and green onions, reserving some to sprinkle over top of each bowl. Serve hot.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Pastalaya – Step by Step Photos
Start with 1/2 lb. of smoked sausage, Andouille if you can get it. Cut the sausage into rounds, then cut each round in half to make a half-moon. Add the sausage and a tablespoon of your favorite cooking oil to a large pot. Sauté the sausage over medium heat until it is nice and brown.
Normally jambalaya has a mix of diced onion, bell pepper, and celery, which is called trinity. While fresh always tastes better, you can usually find a frozen mix of these same vegetables. Since the grocery store was out of fresh bell pepper that day, I went with the frozen mix (10oz. bag). To make it fresh, use one onion, one bell pepper, and about 2-3 ribs of celery.
Just before adding the trinity, mince two cloves of garlic and add them to the pot. Let them sauté for one minute, then add the trinity. Sauté the trinity just until softened (the frozen trinity softens immediately upon thawing, fresh will take 5-7 minutes).
Add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 lb. penne pasta, 1/2 Tbsp creole seasoning, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp thyme, and some freshly cracked pepper.
Finally, add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water, and stir until everything is well combined. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let it come to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, lift the lid briefly to stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low, and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking, but replace the lid quickly to prevent heat loss. It needs to simmer the whole time for the pasta to cook.
If you notice that it’s still quite soupy at around the 8-minute mark, you can let it simmer the last couple of minutes without the lid. A little thick saucy liquid at the bottom of the pot is okay.
Stir in 2 Tbsp half-and-half or cream.
While the pasta is simmering, pull the leaves off half a bunch of parsley and give them a good chop. Slice half a bunch of green onions as well. Stir most of the parsley and green onions into the pasta, saving a little to sprinkle over top of each bowl.
And there you have it. Pastalaya, a delicious Louisiana-style one-pot pasta! NOM.
Happy Mardi Gras!
Super yummy!!!! Thank you so much for your budget friendly, easy to follow recipes. I love the pictures for each step! I have always hated cooking and having your guide to follow is making me feel much more confident. Thank you!
Made for a family of 8 today. So basically doubled the recipe. Yummy! Everyone had 2nd helpings.
I think I forgot to rate my previous review. 5/5.
Your recipes are my go-to, and even work with me being a vegetarian and my fiance a carnivore. He loves pastalaya and recently requested it (for the 4th time!). I just have him slice andouille sausage in thicker slices (I’m not a picky vegetarian) and then give him any sausage I find on my plate when we eat.
I love your budget-friendly approach, but can only visit your site occasionally because I find too many recipes I like!
Absolutely delicious! This is a great dish for a cold night. I didn’t have celery and it was stilly delicious. I also substituted the dairy with goat cheese and it was perfect!
Great easy recipe. I needed an extra cup chicken stock.
Quick and easy and very tasty! This one has been added to the dinner recipe collection! Thank you!
Can this be made with dry parsley instead of fresh?
Yep. Or you can just leave it out. I find that dry parsley is so mild that you may not even notice it when added to a dish that has so many spices, like this one.
I’ve done this a few times over and my household really likes it, but we were wondering if rice could be used instead of pasta? Would we need to add more chicken broth/water? Should we not stir it if we do rice?
I would follow this recipe, which is similar but uses rice: Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet
Jambalaya is made with almost the exact same ingredients minus the pasta and served over white rice traditionally. That is where this dish came from as does the portmanteau name attached. 😀 So yes! Rice would be perfect… perhaps even more so as a commitment to tradition? Lol regardless, eat it up! 🤪
What would you recommend as a non-dairy substitute for the half-and-half or cream? My mind went to coconut milk, but I’m not sure if it would give the right flavor or texture. Thanks!
Yes, you could do coconut milk (full fat). Since it’s such a small amount I don’t think you’ll notice the coconut flavor. But this is actually still really good even before you add the cream, so you may find that you don’t even need it.
Soooo exponentially delicious. I used fresh onion, bell pepper and celery. I also used some additional chicken stock, about a cup and a half, and I still ended up with right consistency of sauce. I also added some chicken from a leftover rotisserie chicken. This will become a regular. Thank you so much for this recipe!
A new favorite. Used the DIY creole seasoning at 1.5x and didn’t add the other spices. Next time I will add more celery as that was super ‘fun’ (ya know, as fun a celery can be) in the dish!
Have made this several times and it’s delicious. My husbands favorite. Even with substitutions to avoid buying things I didn’t have it was sooo good. Used fresh seasoning subbed a chopped carrot for the bell pepper and subbed egg noodles for the pasta finally subbed a few spoons of cream cheese for the half n half. Thank you Beth for helping me learn to cook. I never even owned spices until I read your site.! It’s been a game changer. Thanks for sharing your gift!
The meal was great. Just the right amount of spice level.
This was very good! Everyone enjoyed!
Thank you Anne!