Healthy Mardi Gras Dinner Recipes
This classic and comforting Mexican dish is easy to make on a busy weeknight.
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).
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.
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.
For a twist on the classic chicken enchilada casserole, this slow cooker recipe is topped with homemade corn bread.
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.
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.
This zesty Cajun-style pasta is full of lean chicken, peppers and onions. Serve with sautéed green beans.
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.
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.)
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.
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.