Not all of us are eager to participate in the delicious chaos of the annual Mardi Gras celebrations that involve boisterous revelry in crowded streets, beads, and bare bosoms, and of course, a giant parade complete with floats of every size, shape and color.
But the food, oh the food, is another story altogether. Few of us can resist the lure of indulging our taste buds on Fat Tuesday, which originally was all about emptying the pantry of everything that could pose as temptation during the upcoming austere Lenten season. Hence, pancakes, all types of meat products and, of course, anything even remotely decadent had to be devoured or destroyed.
While we're not recommending that you eat your way through the contents of your kitchen cupboards, you could feel free to try out these fun and simple (and of course, healthier) versions of the six classic Mardi Gras favorite foods that we can’t seem to get enough of:
Pancake Recipes: These are the default feature of every Mardi Gras celebration and are super easy to whip up. Get the kids to help prepare and it will be a lot more fun.
Jumpin’ Jambalaya: A satisfying and rather nutritious mix of rice, shrimp, sausage and vegetables, this dish is much loved by kids and adults, alike. Scoop some into a bowl and eat it warm or cold, there’s just no going wrong with it.
Creamy Oyster Chowder or Oyster Shooters: Long revered as aphrodisiacs, oysters are the kryptonite of seafood lovers around the world. If you’re not a fan of the sometimes unnervingly slimy texture of raw oysters, skip the shooters and go for the chowder instead.
Gumbo: The viscosity of okra is what literally binds this dish together. But instead of the shrimp, it can also be made with vegetarian options like tempeh.
Black-Eyed Pea Hush Puppies With Red Pepper Coulis: The cutesy name comes from the fact that these were used to quiet the hungry dogs barking in the night but we’re totally focused on how delicious they are. Enough to quiet growling tummies!
Low-Cal Sautéed Collard Greens With Garlic or Sautéed Black Eyed Peas & Collard Greens: The mainstay of every Mardi Gras meal, these are healthy and tasty, which is why they’re not going off the menu anytime soon.