Great Low Carb Cajun and Creole Cooking
When it comes to big, bold flavours full of spice and loaded with vegetables and protein, you don’t need to look any further than Cajun and Creole cooking. Made famous in the great state of Louisiana, these vibrant cooking styles have a lot of similarities between them, but also a few differences that help distinguish the two from each other. In this article, we’ll discuss the key elements of Cajun and Creole cooking styles, as well as provide a few amazing recipes that you’ll definitely love. So, without any further delay, let’s start with a look at the world of Cajun cooking!
Overview of Cajun Cooking
The word ‘Cajun’ is actually derived from the word ‘Acadian’, which refers to French colonists from the New Brunswick area of Canada and who came to the Louisiana area as a result of forced relocation early in the history of North American settlement. Forced to be resourceful and quickly learn how to survive in an unfamiliar environment, the early Cajuns developed a wide range of distinctive foods that focused on maximizing their use of ingredients and letting very little go to waste.
Cajun cooking is stereotypically known to be quite spicy, however this is a bit inaccurate. A better way to describe Cajun cuisine would be heavily seasoned, and not always relying on hot pepper powders like cayenne in every dish. In fact, the most distinguishing aspect of Cajun cooking is the dedication to a trio of vegetables that are found in an overwhelming majority of Cajun recipes. This trio is known as the ‘holy trinity of Cajun food’, and consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery.
Overview of Creole Cooking
The origins of Creole cuisine are decidedly different from those of Cajun, in spite of sharing many similar ingredients. Creole was a term used to describe a more affluent and fortunate group of settlers in the Louisiana region who came directly to the area from France and Spain in the 18th century, as well as locals who had emigrated to the urban areas from other parts of the world. It is for this reason that the typical ingredients in Creole cuisine include a broader range of spices and seasonings that were more readily available in the wealthier urban areas of Louisiana and popular among the diverse population.
In addition to having a broader base of spices drawn from a more international palette, Creole and Cajun cuisine also differ in elements such as how they approach base culinary processes like making a roux. Creole roux typically uses butter and flour, whereas Cajun roux uses oil and flour. While this may seem like a minor difference, the resulting flavours are quite distinctive, and this is one of the main identifiers between the two types of cooking.
In a nutshell, the simplest way to describe the differences between Cajun and Creole cooking is to describe Cajun as ‘rustic’ or ‘rural’, and Creole as ‘urban’ or ‘fancy’.
Now that you’ve got the basics on the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisine, let’s explore a few delicious low carb recipes that bring the flavours of Louisiana home to your kitchen.
Jambalaya is one of the most widely known foods in the world of Cajun cooking. It’s a flavourful stew consisting of a variety of meats and vegetables, and uses plenty of seasonings and spice to produce the unmistakable taste known around the globe. Typical jambalaya includes rice, but this particular recipe from Kevin at FitMenCook.com swaps out the traditional rice for one made from cauliflower, adding even more vegetable content to this already healthy and low carb dinner.
Shrimp and seafood are extremely common in Cajun and Creole recipes, which is no surprise given that Louisiana is right on the Gulf of Mexico and has a massive fishing industry. This means that you’ll find all kinds of recipes that use shrimp in them. This particular recipe for low carb shrimp Creole comes from Scott at IdRatherBeAChef.com, and it’s just brilliant. It’s got just the right amount of spice, so it’s not too hot and not too mild, but of course you can adjust it either way if you prefer.
You’d be hard pressed to find a Cajun or Creole restaurant that doesn’t have gumbo on its menu. Gumbo is a stew similar to jambalaya in the main ingredients, but differs in the fact that gumbo usually has a thicker texture, and is served alongside rice instead of incorporating the rice in to the stew. This particular low carb gumbo recipe comes from Lindsay at ThatsLowCarb.com, and uses a tasty mix of shrimp and andouille sausage to complement the vegetables in a way that you will definitely fall in love with.
Bringing the flavours of Louisiana to your kitchen table is easy with recipes like these. Cajun and Creole foods are a great way to spice up your weekly meal plans with some big flavours and plenty of healthy vegetables and proteins to help you stay on track with your low carb diet. Also, if you’re interested in adding some Louisiana spice to some of your other favourite dishes, check out this Cajun Spice Rub from Hot Mamas, which is great for beef, chicken, pork and seafood. We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about Cajun and Creole foods.