Scan this QR Code to follow PureWow on Snapchat!
PureWow

Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is the last day of the Carnival season just before Lent. (Mark your cals—in 2021, it takes place on February 16.) It’s also an excuse to go hog wild with food and festivities…but you don’t have to hop a flight to the Big Easy or even leave your kitchen to do that. Here, 25 Mardi Gras food ideas—like gumbo, étouffée and, yes, king cake—that celebrate the flavors of the holiday.

RELATED: 50 Easter Dessert Recipes That Are *Almost* Too Pretty to Eat

1. New Orleans-Style Beignets

These pillowy bites are easier to make at home than you might think. Put on a strong pot of coffee to pair with them.

Get the recipe

Related Videos

2. Shrimp Étouffée

Étouffée means “smothered” in French—as in, shrimp smothered in a rich, spicy creole-style gravy.

Get the recipe

3. Seafood Gumbo

The secret to maximum flavor in this gumbo is the roux, a mix of flour and butter that gets cooked until it’s deeply browned and toasty. It thickens the broth and adds a ton of depth.

Get the recipe

4. Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya

Fun fact: Creole jambalaya (like this one) contains tomatoes, while Cajun jambalaya does not.

Get the recipe

5. Shrimp Po’ Boys with Avocado-Mango Slaw

Traditionally, the shrimp in a po’ boy is breaded and fried. This version leans on pan-searing for a lighter take that’s no less tasty.

Get the recipe

6. Easy Shrimp Creole

FYI, shrimp creole is kind of like étouffée, but the base is thinner and less spicy. Serve it over rice to soak up all that sauce.

Get the recipe

7. Mardi Gras King Cake

Hello—it wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without this gooey, cinnamon-laced treat. The plastic baby is optional; the green, gold and purple sprinkles are not.

Get the recipe

8. Red Beans and Rice

The andouille sausage is the key to adding smokiness to this dish.

Get the recipe

9. New Orleans Gumbo

This classic Creole gumbo is packed with okra, tomatoes, sausage and shrimp. It takes a bit of time to cook, but the results are worth the wait.

Get the recipe

10. Fried Catfish

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of frying fish at home. If you have a Dutch oven or large pot, you don’t even need a deep fryer.

Get the recipe

11. New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

In New Orleans, barbecue shrimp has nothing to do with a grill. The Worcestershire-based sauce gives the shrimp a reddish color, hence the name.

Get the recipe

12. Hushpuppies

These cornmeal cuties are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and begging to be dipped in the condiment of your choice.

Get the recipe

13. Mardi Gras King Cake French Toast

Voilà, an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. (It is Fat Tuesday, after all.)

Get the recipe

14. Cajun Garlic Shrimp and Grits

You’re in luck, because this dish takes just 25 minutes to make.

Get the recipe

15. Shrimp Boil Skewers with Corn, Sausage and Potatoes

We strongly encourage you to eschew plates and napkins in favor of lining the table with newspaper.

Get the recipe

16. Jambalaya

You can customize this recipe as you please, with more or less spice, swapping out the protein or by making it vegetarian.

Get the recipe

17. Weekend Gumbo with Shrimp and Sausage

This one freezes well, so you can extend the benefits of your hard work.

Get the recipe

18. Bananas Foster

Are you like a fancy restaurant chef or something?

Get the recipe

19. Sheet-Pan Jambalaya

Another jambalaya recipe, but this one’s different. It all comes together on your trusty sheet pan for an *almost* no-cleanup meal.

Get the recipe

20. Shrimp Po’ Boy with Remoulade

No need to get fancy; iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and remoulade are all this sandwich needs.

Get the recipe

21. Southern Pralines

The most difficult part of making these candies is stopping yourself from eating them all at once.

Get the recipe

22. Polish Paczki

OK, OK, these filled doughnuts aren’t a New Orleans tradition, but they are a Fat Tuesday treat. Plus, they’re delicious, so we couldn’t skip ’em.

Get the recipe

23. Muffaletta Sandwich

This staple sammie is like a mashup of the best Creole and Italian flavors in one dish.

Get the recipe

24. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

If you’re not able to get your hands on fresh seafood, you could also opt for this chicken and sausage version of the Southern comfort food.

Get the recipe

25. Dirty Rice

You might think of rice as a side, but this version is packed with enough protein that it holds its own as the star of the table.

Get the recipe

RELATED: 17 Ridiculously Easy Fish Recipes That Anyone Can Make

From Around The Web