Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp

A healthier twist on a Cajun classic, the addition of shrimp turns this into a fabulous main dish. I’d like to think of this as a Cajun shrimp fried rice. With Mardi Gras ends tomorrow, I thought this would be the perfect timing to share this recipe from the archives because I LOVE this dish!

Dirty rice is a classic Cajun dish made “dirty” by cooking the rice with minced livers or gizzards. I created a healthier version using brown rice and lean ground beef in place of the chicken livers that normally make dirty rice “dirty”.

But don’t worry, this healthier version does not skimp on flavor! It has plenty of spices and a bit of kick, you can adjust the heat to your taste but don’t be shy with the cayenne if you can handle it!

A healthier version of dirty rice using brown rice and lean ground beef – delicious!

Normally a rice dish like this if made with white rice would be cooked all in one pot, but after several attempts to perfect this I found that cooking the brown rice all together created an unpleasant mushy texture. By cooking the brown rice separate, the texture of the rice was perfect when mixed with the beef and shrimp and made a delicious main dish even my “non-brown rice eating” husband enjoyed. 

Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
Servings: 5 • Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups • Points +: 9 pts • Smart Points: 9
Calories: 346.6 • Fat: 5.9 g • Protein: 27.8 g • Carb: 44.2 g • Fiber: 2.5 g • Sugar: 1.1 g
Sodium: 151.0 mg (without salt) 


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • chicken bouillon cube (Knorr)
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 1/8 + 1/4 tsp cayenne, divided
  • 1/8 + 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 + 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb 96% lean ground beef (Laura’s lean beef)
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 scallions, chopped


Cook brown rice according to package directions in water along with a chicken bouillon, 1 bay leaf and 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 each of salt, cayenne, paprika and thyme.

When the rice is almost done cooking, heat a large heavy saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the oil, onions, green pepper, celery, bay leaf and garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef, salt, black pepper, remaining paprika, thyme and cayenne pepper. Sauté until browned, about 10-15 minutes; add shrimp, cover and cook 5 more minutes.

When the rice is done, toss with beef and shrimp and combine well. Top with scallions and serve.

Makes 6 1/2 cups.