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Mardi Gras Shrimp Jambalaya Salad

Ragin' Cagin' Jambalaya Shrimp

Ragin’ Cagin’ Jambalaya Shrimp

Mardi Gras. What’s that? Fat Tuesday? Not around here.

In one of my first posts I shared my low-calorie shrimp jambalaya with egg noodles recipe with you all, but I thought I would push myself to make it EVEN healthier. And what can be healthier than salad? I assure you this salad is still full of zesty flavor, filling and super quick to prepare (I made this in less than 30 minutes). A triple threat. In fact, I nearly lifted my shirt it was so good, but then I decided to just keep it on. I have enough of those stinkin’ beads already (yes, that was a bad Mardi Gras joke).

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really measure ingredients, but rely on my good ol’ fashioned taste buds. I encourage you to do the same with this recipe as you really can’t mess it up. No, really, you can’t. 

This jambalaya requires four simple to prepare parts, made in the following order – homemade Cajun salad dressing (I’ll admit this is quite close to tasting like a Greek dressing, but it uses a basic Cajun seasoning mix – so, it’s Cajun!), seasoned croutons, jambalaya flavored shrimp and salad fixin’s. I added a few croutons on the salad because I had some day old bread to use up, but if you want to lighten this up even more than just omit these or substitute with some pepitas for some added crunch and nuttiness. In the future I might switch out the croutons for some quinoa for some added protein.

Yum. Yum. Now let’s get started.

Homemade Cajun Salad Dressing
Make the dressing first and set aside. If time allows, make a day ahead to let flavors meld together.

Red wine vinegar – start with a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil and add more to taste depending on how vinegar-y you like your dressing
Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried onion powder
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all ingredients in a shaker bottle or mason jar. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Set aside while you prep the rest of the salad ingredients. Keep leftovers in refrigerator.

Seasoned Croutons
Day old bread, cut into cubes – I used rosemary bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried onion powder
Salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking pan with foil. Place bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add seasonings and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer on foil lined pan and place in oven. Bake until golden brown with crunchy texture – approximately 5 minutes. Keep an eye on these babies so they don’t burn 🙂 Take out of oven and set aside to cool.

Jambalaya flavored shrimp

1 lb shrimp – deveined and shelled
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin
Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Cayenne Pepper (add more if you like it spicy!)
1 Tb. butter (or your favorite meltable fat)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1-2 Tb. finely diced celery
1/4 chopped tomatoes
1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
salt to taste

1. Place shrimp in a bowl and toss with dried herbs and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
2. Heat up a skillet to medium heat and melt butter. Add in garlic, celery, tomatoes and jalapeño and cook for a few minutes until tomatoes start to get mushy.
3. Add shrimp into cooked vegetables, turn down heat and mix to coat. Add salt to taste. Cook shrimp JUST until they turn pink and then remove from heat. Do not overcook.

Salad Fixin’s
Feel free to use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge as that is exactly what I did 🙂

Chopped lettuce or salad greens
Thinly sliced red and orange bell pepper
Grape or cherry tomatoes
Sliced cucumber
Sliced avocado
Sliced red onion
Sliced green onion

After you have prepared the Cajun salad dressing, jambalaya flavored shrimp and the croutons (unless omitting). Put the salad fixings in the bowl and layer on the shrimp and croutons and drizzle with yummy Cajun dressing. Stand back and admire. Take a picture or two. Post to Instagram and taunt your friends with the delicious healthy meal you just made. Oh, and then eat the damn thing!

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Low Calorie Shrimp Jambalaya with Egg Noodles

Last night was Mardi Gras and we most definitely had a hankering for some jambalaya (us and well… every other American it seems). I have to say that in the past my experience with jambalaya has mostly consisted of a box mix which is full of lots of preservatives, salt, added calories and usually empty promises. We’ve had quite a bit of rice lately so I thought I would try out my own recipe this time and pour it over a helping of egg noodles as I have a few bags of this stashed around the kitchen and it was begging to be eaten.

This dish actually turned out much better than I anticipated. After I thumbed through my notes of what I used, I also figured it was pretty low calorie. The worst part of this dish is the egg noodles which you can definitely sub for something with less calories or just eat it without any added carbs. A cup of cooked egg noodles is about 220 calories, the jambalaya (shrimp, veggies, sauce) was probably under 100 calories, I figure (with my best google attempt). That means that a pretty large serving is still hovering under 350 calories. Not bad I’d say, not bad. The spice level was a perfectly balanced medium and not too spicy, although you can sure add more spice if you’d like. My hubs shies away from the spicy hot dishes, while I gobble them up, so I usually err on the side of less is more when more people that just myself are eating.

You will notice that I added cauliflower to this recipe. I certainly know that it isn’t an ingredient that usually makes an appearance in this dish, however I had it to use up and took my liberties to do so. This is a great dish to add any other random veggies you have lying around as the cajun spice mix will likely make it taste very good and you won’t notice you are eating veggies (if that is a difficult thing for you).

And on with the recipe! Enjoy!

Servings: 4

Ingredients

12 oz. package of egg noodles
Water
1 lb. wild uncooked Shrimp, de-veined and tails removed (Medium to extra-large in size)
1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 crown cauliflower broken into small florets
1 cup bell peppers sliced (red, yellow, and green)
1/2 large onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 small roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup broth (I used chicken broth)
Cajun Spice Mix (See recipe below)

Cajun Spice Mix

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt (this is critical, DO NOT whatever you do use table salt or sea salt. Only Kosher or it will turn out too salty)
2 tsp. dried basil
2 Tb. paprika
1 Tb. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (this will result in medium spice, adjust according to preference)
1/4 tsp. cumin

Combine these seasonings in a bowl and mix until combined. This recipe will create more than you will need for the whole recipe, but I suggest putting in an airtight container to use later in other cajun inspired dishes (chicken, fish, shrimp, veggies.. etc.)

Steps for making Jambalaya

1. Make the cajun spice mix according to recipe above. Set aside. Have all other ingredients prepped.

2. Fill a pot with water, sprinkle with kosher salt, and put on the stove on High heat. Bring to a boil. Drop the noodles into the water and set timer (according to package directions).

3. Put shrimp in a bowl and stir in enough cajun spice mix to cover the shrimp. Set aside.

4.  Put a saute pan on the stove, pour in 1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil and heat oil on Medium-High heat.

5. Add chopped garlic, onion, bell peppers and cauliflower to pan and cook for a few minutes until the veggies get nice and seared, leaving then with some brown edges.

6. Sprinkle a bit of the reserved cajun seasoning mix onto the veggies (a couple tsp. is sufficient) and stir to coat.

7. Add the seasoned shrimp to the pan. Cook the mixture until shrimp is half cooked.

8. Add the broth and chopped roma tomatoes to pan. Stir mixture together. Drop the heat down to medium and cook for a few minutes so that some of the liquid reduces.

9. Drain noodles when they are done (according to package directions).

10. Place a scoop of noodles on a plate and cover with jambalaya mixture. Pat yourself on the back, and enjoy!

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