Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole - This Gal Cooks #cleaneating #healthy #seafood

Shrimpy shrimp shrimp shrimp casserole. Made in a cast iron skillet. Cause cast iron skillets just do it better. From stove-top to oven in a cinch. All of those tasty flavors stay in one place until they meet your plate, ready to be devoured.

This was the first recipe I made after we got home from vacation. Our now want to ditch Florida and move to North Carolina vacation. It’s beautiful up there. And I got to see snow! Did I mention snow? It only took 32 1/2 years for me to finally see snow. Funny story – I had to ask Ken if what I was seeing was actually snow. It was in the 50s when I first stumbled upon it. I thought snow would be melted in those temps so I figured someone had dumped a bunch of icy, frozen water into a flower bed. Lucky for me, it was snow. And I saw a lot more of it. I even got to walk in it. E-X-C-I-T-E-D. That was me.

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole - This Gal Cooks #cleaneating #healthy #seafood

Unfortunately, I was sick during the entire vacation. It didn’t stop me from enjoying myself, though. And we sorta acted like we lived there – we just lounged around the hotel room and watched TV. But that’s not all we did. We did do some exploring, went to a state park, visited downtown, drove around some neighborhoods. We got a little feel of the North Carolina life. Enough to know that it’s definitely a place we’d like to possibly move to one day.

So don’t ya know, this Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole was GOOD! Definitely a great recipe to make after coming home from a vacation that’s meals consisted of pizza and restaurant food. This recipe is packed full of protein rich ingredients and fresh veggies and it’s clean! And get this, it’s on the table and ready to devour in 30 minutes. And it’s under 450 calories per serving!

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole - This Gal Cooks #cleaneating #healthy #seafood

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole

This recipe is easy to make. Chop your tomatoes, sprinkle with cajun seasoning and drizzle with a little olive oil and then set aside. Sprinkle your shrimp with cajun seasoning and then saute in a cast iron skillet until opaque. Remove those shrimp from the pan and then saute some onions and jalapenos. This gal loves the heat but you can leave the jalapenos out if you’re not digging them like me. After those little veggies are done cooking, mix in the quinoa, tomatoes, some tomato paste and a few other goodies, top with the shrimp and shredded fontina cheese. Throw in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. It’s just that simple!

4.8 from 17 reviews
Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: healthy, protein, casserole
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • ½ C chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2½ tsp cajun seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2½ C cooked quinoa
  • 1 C shredded fontina cheese
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
Instructions
  1. Toss the shrimp and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning together, set aside.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet.) Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook until the onion and jalapeno are tender, stirring often. Mix in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ tsp Cajun seasoning and tomato chunks. Top with the shrimp and then sprinkle with the fontina cheese.
  5. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, turn on the broiler to high and broil until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Notes
If you don't like quinoa, you can sub the quinoa with brown rice.

Calorie content for 4 large (approximately 1.5 C) servings is around 410 calories per serving. For 6 (approximately 1 C) small servings, the calorie count is about 270 calories per serving.

UPDATE: If you do not have a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, after mixing in the quinoa, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning and tomato chunks in step 4, transfer the ingredients to a casserole dish and then top with the shrimp and fontina cheese.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1.5 C Calories: 410 Fat: 22g Carbohydrates: 32g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 331 Protein: 22g

 

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole - This Gal Cooks #cleaneating #healthy #seafood

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Comments

    • says

      Yes, dark and moody shrimp. I don’t think they are too happy that they ended up on top of my casserole. Heh Heh. Thanks for the pin and for stopping by, Claire!

      • Félix Mènard says

        Don’t get me wrong, I love quinoa and this is a good recipe, but there is nothing Cajun about it (except Cajun Seasoning, whatever that is. Tony Chachere, maybe?); Cajuns are fond of the trinity: celery, bell pepper and onion, and they don’t use cilantro. They are are very parsimonious in the use of tomato in cooking. While this is a delicious recipe, I do not understand calling it Cajun.

        • says

          Fair enough – you could call it cajun inspired. Or cajun inspired with a twist. I used a cajun style seasoning – and no, it wasn’t Tony Chachere. But as with any food in America, there are inspirations from many different types of cuisines. Italian, Mexican and Chinese dishes in America are not actually authentic recipes, instead inspired recipes.

          I’ve never claimed to be an expert in cuisines or cooking. Heck, I’ve never attended culinary school. But if my recipe is *inspired* by something, then I will use that inspiration in the title.

