Cajun Meatball Stew
Cajun Meatball Stew originates from the Acadiana region of Louisiana (aka Cajun country) and it’s incredible. Traditionally, the stew is made with a rich dark roux, which is a mixture of fat and flour, but making a roux takes practice and patience. I wanted this version to have the same rich broth, perfectly cooked and seasoned meatballs, and the intense flavors of the classic Cajun recipe but kept it roux-less to make it easy.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Everything is homemade: from meatballs to the Cajun seasoning.
- Rich beefy broth filled with fresh veggies, potatoes, herbs and spices.
- No difficult roux but same bold Cajun flavors.
- Omit the potatoes in your Cajun Meatball Stew to make this low carb.
When it comes to Cajun cooking, it’s all in the seasoning! This Cajun Meatball Stew has a bold homemade seasoning that’s easy and delicious with no added sugar. When you taste how good it is, you’ll be Cajun obsessed and want to try my Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Sausage and Cajun Salmon Pasta. Note: Grocery stores sell pre-made Cajun seasoning but keep in mind it usually has added sodium so you may want to reduce the amount you add to your stew to avoid it being overly salted.
This Cajun Meatball Stew can be made with any ground meat: turkey, chicken, beef or pork. You have the option to keep the meatballs whole (more traditional) or break the meatballs into smaller chunks, before adding them into the stew. Alternately, omit making into meatballs at all. You can simply brown the meat, add the cajun seasonings, and then add the seasoned meat to the stew. This is a great option for those who don’t want to add the breadcrumbs or want to save time. All of these options will deliver a super flavorful stew, regardless.
To make gluten and dairy-free:
Cajun Meatball Stew is dairy-free as written (ensure your brand of breadcrumbs didn’t sneak in any cheese or dairy by-products). For gluten-free, make sure your breadcrumbs are certified gluten-free as most brands contain gluten.
These are the main ingredients and substitutions for Cajun Meatball Stew. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and instructions.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use homemade or store-bought cajun seasoning.
- Ground chicken be substituted with ground beef, turkey or pork.
- Any potato variation works or omit to lower carbs.
How to make Cajun Meatball Stew (a visual step-by-step guide):
Step 1: Make the meatballs
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, garlic and Cajun seasoning (image 1).
Mix meatball ingredients until just combined (image 2).
Roll the mixture into 12 equal 2-inch meatballs, approximately 45 grams each (image 3). Set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot (image 4).
Brown meatballs on all sides, then remove them and set aside. They don’t need to be fully cooked at this point (image 5).
Step 2: Make the stew
In the same pot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until the onions are translucent (image 6).
Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute (image 7).
Pour in the beef broth (image 8).
Add the diced tomatoes with their juices (image 9). Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any brown bits of meatball drippings. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Step 3: Add potatoes and meatballs to the pot
Add the diced potatoes, bay leaves, and Cajun seasoning (image 10). Stir well.
Gently add the meatballs back into the pot (image 11).
Step 4: Simmer and serve your Cajun meatball stew
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the stew simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through (image 12). Once cooked through serve topped with fresh parsley. green onions or freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy.
This Cajun Meatball Stew is perfect as is but when I have extra veggies on hand like red or green bell pepper, zucchini, kale or spinach then I’ll add them. If using leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) be sure to add those once the stew is already cooked and stir until wilted.
Serving and storing info
The serving size for Cajun Meatball Stew is approximately 422 grams and includes 2 meatballs.
Traditionally, this stew is served over hot fluffy white rice. The rice soaks up the Cajun flavors beautifully and makes this southern dish hearty and comforting but I love it just as it is!
How to store
Store your leftover stew in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Stews gets better the next day and this is no exception. Heat your stew on the stovetop or microwave.
If you like this recipe be sure to check out some of our other hearty soups!
For more Cajun-inspired recipes, check out my new cookbook for other delicious recipes, like Jambalaya and Kebobs.
Cajun Meatball Stew
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- 3 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1.5 Tbsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking
For the Stew
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups carrots sliced into rounds
- 2.5 cups low sodium beef broth or chicken
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 1.5 lbs. russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning 3-4 tsp. for spicy
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, garlic and 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning. Mix meatball ingredients until just combined. Roll the mixture into 12 equal 2-inch meatballs, approximately 45 grams each. Set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Brown meatballs on all sides, then remove them and set aside. They don't need to be fully cooked at this point.
- In the same pot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Pour in the beef broth and diced tomatoes (with their juices). Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any brown bits of meatball drippings. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the diced potatoes, bay leaves, and 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (more for extra spicy). Stir well. Gently add the meatballs back into the pot.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the stew simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
- Once cooked through, serve and top with fresh chopped parsley.
- Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary with substitutions.
- Serving size for Cajun Meatball Stew is approximately 422 grams including two meatballs. You should weigh your final and divide by servings to exact grams per serving.
- If using store-bought Cajun seasoning, use 1 tsp. in meatballs and 1-2 tsp. in stew. Adjust as needed, as store-bought tends to be much saltier than homemade and I do not want you to have too salty of a stew! Opt for buying a reduced sodium seasoning.
- Optional: skip the meatballs altogether and brown the ground beef, season, and follow the rest of the recipe instructions. The meatballs are fun though!