The only thing a lot of people know about Cajun food is that it's spicy. Yet while plenty of Cajun food is plenty spicy, reducing this diverse cuisine and its fascinating history to any singular element is definitely a huge mistake.

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If we want to understand Cajun food, though, first we've got to understand Cajuns! The term is actually derived from the term "Acadian," which once referred to the mixture of French colonists and indigenous people who resided in the New French colony of Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries.

However, when Acadia was taken over by the British during the French and Indian war, the Acadians refused to swear allegiance to their new leaders and were thus promptly expelled.

Many of these displaced Acadians ended up in Southern Louisiana, which was at that point occupied by the Spanish and eventually became the 18th American state.

Nowadays, the term Cajun refers not only to direct descendants of these Acadians but to anyone who can trace their ethnic roots to the Southern Louisiana region. It's a similar but distinct term, cuisine, and ethnic group than the one described as "Creole," though the two can occasionally overlap.

While the wealthier and more urban Creole colonists had access to more advanced methods of cooking and food preservation, the poorer Acadian transplants often had to rely on whatever ingredients they could find in their rural swamp-lands.

This partially explains the Cajun culinary propensity to utilize somewhat unusual animals for their meat, like alligators, catfish, and even raccoons!

It also explains the Cajun tendency to make use of every part of an animal in dishes like boudin (sausage made from pork liver and heart meat), head cheese (meat jelly made from pork head), and chaudin (stuffed pork stomach).

cajun

Though Cajun food may not be the first to come to mind if you're looking for a light and healthy meal, there is a lot we can learn from it from a wellness perspective.

For example, many Cajun dishes serve up an impressive dose of veggies by including at their base a "holy trinity" of onion, celery, and green bell pepper.

Plus, commonly used Cajun spices like garlic, pepper, and cayenne are some of the healthiest and most diet-friendly ingredients around!

However, other aspects of Cajun cuisine are a little more worrisome for someone watching their weight, like the Cajun tendency to fry food as in their famous "po boy" sandwich and their heavy use of a thickening agent called "roux," which is usually made from flour and oil or bacon fat.

So, a good middle-ground may be to take the best of what Cajun cuisine has to offer and leave behind the higher-calorie stuff, at least until you've completed the 123Diet!

Most supermarket "Cajun spice" blends out there contain only spices and salt, which means they are safe for all three phases of the 123Diet. However, you should probably check the ingredient list just to be sure.

We've also provided a homemade Cajun seasoning recipe if you'd rather make your own, and a recipe for a hot Cajun dressing that you can use on just about anything.

Finally, you'll find a recipe for some light and easy Cajun Baked Fish. If you're still hungry for something nutritious and packed with flavor, you can check out our recipe for Baked Cajun Chicken!

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

homemade cajun seasoning

Make the most of what Cajun cuisine has to offer with this healthy spice blend! Estimated nutritional value of 11 calories, .2g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.3 g carbohydrate, .8g fiber, .5g protein, and .5g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
N/A
Yield
16 one tbsp servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Use as desired.

Recipe provided by

Hot Cajun Dressing/Dipping Sauce

hot cajun dressing

Use this hot cajun dressing to liven up a lovely salad! Estimated nutritional value (if one serving) of 16 calories, .2g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1.4g carbohydrate, .2g fiber, .3g protein, and .7g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
N/A
Yield
Makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ΒΌ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning mix (optional)
  • Stevia (optional)

Directions
Combine ingredients in small bowl and pour over salad. You can also serve this as a dipping sauce or marinade for vegetables or fish.

Recipe provided by

Cajun Baked Fish

cajun baked fish

Enjoy a great tasting lean meal of Cajun Baked Fish! Estimated nutritional value depends on fish choice.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 Melba toast)

Ingredients

  • 100 grams your choice of white fish
  • 1 serving Melba toast crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of thyme

Directions
Combine spices and Melba toast powder. Dip fish in lemon juice and coat with spice mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or broil until lightly brown. Garnish with parsley.

Phase 3 Modifications
Dip fish in egg and brush with olive oil. Serve with a Cajun cream sauce.

Recipe provided by

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