Cajun cuisine has become somewhat of a blanket term for a hybrid of Cajun and Creol cuisines throughout the U.S. In Louisiana, however, where both of these cultures were born and continue to thrive, there is a clear distinction between these respective cuisines and their histories.
This recipe draws from both cultures, with an emphasis on the fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs and spices used in traditional Cajun cooking. Similar to a simplified gumbo, this recipe features shrimp, sausage, hearty vegetables and flavorful cajun spices.
Table of Contents
Traditional Cajun Cooking
Traditional Cajun cooking, a mix of West African, French and Spanish cooking techniques, was often very simple and didn’t include the spiciness of Creol meals. They were largely rustic ‘country’ meals that relied heavily on what was locally available. This often meant the addition of three vegetables that make up ‘the trinity’ according to Cajun and Creol chefs; green bell pepper, onion, and celery. Other herbs and spices you might find in a cajun meal include garlic, paprika, thyme, file (ground sassafras leaves), parsley, green onions.
This ever-evolving cuisine was created by a group of French settlers who were displaced from Canada, and had to be resourceful with what they could find in their new southern climate. An authentic Cajun meal usually features a main dish of crawfish, shrimp, or andouille sausage, steamed rice, and a bowl of whatever vegetable is plentiful or available. These dishes would have all been served in separate bowls.
What we usually think of as cajun food today is some version of a spicy and aromatic rice, veggies, meat and seafood mixture. Most of these hybrid Cajun/Creol dishes can be attributed to the influential chef, Paul Prudhomme, who coined the term “Louisiana cooking”. He is the reason your typical Cajun seasoning now includes the heat of dried cayenne pepper.
The only true main difference between the two cuisines is (in most cases) the use of tomatoes. Cajun cooking usually does not include tomatoes, while Creol food does. For example, Cajun Gumbo is typically made without tomatoes, while Creol Jambalaya includes tomatoes as a base.
Although not 100 percent traditional, this recipe has all the feel and flavor of a rustic cajun meal. With a variety of fresh veggies, roasted sausage, shrimp and plenty of cajun spices, it’s hard to go wrong.
Also, I would suggest adding a “serving” section. Do you put the roasted veggies and shrimp on the rice, serve them separate, etc. Also, think the black rice cooks for about 40 minutes, until tender, fluff and turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Oh, and I would probably reverse the order or put in some direction to start the rice before you cook the veggies, etc so that they are done cooking all at the same time.
Roasted Cajun Shrimp and Sausage
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 14 ounce pork or chicken sausage sliced
- 2 medium-sized zucchini sliced
- 2 medium-sized yellow squash sliced
- ½ bunch asparagus sliced into thirds
- 2 red bell pepper chopped into chunks
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
- 1 cup Black rice
- 1 3/4 cup Water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl add the shrimp, sausage, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, bell pepper and salt and pepper. Add olive oil and cajun seasoning and toss until coated.
- Spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until shrimp is pink and vegetables are tender.
- Rinse rice
- Add rice and water to pot. Bring water to a boil. Cover pot with a lid. Turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside until sheet pan is ready.
From recipes using locally sourced ingredients and terroir-centric cooking, craft cocktails, to the latest in tech and home DIY projects, Michael yearns to share his learned and found knowledge of the world.