          Thanks so much for stopping by, Felix. Have a good evening! :)

          • erin says

            Looks cajun enough to me and i should know…my last name is kibodeaux. Sub some dirty rice and top with hot sauce and your all in lol. Good looking recipe no matter what you call it

      • james says

        hi. just wanted to say i was raised in nc and hve live here all my live except 4 years in fla in the service.i made the biggest mistake when i got out of service and came back here. didn`t have to pay state fla tax while in fla, but as soon as i came back to nc they wanted 4 years back tax even though i didn`t live here then.. yes it is a pretty sate, but they tax you for everything here. humidity here is horribel. and so is the in my opinion crooked politics. might want to rethnk on moving here.

  1. says

    This looks yummy. I’ve been looking for a good shrimp & quinoa recipe of late, I’m definitely going to try this one. Thanks!

  2. says

    Julie, this looks so, so good – always love finding a new recipe for shrimp! So sorry that you were sick during your vacation though happy to hear you were able to enjoy and relax. Thanks for sharing this and pinning – looks amazing!

  3. says

    This shrimp casserole looks amazing Julie! I love the cajun flavors in here and adding quinoa sounds fantastic! Stunning photos too girl – pinning :)

  4. says

    Being from Louisiana, I’ve had my fair share of cajun dishes!
    Yours looks absolutely delicious! Would love to try it for myself. (I probably shouldn’t be reading this absolutely starving, but…)

    • says

      Oh I know exactly what you mean. It’s just like grocery shopping when you’re starving…well, almost. At least when you’re on the computer you can’t just start grabbing stuff and loading up a shopping cart! Thanks so much for stopping by, Graham!

  5. says

    Julie, this looks delicious! Pinned! I have found tomorrows dinner, everyone’s going to go crazy for this. Beautiful pics! Stopping by from Marvelous Mondays Link Party, thanks for hosting!

    • says

      Yes! You should give it a try, Ashley! There are so many things that you can make with that cast iron skillet. I’ve even made cornbread in mine! Thanks for stopping by. :)

      • Flaghorse says

        Cast iron rocks! I don’t understand why it is so under appreciated. I use mine for about everything as I have many shapes and sizes. It it seasoned so well it behaves like a non stick surface.

  6. says

    Julie, It’s good to hear you had a relaxing vacation in spite of not feeling well. We love shrimp in our house and this recipe looks delicious … can’t wait to try this. Pinning!

  7. says

    I’m so sorry to hear that your were sick for most of the vacation Julie. But I’m glad you two had a great time! I’ve heard NC is beautiful and just a great place to live. It’s right now our #1 compromise state to move to come next year when I’m job hunting. This quinoa casserole looks delicious and girl your photos are stunning!! Love the dark and moody :) Pinning to my dinner rotations!

    • says

      Thank you, Zainab! You will love it there if you move there! Have you looked into South Florida? There are a ton of research facilities down here. I think I may have told you that before but I can’t remember! We have VGTI, Max Plank, Scripps and I think there are a couple more. :)

      Hope you have a good week and weekend. So glad it is almost here!

  8. Anna says

    This recipe looks delish, but tomatoes are a no-no in cast iron! They are too acidic and will strip your hard-earned seasoning off.

    • says

      Ohhh I bet that would be fun…for about 5 minutes! I know it gets crazy cold where you are! And that you get a lot of snow. But still, I would like to see more that I saw on vacation. I didn’t get to see any snowfall, just the snow on the ground from a snowstorm that came through a few days prior.

      Thanks for stopping by, Julie! Hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

  9. mochazina says

    i am new to quinoa and have a box sitting in my pantry waiting for me to actually try it, as well as an infant – do you think this would work as a completely baked casserole as well? (more hands-free? lol)

    • says

      Hello! I think it’s better to at least saute the shrimp before baking, but that is just my preference. You could make the dish by mixing everything minus the shrimp and cheese together, place it all in a casserole dish (or even a cast iron skillet!) and then top with the shrimp and cheese. Just bake a little longer to make sure the shrimp is cooked until opaque. Now baking everything will alter the taste as opposed to following the method I presented in my recipe. But if you try it via baking everything, let me know how it turns out!

      OH, one more thing, since you are new to quinoa, be sure to rinse it well before using it. It will be gritty if you don’t rinse before cooking it! Just place it in a mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. :)

      • mochazina says

        so I baked it covered with raw shrimp. I skipped the cheese just cuz by the time I took it out of the oven it was bedtime. it tastes like jambalaya without the sausage! LOL next time I’ll add sausage. ;-) this New Orleans girl has a new thing, now, thanks!

        • says

          Yay! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe! Another gal said she added chicken and chorizo to the recipe and it turned out great!

          Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed this. :)

  10. says

    I love cajun dishes! Especially at this time of year. This dish looks fantastic!! That is so cool that you got to see snow by the way! Living in the Chicago area, I get excited every year for the first snow of the season. But, by the 25th snow of the season I am kinda done with it! ;)

  11. says

    I love all the ingredients in this, Julie, so it’s definitely a winner for me! I especially love the texture of quinoa with those little root thingies on all the ‘grains’ (??), so the addition of just-as-delicious cheese and shrimp could possibly put me in dinner heaven! Definitely pinning this one!

  12. Laura says

    Just found your site. Recipes look great but would be even better if you included calorie info..

    • says

      Hi Laura, welcome! Thank you for the suggestion. I’ve been shopping around for a nutrition information plugin. I need to do a little more research before I go with one but once I select one, I’ll be going through and adding it to my recipes.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

    • says

      Ok, I played around with a calorie counter on My Fitness Pal and came up with an estimate of calories for this recipe. The approximate calories are 455, which is under 500! I’m sure it isn’t exact but going forward, I am going to try to get them as exact as possible. :)

    • says

      Ok correction, I had the quiona measurements in the nutrition calculator totally wrong so it was throwing off the nutrition content. It’s actually right around 400 calories for 4 large servings or 270 calories for 6 small servings.

  13. Amy says

    Made it tonight. We really loved it. Flavorful, moist, fresh-tasting. My first use of quinoa. Wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks for the great recipe.

  14. Autum says

    Made this tonight for my boyfriend & I, we both absolutely loved it! Super easy & delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • says

      Hi Autum! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know you tried my recipe. I’m so happy that you and your boyfriend enjoyed it! Have a lovely evening and a great week. :)

  15. AmandaJane says

    Just made this tonight! A-mazing!! I added chorizo and chicken to the mix, as well. Would absolutely make again! Thanks so much for the recipe. Just in time for Fat Tuesday…

  16. Kelly Tighe says

    I love my cast iron but with caution of confusing it with tomato base dishes. Did you have any problems with it softening the seasoning? Otherwise super excited to try this!

  17. says

    Well if you haven’t gotten your fill of snow, you could always come and visit me in Iowa Julie. I still have 3 feet of the white $^#@ in my backyard. :) Your casserole looks delicious, I really need to try more recipes with quinoa!!

  18. amy says

    Made this tonight & it was DELICIOUS! I doubled the recipe (except for the paste & seasoning) I used 2 cans of diced tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. First time using fontina cheese and I loved it!

  19. Amy says

    Tried it. Loved it. But the quinoa needs some light sour cream mixed in with the tomato paste and more salt. Yum.

    • says

      Awesome! Glad you liked it. I would personally prefer this recipe without sour cream and the salt and tomato paste amounts were perfect for me. I’m glad you were able to alter it to your liking. :)

  20. kbaker says

    Looks fantastic! Planning on making it tomorrow but just wondering if you pre-cook the quinoa separately first or if you just throw it in uncooked?
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hello!
      You precook the quinoa first. I cook mine in a rice cooker but if you don’t have a rice cooker, you can easily cook it on the stovetop.

      I hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  21. says

    Hello Julie,

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you include the calorie counts in these meals. Seriously! I love cooking, but since everyone in my family is obese I really need to be aware of what I eat. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing with me how you were able to get the counts is there a program you use or a website? Do you just go through all the ingredients and write it all down? I’m just wondering because it would be so awesome to be able to use that too to measure recipes that I find that aren’t so considerate. Again, thank you. Things like listing the calories is one step to helping people become healthier and enjoy amazing food. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!

    Thank you,
    Heather

    • says

      Hi Heather!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know you appreciate the nutrition content! It’s actually something I started doing recently with my healthier recipes (I haven’t done it with the sweets because, well, we all know sweets aren’t healthy however, I will be doing it with healthier desserts.) I use My Fitness Pal to calculate the nutrition. I just plug in the ingredients, number of servings and I get a count of calories per serving. Here is the link: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator

      Thanks again for stopping by! :)

  22. Marta says

    I was reading through this recipe because I love quinoa and thought it sounded delicious. I haven’t tried it yet. However, if you cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, then add it back in later with the other ingredients and put it in the oven for 15 minutes, the shrimp will be overcooked. I agree with the person who put the shrimp in raw and covered the pot. I add raw shrimp at the very end of my jambalaya and it cooks perfectly in about 10 minutes.

    • Marta says

      Sorry….! Didn’t mean to leave three stars:( I give it five now, cause it sounds delish and I plan on making it soon based on all the good reviews!

