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How to Make Cajun Shrimp

How to make Cajun Shrimp - weeknight dinner recipe

Wondering how to make cajun shrimp? It's the perfect weeknight dinner recipe and it's easier than you think!

In my mind, nothing makes a better quick and healthy dinner than shrimp. They cook SO quickly. If you prep your vegetables ahead of time, this sauté can literally be ready in minutes – the perfect weeknight dinner recipe!

While the polenta takes a bit longer, you can make that ahead of time too if desired and simply reheat.

If you’re Paleo, try serving the shrimp and vegetables over a simple cauli mash instead of polenta. You definitely want something to soak up the juice.

This meal comes together fast and is both light and comforting, perfect for these early spring days.

I hope you love it!

Cajun Shrimp w/ Zucchini and Peppers over Polenta

Ingredients

For the Polenta:

  • 1 cup medium grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Shrimp and Vegetables:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 # jumbo shrimp, deveined
  • 2-3 tsp Cajun seasoning*
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the Polenta

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add 1 cup cornmeal, whisking constantly.
  • Add 1⁄2 tsp salt, reduce heat to low & continue to cook for 30-35 min.
  • Whisk occasionally, making sure to scrape edges/bottom of pan to avoid sticking.

For the Shrimp and Vegetables:

  • Thinly Slice red bell pepper.
  • Slice zucchini into thin rounds.
  • Heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan.
  • Add 2 sliced zucchini and 1 sliced red bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  • Add shrimp and 2-3 tsp Cajun seasoning (depending on desired spice level).
  • Cook until shrimp are curled and no longer pink.
  • Serve shrimp and vegetables over polenta.

Notes

*Note: read all ingredient lists; avoid added msg, sugar, gluten, etc.

What are some healthy Cajun spice blends?

Using a pre-made spice blend makes weeknight dinner recipes like this one so quick, but this is definitely an area where you have to be a little bit careful.

Many spice blends have excessive salt, added sugar, msg, or other weird ingredients you would never put into a homemade blend. That's why it's important to always read the labels and look for simple ingredients you're familiar with.

Two of my go-to sources for spices are Thrive Market (they have a cajun spice blend here) and Primal Palate. They don't offer a Cajun blend yet, but their bae seasoning would be a delicious way to mix it up!

If you do want to make your own, you'll need paprika, black pepper, oregano, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix about 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, and 1/2 Tbsp each black pepper, cayenne pepper and oregano. The beauty of making it on your own is that you can adjust the seasoning to taste. Add less cayenne if you have little kids or don't like spice. Use smoked paprika if you want a smoky flavor. Make it your own!

This will make more than you need so just store it in a little jar because you're going to want to make this again!

How to make Cajun shrimp a meal prep recipe

While you should definitely cook the shrimp right before serving, everything else in this recipe can be prepped ahead.

Washing and chopping all of your vegetables for the week is a great place to start with meal prep, even if you do nothing else. Wash and chop the zucchini and store in the refrigerator.

Prepare the polenta ahead of time if you want a really quick weeknight dinner recipe.

If you do those two things, the actual cajun shrimp will come together in only a few minutes. That's one of the many reasons I love shrimp, they just cook so fast, making them the perfect protein for a weeknight dinner recipe!

What are the nutritional highlights of this quick and healthy dinner?

We've established that this is a super fast weeknight dinner, but what makes it quick and healthy?

Shrimp

High in selenium, Vitamin B12, and iron, shrimp are an excellent source of lean protein. Furthermore, they serve as a significant source of iodine, which supports healthy thyroid and brain function.

If you're not satisfied with your local seafood counter, make sure to check out Vital Choice for a reliably high quality source of seafood.

Zucchini

Zucchini is rich in many vitamins, but is especially high in Vitamin A, which supports vision and immune function. In addition, the zucchini skin is high in antioxidants. Super low in carbs, zucchini is also a great choice for those following a Keto or low carb diet.

Bell Peppers

Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber, bell peppers provide tons of good-for-you vitamins.

How to make cajun shrimp Keto friendly

The shrimp and vegetables are actually already super low carb, making this recipe easily adapted to a Keto lifestyle. You'll want to replace the polenta with something like cauliflower mash to keep the carbs low.

Also consider adding another source of fat as shrimp are a super low fat protein. Crumbled bacon, some chorizo, or simply diced avocado and a drizzle of olive oil would all be tasty ways to increase the fat.

What are some other quick and healthy dinner recipes?

When I think about quick and healthy dinner recipes I consider what can be prepped ahead and what proteins can cook super quickly on dish day. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started!

Honey Ginger Salmon

Weeknight Oriental Cashew Chicken

Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

Mexican Jicama Shrimp Saute

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Allison Schaaf Prep DishPrep Dish is a gluten-free & paleo meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, gluten-free, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Click to start

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