6 Ways to Use Cajun Seasoning That Aren't Gumbo
It's more versatile than you'd think
If you've ever made gumbo or red beans and rice, you probably have a container of Cajun seasoning lingering somewhere in your pantry. Maybe you only bust it out on the occasion when you'll be making up a bunch of jambalaya, or maybe you already know that it's the kind of spice blend that you can use on all kinds of things that aren't necessarily straight-ahead Cajun dishes. It's true—Cajun seasoning is usually a mix of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne, and other spices. That's a flavor profile that's nice with a whole lot of things aside from jambalaya. Here are a few ways to use that Cajun seasoning you might not have thought about.
Fresh popcorn off the stove is a great vehicle for lots of spices, but one of my favorite is Cajun seasoning. Just pop up a big batch of kernels on the stove or in the microwave, throw the popcorn in a bowl with a little bit of oil and a couple teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and toss to coat the kernels in the spice mixture somewhat evenly. It's OK if not every piece gets the same amount—it's kind of better that way. Snack.
If you want a way to add some extra oomph to storebought creamy dips like ranch or blue cheese, a good way is to stir in Cajun seasoning to taste. If you don't have a storebought dip on hand but you do have Greek yogurt or sour cream, just mix in Cajun seasoning and lemon juice into the yogurt or sour cream and taste until it seems delicious enough to dunk corn chips in.
Quick Spice Rub
Got some chicken breasts or thighs and no idea what to do with them? Use Cajun seasoning as a quick spice rub before you roast them. Same goes for a nice piece of fish, like salmon, or even a pork shoulder. In a pinch, Cajun seasoning adds a lot of flavor when you need it.
As with popcorn, Cajun seasoning adds a great extra bit of zip to a vehicle of butter and salt like croutons. You can also use it in the breadcrumbs on top of a pasta bake or casserole. Just stir in a bit along with the salt and oil and toast the croutons or breadcrumbs up.
Strictly speaking, Micheladas don't have anything to do with Cajun cuisine. But if you're making a Bloody Mary or a Michelada, try rimming the class with Cajun seasoning and salt for a fun twist on the familiar cocktail.
If you're roasting vegetables as a side, or even as a topper for a grain bowl, tossing them in Cjaun seasoning before they go into the oven adds some depth of flavor that rounds out an otherwise-bland meal. When you toss the vegetables in oil and salt, toss in some Cajun seasoning before spreading the vegetables out on a sheet pan.