      • says

        Oh it’s ok. :) I hope you enjoy it. You can definitely throw the shrimp in right before you bake instead of cooking first. I just like cooking beforehand because the flavors on the shrimp come out stronger.

        Let me know if you like it!

  23. Erin says

    This looks delicious! I am going to make it but add a few things to make it slightly more “Cajun” – red bell pepper, okra, and crawfish, along with the shrimp. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Cathy Williams says

    Loved this recipe! I did add half a pound of chorizo that I cooked and crumbled in the skillet before I cooked the shrimp. I also added some chopped red and yellow peppers to the onions when I cooked them. And one more thing, I love fontina cheese so I doubled that. Fabulous! Served it up with some fresh picked asparagus.

    • says

      Oh I am so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. And your additions sound crazy good! Thank you for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed the recipe, Cathy. Have a lovely week!

  25. Caroline says

    I haven’t tried this yet, but am looking forward to it. A couple of questions for you first.

    What is in Cajun spice and where would I get this?
    What is Fontina cheese and how do you season your skillet?

    thanks for the info.
    Caroline

    • says

      Hi Caroline,
      I picked up an all natural seasoning from my grocery store. It isn’t one of the big brands and I am not at home right now so I can’t give you the exact name but here are a few to give you an idea of what to look for. http://www.cajungrocer.com/food/spices-seasonings/cajun-creole.html I have tried the Konriko Creole seasoning before and it’s pretty good and it’s all natural.

      Fontina cheese is a soft white cheese that is usually found in the gourmet cheese section of grocery stores. It’s a very mild cheese, sort of similar to mozzarella.

      I keep my skillet clean by using a mild scrub sponge and kosher salt. After cooking (and after the skillet is cooled) I pour some kosher salt into the skillet and scrub using the mild scrub sponge. Do not use any soap and do not use a scrub sponge that has ever come in contact with soap. Soap will remove the seasoning from your skillet. After I clean the skillet, I place it on the stove and turn it onto medium. I add a little coconut oil and after it melts, I coat the inside of the skillet with the oil by using a paper towel. I then turn off the stove, remove the skillet and then wipe out any excess oil. You can use bacon grease or lard to coat the skillet but I prefer refined coconut oil because it doesn’t leave a flavor.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

  26. Brianne says

    This was sooooooo yummy!
    I never used quinoa prior to this dish. I had no idea how to cook it.
    One website recommended cooking it in chicken broth, and it turned out great.
    I used Havarti cheese because Fontina was too pricey.
    My husband raved about this! awesome recipe!

  27. says

    Even if this isn’t a traditional Cajun recipe (coming from the U.K. I wouldn’t know what constitute real Cajun food recipes) , it sounds delicious and I will be adding to my must make soon list!

  28. Sherry bell says

    This is my first time to find your blog will come back That Cajun shrimp is on the menu soon. Especially like the low calorie per serving. Thanks

  29. Mollie says

    OK!!! I completely messed this recipe up and it STILL turned out great! I neglected to see the quinoa should be pre cooked!
    I ended up cooking it in the pan with all the veggies! Had no shrimp so used some spicy sausage I had in the freezer!
    It’s still yummy! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • says

      Well there ya go! If you don’t have any cooked quinoa leftover, you can easily make the meal in one skillet. That worked out well! :) Sounds AMAZING with the spicy sausage. So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Mollie! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. :)

  30. says

    I made this last night and it was a roaring success!
    My boyfriend suggested it after I showed him a picture (think he was sold on cheese and prawns!) but he’d never had quinoa before. He loved it! So tasty and flavourful, and pretty easy!
    I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I transferred everything into a casserole dish before it went in the oven.
    Think this is going to be on a regular rotation in my house.
    Thanks so much!

    Charlotte

    • says

      Hi Charlotte!

      Thank you so much for stopping by to let me know you enjoyed this recipe. :) I’m glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed it. I’m going to update my notes on the recipe to let people know they can transfer to a casserole dish if they don’t have an oven-safe skillet.

      Again, thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

  31. Nanci says

    Recipe looks awesome. I love quinoa. And shrimp. I’m from NC. It is a beautiful state. If I had my way I’d live in Florida from October through April, and NC May-Sept. I do love snow though. :)

    • says

      Thank you, Nanci! Yeah, the weather in FL is nice from October – April, for the most part. It still gets pretty hot, though. And it stinks when it’s 85 degrees on Thanksgiving and Christmas! But overall, it’s the best time of the year here. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  32. Stacey lee says

    I am definately trying this! One question. do I buy shrimp raw or pre-cooked (like cocktail shrimp?)

    Can’t wait to try this!

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