Here it is! The only vegan gumbo recipe you will ever need! Go make it immediately, then weep tears of joy because it’s just so damn good.
If you’re unfamiliar with gumbo; it’s a very delicious Creole stew that’s super popular in Louisiana. It begins with a very dark roux, which is a combination of fat and flour that is cooked and used as a thickener and/or flavoring agent. To the roux, you add the Holy Trinity veggies (green peppers, celery, onion), stock, fish/meat, Andouille sausage, shellfish, herbs, spices, etc. There are many variations as it was traditionally made with whatever was on hand. It’s typically finished off with okra or gumbo filé (ground sassafras powder) which serves as a thickening agent. It’s often served with white rice. There’s a lot of history to this famous dish, which would take forever to explain here. However, I urge you to research the origins or at least check out the Wikipedia page. You should also check out the Good Eats episode on gumbo.
I have a lot of fond childhood memories of gumbo. My family has always been really big on Cajun and Creole cooking. I can remember my mom making gumbo countless times when I was a kid. It was one of my absolute favorite meals.
I can distinctly remember my mom carefully cooking (and constantly stirring) roux to that perfect deep brown milk chocolate color. This process always took what seemed like forever, but it’s oh so worth it. It adds the most amazing nutty, deep, savory flavor.
When I first became vegan, I scoured the depths of the internet for a good vegan gumbo recipe. I was mostly disappointed by my finds. So many recipes were fat-free, oil-free, gluten-free… Then most had a grossly pale roux or sometimes no roux at all… No shade, of course. But, what on earth? Sacrilege!
It was then that I decided that I needed to create what I believe to be a legit gumbo, vegan-style.
Before anyone says it: No, this isn’t a super healthy dish. But, it’s delicious and perfect for Mardi Gras.
I’ll also admit, this isn’t the simplest recipe in the world and it’s a wee bit time consuming. I promise it’s worth all the effort, though. Honest!
I simplified the process of making the roux by following Alton Brown’s genius hack for making roux in the oven. I’ve been making my gumbo roux this way ever since seeing him do this on Good Eats.
Alright, I’m gonna wrap this up now and get to the recipe! If you make this dish please tag me on Instagram! @thepeacefulepicurean or #thepeacefulepicurean
Legit Vegan Gumbo
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (such as avocado or canola)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 medium yellow onions (diced)
- 3 large celery ribs (diced)
- 2 green bell peppers (diced)
- 6-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 whole bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 13 ounces vegan sausage, sliced (I prefer Field Roast's Apple Sage Sausages)
- 1 pound vegan chicken (I like Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick'n)
- 1 tablespoon gumbo Filé
- 2 cups sliced okra (If you can't find fresh, it can usually be found frozen)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Make the Roux: Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large cast iron Dutch oven, combine the oil and flour. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use another oven-safe dish. Cast iron works best. Place the Dutch oven in the preheated oven, uncovered. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check and stir every half hour or so until the roux reaches a deep brown color, similar to melted chocolate. Remove from oven.
- Saute the veggies: Move the pot to the stove over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more, until fragrant. Add in the stock, stir to thoroughly combine.
- Simmer: Add in all remaining ingredients apart from the sausage, chicken, Filé, and okra. Cover and simmer for an hour.
- Brown the Sausage: In a separate pan, heat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sliced sausage and sautee, stirring frequently until the sausage has browned evenly. Add in the chicken and saute for a few more minutes, until lightly browned. Add the sausage and chicken to the gumbo, allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Finish the Gumbo: Before serving, stir in the Filé and okra. Cover and allow to stand for about 5 minutes to allow the okra to warm through. Serve alongside steamed white rice with a side of crusty French bread. Enjoy!