This delicious pasta recipe is loaded with Cajun seasoned Shrimp and Vegetables.
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About a month ago I saw a tweet on my twitter feed about a blogger recipe challenge by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends. I was intrigued, so I went to their website to check out what they were all about. Turns out it's a company started by a mother of three, and they make all kinds of ready to use spice blends for seasoning meat and seafood.
The thing that I really liked about them is that their spice blends don't have any salt, sugar, MSG, or any other fillers. Just pure flavor from healthy spices. I liked that, so I decided to participate in the recipe challenge. I asked for the Cajun Seafood spice blend, and received it in the mail a week later. There was a lot of seasoning in one packet, so after making this recipe I still had more than half left over.
I had a few ideas in my head for recipes using this spice blend, and after going back and forth between the ideas for a while, I decided to make this Cajun Shrimp and Vegetables Pasta. It just seemed like a perfect, wholesome dish that is super delicious, filling, and packed with vegetables. I always like to add as many vegetables as possible to my dishes - not necessarily to ''hide" them, but just to make sure that I am eating as much healthy stuff as I can. That's how the spinach got into this recipe.
The recipe below makes about 4 servings, but it can easily be doubled. Just make sure you have a large enough skillet to cook all the veggies, otherwise things can get messy.
Oh, and the other recipe ideas I had for this Cajun spice packet? Don't worry, I will post them soon too, since there was plenty of spice in the spice package to cook with. 🙂
Cajun Shrimp and Vegetable Pasta
- 8 oz pasta (1/2 box) such as penne rigate
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or you can use water)
- 1 lb shrimp , thawed, cleaned and de-veined
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Cajun Seafood seasoning*
- 4 slices bacon , sliced into 1/2 inch strips
- 5 oz baby bella mushrooms , sliced (about 8 mushrooms)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes , halved
- 1 small bell pepper (I used red), chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 onion , finely diced
- 1 cup spinach , tightly packed
- 2 tablespoons cilantro , chopped
- Optional: shaved Parmesan for serving
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Or you can cook it in vegetable broth for extra flavor. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it, and rinse with cold water. Put the pasta back into the pot and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Tip: Chop all the vegetables first, and then the bacon. This way you can use just one cutting board for this recipe.
- In a medium bowl, toss the raw shrimp with 1 tablespoon of Cajun Seafood seasoning. If your Cajun seasoning doesn't contain salt, you can add pinch of salt to the bowl and mix well.
- Heat a large skillet and add the sliced bacon. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Drain the oil into a bowl (reserve it for now!). Then transfer the bacon bits to a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.
- Add the seasoned shrimp to the same skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is fully cooked. The skillet should have enough grease on it from the bacon to cook the shrimp without sticking. Set the shrimp aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease to the skillet. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to sweat. Add the chopped bell pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sliced grape tomatoes and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seafood seasoning, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach leaves and cook for 1 minute, or until they are wilted.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the pot of pasta and mix well. Add the bacon bits, cooked shrimp, and fresh cilantro. Mix well. Serve with shaved Parmesan on top.
- Cajun seasoning is often very spicy. Use more or less to taste.
- I did not need to add any extra salt to this recipe, since the salt from the bacon and the flavor from the seasoning was enough. If you like things salty, feel free to season with additional salt in step 6.
Kitchen stuff used in this recipe:
Hungry for more Cajun-inspired dishes? Check out these recipes: