Call it Creole or Cajun, the sort of spicy seasoning blend typical of so many New Orleans dishes is perfect for jazzing up your meals, especially on Mardi Gras. Whether you’re looking for something traditional like gumbo, a quicker dinner, or just an easy Mardi Gras party snack, these are great ways to work that Big Easy flavor into your food.
First, of course, you have to make your Cajun Seasoning Blend—sure, you can just pick up a canister of Tony Chachere’s, but it takes no time at all to mix your own for the ultimate bright, fresh, spicy flavor. Weather permitting, make a big batch and use it to season the water for a crawfish boil—but when you’re stuck indoors, Cajun seasoning still brings a warm, festive flavor to lots of other dishes (including the Shrimp and Okra Hushpuppies you see up above).
If for some reason you haven’t made yourself a batch of this yet, here’s the link. In as much time as it takes to read this article, you can have a fresh container of this spicy, complex blend of NOLA flavors. You just have to promise not to say “BAM!” when you use it. Ever. Get our Cajun Seasoning Blend recipe.
Fire roasting green beans bring an extra level of smokey goodness to this dish. Keeping summer alive doesn’t get easier than this. Not to mention the addictive dipping sauce is the perfect way to use that Cajun blend. Get our Charred Green Beans with Cajun Dipping Sauce recipe.
Double it. Trust us, just make twice as much as you think you’ll need. Cajun popcorn is pretty much snack nirvana, and you’ll want bowl after bowl of this while you’re bingeing on Netflix food shows. Get the Butter Cajun Popcorn recipe.
4. Maque Choux
The summer side you’ve never had, maque choux is essentially Cajun succotash. Every cook has their own perfect recipe, but a few big pinches of that seasoning make all those picnic corn salads you had taste like cardboard. This southern Louisiana specialty deserves wider recognition as the ideal vehicle for the flavors of summer—but use frozen veggies and you can make it any time of year. Get our Maque Choux recipe.
Using your Cajun seasoning as a rub for fish is a great way to use up a larger quantity of the spice. Broiling the salmon keeps it moist inside, and the lemon aioli adds a cooling element to counteract the spice of the fish. These sandwiches will quickly become a part of your weeknight dinner rotation. Get the Spicy Cajun Salmon Sandwiches recipe.
Dishes like this are why you made that Cajun blend in the first place. Classic jambalaya keeps incredibly well in the freezer, so stock up now or make some for anyone you know with a baby on the way! Get our Wild Rice Jambalaya recipe.
Honey, soy sauce, and your seasoning magic! Just three ingredients come together to transform shrimp into an easy explosion of flavor that’s versatile enough to eat with quinoa or a salad, in tacos, or just standing over the stove and licking your fingers. Get the Baked Honey Cajun Shrimp recipe.
The ultimate use for your Cajun seasoning is this shrimp etouffee. It was destined for this. There is no nobler cause than this historic recipe. In fact, you might start looking up plane tickets and real estate in NOLA after this one. You’ve been warned. Get the Shrimp Etouffee recipe.
11. Cajun Souffle
Related Video: Get the Party Started with These Mardi Gras Cocktails
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