Lightened Mardi Gras Favorite – Cajun Caviar

Cowboy Caviar with Camellia Brand beans

Throughout most of the country, the New Year is a time many folks take a close look at their diet and resolve to eat better. Louisianans with that goal, however, have the odds stacked against them. With the seemingly endless train of king cakes, gumbos, and crawfish boils that mark beginning of Mardi Gras season, health-conscious eating requires a bit more stamina.

With that in mind, we set out to lighten up one of our favorite football and parade foods, Cowboy Caviar. We started with the fresh flavors you’d expect in a Cowboy Caviar—fresh lime juice, chopped onion, and white wine vinegar—and then we added not one, not two, but three legumes: Camellia Brand Green Baby Lima Beans, Camellia Brand Crowders, and Camellia Brand Lady Cream Peas.

Camellia Brand Beans for Cajun Caviar
Each of these Camellia Brand dried beans adds different elements to this Cajun Caviar.

Each of these varieties adds a unique element to the Cajun Caviar. The Camellia Brand Green Baby Limas are plump and creamy, and while they’re often used for soups and stews, the beans are tender enough to shine in this dish. Similarly, the Camellia Brand Crowders are best known for their position as a staple in Southern soul food, and their hearty flavor is a welcome addition here. And finally, the Camellia Brand Lady Cream Peas, which are closely related to the larger Crowders, offer a sweet flavor and creamy texture. All of these staples are grown to the Camellia Brand’s “Hayward Standard,” a benchmark that exceeds the top USDA requirements.

With beans and peas as a foundation for the dish’s flavor and texture, we spiced up the Cajun Caviar with some Cajun seasoning, a smoky poblano pepper, and some sweet corn to round out the flavor. Dishes like this one are ideal for Mardi Gras parties, football games, or even as a weeknight snack because it comes together easily and is a nutritional powerhouse (while being low in fat, it’s got plenty of dietary fiber, iron, and vitamins A and C). So when you’re planning your Mardi Gras menus, be sure to keep this healthy crowd-pleaser in mind!

Cajun Caviar
Serves 8
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  1. 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  2. 1 sprig fresh parsley
  3. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 6 black peppercorns
  7. ¾ cup Camellia Brand Green Baby Lima Beans
  8. ¾ cup Camellia Brand Crowders
  9. ¾ cup Camellia Brand Lady Cream Peas
  10. 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
  11. ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  12. 1 small yellow onion, peeled and ends trimmed
  13. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  14. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, divided
  15. ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  16. 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  17. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  18. 1 large tomato, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
  19. 1 medium poblano, seeded and diced (about ⅔ cup)
  20. 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen yellow corn
  21. ½ cup diced red onion
  22. ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  23. 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  24. Tortilla chips
  1. Combine thyme, parsley, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns on a large square of cheesecloth. Bring together ends of the cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to secure contents.
  2. Rinse and sort beans and peas.
  3. In a Dutch oven, add beans and peas, stock, butter, onion, cheesecloth satchel, salt, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer on low to medium-low heat and cover, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, lime juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, combine bean mixture, tomato, pepper, corn, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Add oil mixture to bean mixture, tossing to combine.
  6. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.
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