10 NOLA-Inspired Recipes to Make for Mardi Gras

©peeter viisimaa

peeter viisimaa

We have New Orleans to thank for more than a few dishes that can be enjoyed year-round, but there’s no better time to enjoy its influence than Mardi Gras. If you’re a long way away from the Crescent City, bring the flavors of the French Quarter home with fluffy beignets, mouthwatering po’ boys and a beautifully bedazzled king cake. Here are some of our favorite NOLA-inspired recipes to make for Mardi Gras.

Since Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, has to do with indulging before Lent, we’d say beignets definitely deserve a place on your menu. Fried until they’re golden-brown and finished with a generous topping of powdered sugar, these sweet fritters take some time and care to make but are well worth the effort.

Originating at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, the muffaletta sandwich is made of layers of Italian cold cuts, slices of provolone and an olive salad, all piled inside a round loaf of Italian bread. Enjoy Damaris Phillips’ recipe with a homemade tapenade of olives, roasted red peppers, pickled vegetables, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm 
Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin


Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Deep in the culinary heart of this coastal city there’s seafood and a whole lot of shrimp. For this dish, shrimp is infused with rich Creole flavor and served in a broth with corn and tomatoes.

Virginia Willis' NOLA BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy for FoodNetwork.com

NOLA BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy

Virginia Willis' NOLA BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy for FoodNetwork.com

Photo by: Virginia Willis ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Virginia Willis, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Pretty much any filling goes when it comes to this classic NOLA sandwich. In this recipe, the savory filling is shrimp, poached in a rich, buttery sauce made with lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, paprika and cayenne. This sauce is what defines a classic New Orleans dish, “barbecue” shrimp, which never hits the barbecue grill at all but has loads of smoky flavor.


Photo by: Christopher Testani

Christopher Testani

Cooked in the slow cooker for 4 hours, this Jambalaya recipe makes a hearty meal with rice, vegetables, andouille sausage (a Cajun staple) and shrimp.


Photo by: Lara Robby/Studio D ©Copyright Hearst Commmunications Inc., 2008

Lara Robby/Studio D, Copyright Hearst Commmunications Inc., 2008

Of course, a Mardi Gras celebration isn’t complete without a king cake. Impress your guests by baking one from scratch or save time with a shortcut king cake, made with store-bought crescent roll dough. Don’t forget the baby!

Food Styling: Eugene Jho


Food Styling: Eugene Jho

Photo by: Lisa Shin ©Lisa Shin Photography, Inc.

Lisa Shin , Lisa Shin Photography, Inc.

You can have your King Cake and drink it too with this easy Mardi Gras-inspired cocktail. If you don’t have King Cake-flavored vodka, you can use vanilla-flavored vodka and add 2 drops of almond extract.

The Crescent City is also the birthplace of a few famous cocktails, perfect for a Mardi Gras bash. Ramos Gin Fizz is one dating back to 1888, made with gin, light cream, orange blossom water, club soda and lime and lemon juice.

For a drink you can make in one big batch, try our recipe for Hurricane Passion Punch. Almond extract is the key ingredient that ties all the fruity flavors together.

Named after the French Quarter (Vieux Carre is its original French name), this cocktail contains rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, and Benedictine liqueur.

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