Weeknight Shorts: Cajun Fried Rice

Fried rice is bar none my favorite way to use leftover rice. Whether you have a few boxes from takeout or the brown rice from your kebab dinner the other night is looking for some love, fried rice is an amazing way to give it new life. And you can and should look beyond traditional Asian options too. Fried rice makes for brilliant fusion food and this time around, I'm helping you take it to Cajun country!

Packed with lots of vegetables, spicy sausage, and tender shrimp, this fried rice goes from inspired idea to the dinner table in about 20 minutes. Hooray for andouille sausage - which only needs a little texture - and quick-cooking shrimp! You can tweak the offering in this fried rice a bit, but try to keep them in line with the Cajun theme … or decide you want a different theme and then write to let me know about what you did!

Corn muffins, a light salad, or even just a plate of beautifully ripe tomatoes drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper will all work nicely with this dish. I like a little chilled white wine, but a good light beer or dry cider will also do the trick. Enjoy!

Cajun Fried Rice

  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 8 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning - I use Penzeys
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ½ green pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup sliced green cabbage
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 5 cups cooked rice, preferably day-old or thawed frozen
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari

In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage in a single layer nd cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside.

Add the shrimp to a plate and season with the Cajun seasoning blend; set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion, pepper, tomatoes, and cabbage. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the seasoned shrimp, scallions, and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until the garlic is fragrant and the scallions start to soften. Push everything to one side of the pan.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan along with the rice and soy sauce or tamari. Stir to incorporate, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes so the bottom starts to become crispy. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, just until the rice is heated through. Add the reserved andouille sausage to the pan and stir everything to incorporate. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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