Yeah you right! A spotlight on Creole cooking

Native to New Orleans, Creole-style cooking is the product of a lively blend of cultures that came together in the Big Easy, including French, Spanish, West African, Native American, Italian, Irish and Portuguese. While Creole and Cajun cooking share some similarities (see Did you know? below), Creole dishes include a wider variety of spices, soups and sauces — and tomatoes, which you’ll find in Creole jambalaya, for instance, but never in the Cajun version.

Creole Gumbo

First described in 1802 and popularized by chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s, gumbo is a shellfish stew that includes celery, bell peppers, onions, okra, filé powder (ground sassafras leaves) and tomatoes. Sausage or ham is often added. The dish likely derived its name from the Bantu African word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw native word for filé (kombo). You’ll find a delectable recipe here.

Red Jambalaya

Possibly derived from Spanish paella, Jambalaya originates from the French Quarter and is traditionally made from celery, peppers and onions, chicken or sausage, tomatoes and other vegetables, seafood, rice and stock, boiled, simmered and stirred. In some versions, the mouthwatering mix is baked after cooking. The “red” is a reference to the Creole-only tomatoes. A recipe for Hattie’s Jambalaya can be found here.


If you prefer to skip right to dessert — or breakfast — you really can’t go wrong with Creole beignets (unless you insist on counting calories). Introduced in New Orleans by French colonists, beignets, like English fritters, are a deep-fried pastry powdered with confectioners’ sugar. They are Louisiana’s official state donut. Want to make your own?

What’s your preferred Creole dish? Share your tastes and food ideas in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!


Did you know: Creole is not Cajun?

While these two cooking styles are often lumped together, they’re quite distinct. Unlike its big city New Orleans cousin, Cajun food is thought of as country food, derived from the Acadians who were exiled from eastern Canada in the 1700s and resettled in Louisiana.

It’s big on the “holy trinity” of onions, celery and bell peppers, as well as and garlic but no tomatoes! (Source)

37 thoughts on “Yeah you right! A spotlight on Creole cooking

  1. Gumbo is delicious and is one of my favorite foods to cook.
    I visited friends in Eunice, Louisiana and I had my share of boudan for the first time. I like them a lot.

  2. Not much on Gumbo but the others yes make them have many of the things need right here in my own home all the time. Many are grown right here.Like the file the trees grow in back yard. May try the ones in this blog and see if as good as mine.

  3. I am glad that I now know the difference between cajun and creole. But I tell you one thing those recipes look really scrumpious.

  4. I had the pleasure of some training under Chef Paul and the Brennan restruarant of Mr. B’. About two weeks after I started, he started Kay-Pauls with his sister in the quarter. He taught me his recipe for gumbo and jambayla. One of the memories of my years in New Orleans!

  5. I would like to have some receipts for both Cajun and creole foods. I like to try new recipes and some of the dishes I see look good.

  6. I LOVE cooking and I miss New Orleans so badly. I want to cook every recipe on this page and then to add some Boudan balls to the list too, mmm! I’m hungry now!

  7. My favorite restaurant in New Orleans is NOLA. Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant. His second called Emeril’s is not worth the money. But the food, atmosphere and service at NOLA’s is fantastic. I highly recommend it.

  8. Gumbo, no doubt. I have made it from scratch before and the key is the roux. Of late, I use a premade mix from Zataran, just for speeding up the process and saving some money, because it is not cheap, as I add alot of different meats to it, I use sausage, shrimp and chicken. I also substitute polish sausage instead of andouie, as I am Polish and its more readily avaiable. I am thinking of trying jambalaya next.

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