Monday, February 12, 2024

Mardi Gras and Recipes- Plant-Based and Gluten Free

Free Colorful Masks and a Mardi Gras Poster Stock Photo

Mardi Gras is a festive carnival celebration that takes place in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana prior to the start of lent.
Food is a big part of the celebration and is unique to the area. See my plant-based recipes below.

New Orleans Mardi Gras photo and picture 

Partygoers come from all over the world to celebrate in the streets with music and food. They wear beautiful masks and elaborate costumes. The name, Mardi Gras is actually French and translates to mean, Fat Tuesday

Free Colorful Masks on Gray Surface Stock Photo

"Mardi Gras 2024 falls on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 this year which is actually the last day of carnival season in New Orleans!
How did this custom make its way to New Orleans? 
In 1682, the French colonized part of Louisiana and controlled the area for many years. Today, the French influence is very evident in the French Quarter of Louisiana and many of the French customs and celebrations remained. 

In France, it was customary among the Catholics to use up all of their fat (no refrigeration in those days) that they had in the house and feast before lent started. Mardis Gras has been celebrated in France since the Middle Ages on the day before Ash Wednesday. 

Mardi gras beads

Creole cooking and Mardi Gras
Creole means "people of the colony" and is known as city food. The "people of the colony" were those from French and Spanish origins that settled in Louisiana long before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Creole cooking is a blend of the many cultures from the area which also includes African (the French owner's slaves did cooking), Caribbean, German, Italian, and Native American. The food tends to reflect a more sophisticated cuisine introduced by French chefs. 

Creole cooking includes cooking with oysters, crabmeat, lobster, and shrimp. Creoles had more sophisticated food because they were often people of wealth and reflected recipes from French cooking.

Cajun Cooking and Mardi Gras 
Cajun cooking is often referred to as "country cooking" because it originated from the poorer people who lived in the outskirts of the cities in the swamps known as Acadiana. These were French people who came to Louisiana from Canada -Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after being deported in the 1700's and finally made their way to Louisiana when it became a French colony. Their cooking takes advantage of what they could hunt and fish. Examples of the Cajun dishes include pig's ears, alligator sausage, crayfish and catfish. 

Both cultures have a strong influence in Louisiana cooking. 

creole red beans over rice , vegan

In the past I've made Creole Rice and Beans which traditionally uses red beans. 

I've also made Cajun Sweet Potato Fries in the past which are spicy and delicious. 

Cajun sweet potato fries

My Notes: 

Both recipes call for the spices used in Louisiana and in Mardi Gras dishes. I have to admit, I don't cook Cajun or Creole food very often because both rely heavily on fat, meat or seafood.  It doesn't lend well to vegan cooking unless you use the meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat sausage. 

Both recipes that I shared are plant-based and gluten-free. 



  1. I've made acceptable red beans and rice without meat by using smoked paprika or Liquid Smoke but I'm sure a Cajun purist would turn their noses up at them.

  2. Fun post! I LOVE sweet potato fries, yummy! Hugs, Valerie

  3. So interesting -- I never knew the different origin stories of Creole and Cajun cooking. Also, I love the Mardi Gras aesthetic. The masks -- and jester head! -- made me smile. 💚💜💛

  4. I have mardi gras beads from my time in Mobile Alabama, and loved beignets in New Orleans from Cafe du Mond. I have not had much creole food, other than what I have made at home.

  5. Yay! Mardi Gras! A lovely winter diversion!

  6. Great post Judee, Mardi Gras is celebrated along the Gulf Coast where our beach house is and there are many parades and celebrations. I don't enjoy creole food, but I do like King Cake!

  7. These photos are great, Judee. We don't do anything with Mardi Gras here, so it's fun to learn more about it. The fries look delish!

  8. Bon temps! Thanks for shining a light on not only the food and fun, but also the history of Mardi Gras. Of course, everything looks delicious and I'd gladly celebrate with this menu, any time of year.


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.