Simple and Delicious Vegan Gumbo
Enjoy this Louisiana classic with a vegetarian makeover! This
simple and delicious vegan gumbo uses less oil and includes
heart healthy fats and proteins!
Making a Dark Roux…
Since this was my first time making gumbo, making a dark roux was a complete mystery to me at first. On my first (and only) try so far, my roux was created in half the time compared to most food articles. I question if it is due to my use of only 1/3 cup oil (versus the 1 cup flour, 1 cup oil ratio often used in tradition recipes). Either way, the color of a dark peanut butter was achieved in 10-20 minutes and the soup came out delicious! My faster cooking time may have also been from a higher heat and most recipes mention lower heat settings. For this recipe, I will mention the traditional steps to be fair to you, my audience, and to prevent a burnt roux that would ruin the soup recipe.
As most recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of flour to oil, I slightly adjusted mine to use less oil. Instead of 1 cup each, I used 1/2 cup white flour and 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil for a vegan gumbo. The trick to a good roux, according to Saveur, is patience! Staying by the pan or pot and continuously stirring until a desired color is achieved is key. The color most gumbos call for is a caramel color similar to peanut butter. The texture after stirring and sauteing the flour-oil mixture will form a paste. This creates a natural thickener for the soup base and is important for most Cajun dishes. To see a video on the basics of a dark roux, view this article by Saveur.com.
In this Vegan Gumbo recipe…
This vegetarian style gumbo uses bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and okra with diced tomatoes and red beans for the base. If you prefer other vegetables, like the traditional celery, feel free to make substitutions. This soup can be versatile with different types of mushrooms, vegetables, and soup stock. To give this recipe some heat, I used cayenne pepper and smoked paprika often used in gumbo. Many other recipes use tabasco and even Worcestershire sauce. This gumbo can last in a stored container in the refrigerator for up to three days or three months frozen.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1 cup okra, chopped (thawed if frozen)
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, largely chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground smoked paprika
- 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, no salt added preferred
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added preferred
- 4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium preferred
- In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat. To make the dark roux, add a pinch of flour and reduce the heat to low; slowly stir in flour one pinch at a time and stir constantly with a whisk. The key is well-distributed heat and constant stirring. Keep stirring until the color of the roux (paste) is similar to peanut butter or caramel. This can be for up to 30 minutes depending on how fast you achieve your color. If black pieces of burnt flour form, start over with the roux.
- Once the roux is achieved, add in the pepper, onion, mushrooms, and okra. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil and increase the heat to medium high. Stir frequently until the vegetables are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the spices and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Stir to thoroughly mix all ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes to achieve the most flavor. The broth will naturally thicken thanks to the dark roux.
- Serve with brown rice or fresh bread!