Healthy Recipes | Cajun Shrimp Pasta

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Healthy Recipes | Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Carol Blair
Sunday, 15 September 2019

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Time to get sassy, healthy Cajun Shrimp Pasta style! Whole wheat noodles tossed in a lightly spicy, creamy sauce, then loaded up with juicy sautéed shrimp and veggies, this slimmed-down recipe is ready in 30 and will have you dancing around your kitchen like you’re in downtown New Orleans.

When we were younger, my parents would take us to this all-American eatery on weekends when everyone was antsy to get out of the house. Crayons and tic-tac-toe for my sisters and me. Margaritas for mom and dad.

At some point in between these two life phases, I graduated to the adult side of the menu. Cajun Shrimp Pasta was one of my go-to orders. Spicy blackened shrimp cooked in a thick alfredo sauce, it was indulgent, heavy on the penne, light on the veggies, and exactly that sort of thing that high school Erin craved.

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe is going to be your new favorite weeknight night meal! Made with homemade cajun seasoning, delicious shrimp, creamy sauce, and penne noodles, it comes together in a snap. Based on my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, which has been a huge hit, this one is even easier!

I love those little punks so much, but my goodness, it was tiiiiiiiiiiime for them to go back to school. My oldest kiddo was so apprehensive about it and really just sad about summer coming to a close and came home beaming because he had the best day with his friends. It made my heart so happy.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Yield: 4 –6 Servings
Prep time:10 Mins
Cook time:20 Mins
Total time:30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch green onions — thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes — drained
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt — divided, plus additional to taste
  • 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper — thinly sliced and halved
  • 1 meduim green bell pepper — thinly sliced and halved
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella (cremini) mushrooms — sliced
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese — softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper — divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter — divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper — thinly sliced and halved
  • 8 ounces whole wheat linguine noodles — or similar long noodles
  • 1 pound large shrimp — peeled and deveined*
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning — divided, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder — divided
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Instructions:

  1. First, Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta according to the package instructions for al dente.
  2. Second, Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat. Once the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the shrimp and cook just until they turn from gray to pink, are lightly firm, and fully cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook!) With a slotted spoon, immediately remove them to a large plate or large bowl. Reduce the skillet heat to medium.
  3. Next, Heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the red, orange, and green bell peppers. Cook 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 additional minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until most of their liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes. Add two-thirds of the green onions. With a large spoon, scoop up the vegetables into the plate or bowl with the shrimp.
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and cornstarch until well combined.
  5. Grab a whisk and heat the final 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Pour in the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the cream cheese in small pieces. (I usually tear and drop it right in with my fingers.) Whisk constantly and bring the mixture to a steady (but not violent) simmer, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened, whisking all the while so that you have a smooth, creamy sauce. Stir in the final 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
  6. Return the vegetables and shrimp to the skillet. If there are a lot of juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl, you can choose to add it if you want a thinner sauce or omit it if you prefer a thicker sauce. Drain the noodles and add them to skillet. With a long pair of tongs, toss to fully combine and coat every bit with that yummy, creamy sauce. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes:

  • For the speediest possible prep, purchase peeled and deveined shrimp. (Easy-peel and deveined would also work.) I buy frozen and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Tails on or off is your preference.


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