Healthy Mardi Gras Dinner Recipes

Find healthy, delicious Mardi Gras dinner recipes including Creole dinners, gumbo, jambalaya and po'boy recipes. Healthier recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Corn Bread-Topped Chicken Enchilada Casserole

For a twist on the classic chicken enchilada casserole, this slow cooker recipe is topped with homemade corn bread.

Two-Bean Enchilada Casserole

Rating: Unrated
2
This classic and comforting Mexican dish is easy to make on a busy weeknight.

Louisiana Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
8
Chock-full of shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra and tomatoes, this flavorful stew is a staple in Louisiana. Make it a meal and serve with Real Cornbread (see associated recipe).

Blackened Salmon Sandwich

Rating: Unrated
1
Blackened salmon is great in a sandwich with a spread of mashed avocado and low-fat mayonnaise plus peppery arugula leaves, cool tomato slices and zesty red onion. We grill our Cajun-style salmon so there is no need for any added cooking oil. Catfish makes an excellent stand-in for the salmon but you'll want to use a grill basket if you have one to keep the fish from breaking apart.

Sausage Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
5
To keep it simple, we've opted for just the essential ingredients in this rendition of the hearty Creole favorite: sausage, okra, rice and a little spice.

Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Rating: Unrated
1
Prepare this dish the night ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it in the oven for an easy and delicious dinner.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Rating: Unrated
17
This zesty Cajun-style pasta is full of lean chicken, peppers and onions. Serve with sautéed green beans.

Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Rating: Unrated
8
The South's version of creamy polenta, grits are easy to make on a weeknight--especially when topped with quickly broiled shrimp and scallions. Use the sharpest Cheddar you can find for these cheesy grits. Serve with: Sautéed greens and a tall glass of iced tea.

Seafood Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
1
Gumbo, a hearty stew made with anything from sausage or duck to rabbit or seafood, starts with a roux cooked until it turns dark and nutty, giving the stew recipe its signature earthy flavor. This crab and shrimp gumbo recipe comes from Eula Mae Doré, who was the cook at the Commissary on Avery Island, home to the Tabasco company. She learned Cajun cooking by watching, rather than from cookbooks. Serve with brown rice. (Recipe adapted from Eula Mae's Cajun Kitchen by Eula Mae Doré and Marcelle R. Bienvenu; Harvard Common Press, 2007.)

Catfish Etouffee

Rating: Unrated
2
Although the classic Cajun stew, étouffée, is usually made with crayfish, it's also delicious with catfish. The cooked butter-and-flour mixture, also called a brown roux, gives the sauce a nutty flavor. We added a bit of reduced-fat sour cream and stewed tomatoes to make the sauce rich and flavorful without a lot of extra calories or fat. Serve with brown rice.

Dirty Rice

Rating: Unrated
3
A Louisiana favorite, our version of this spicy dish uses whole-grain Wehani rice. Long-grain brown rice also works. Traditionally made with chicken liver, which gives it a “dirty” color, we use healthy lean chicken sausage instead.

Louisiana Catfish with Okra & Corn

Rating: Unrated
3
Purchased Cajun or Creole seasoning flavors both the catfish and vegetables in this 30-minute dinner. This dish is best with fresh vegetables, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out with frozen okra and corn. Serve with cheese grits and a green salad.

Inspiration and Ideas

Tilapia Po'Boy

Rating: Unrated
1
Forget deep-fried fish--the tilapia in this healthy po'boy recipe, a classic Cajun sandwich recipe, is coated in cornmeal and cooked in just 2 tablespoons of oil. The result? A healthy, crispy fish sandwich without extra calories. Serve with coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Crawfish Etouffee

Literally translated as “smothered” and pronounced ay-TOO-fay, the crawfish recipe is typically a saucy stew served over rice. In this healthy recipe from chef Patrick Mould, the tasty crustaceans (use shrimp if you can't find crawfish) are smothered in a sauce made with plenty of onions, garlic and Cajun seasoning.

Braised Chicken Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
3

Leftovers make this chicken gumbo an absolute breeze. The only prep you'll need to do is to dice a bell pepper and slice some okra if you're using fresh. That's it! If you don't have leftover chicken and sauce from Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken, you can use 2 cups shredded cooked chicken and 2 cups canned diced tomatoes instead of the leftover sauce.