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Satisfying Vegan Gumbo – A Taste Of Louisiana, Plant-Based Style

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Vegan gumbo recipe, a hearty stew, originates from Louisiana’s rich culinary traditions, transformed into a plant-based delight.

This version brims with fresh okra, bell peppers, and tomatoes, simmered in a flavorful vegetable broth. Thickened with a roux of flour and olive oil, it’s seasoned with a blend of spices, offering a comforting, robust taste. Ideal for those seeking a nourishing, vegan option.

Why It Works?

  • Utilizes readily available vegetables, ensuring accessibility and freshness.
  • A traditional roux with vegetable oil and flour thickens the gumbo, maintaining authenticity.
  • Incorporates a variety of spices, delivering complex, deep flavors.
  • Features a rich, smoky base from paprika and bay leaves, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Offers a great option for a satisfying, plant-based meal, appealing to both vegans and non-vegans alike.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a satisfying, hearty meal that aligns with a vegan lifestyle can often feel like a daunting task, especially when craving the rich flavors of traditional Southern cuisine.

The quest for a Vegan Gumbo Recipe that delivers the comforting, deep flavors without compromising on ethics or taste can seem endless. 

Drawing from personal trials and a deep love for authentic Louisiana cooking, I discovered a classic gumbo recipe that not only meets these criteria but exceeds expectations.

By cleverly substituting classic ingredients with plant-based alternatives, this gumbo retains the soulful essence of the original dish.

It’s a testament to the possibility of enjoying beloved flavors while adhering to a vegan plant-based diet, promising a culinary journey that is both ethical and deeply satisfying.

vegan gumbo recipe

What Is Vegan Gumbo? 

Vegan gumbo is a plant-based version of the classic Louisiana stew, known for its rich and hearty flavors. Traditional gumbo relies on meat and seafood, but the vegan adaptation uses alternatives like jackfruit, tofu, or tempeh to mimic these textures.

The base, a dark roux, is made from flour and oil, thickening a stew and providing depth. Okra, bell peppers, onions, and a mix of spices create its distinctive taste.

Vegan gumbo embraces the essence of Creole cuisine, offering a compassionate, yet equally satisfying culinary experience.

Fact– Did you know that okra, a key ingredient in gumbo, acts as a natural thickener and adds a unique texture and rich flavor to the dish?

vegan gumbo recipe

Recipe Directions 

  • Start with the Roux: Place a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat. Add vegan butter and allow it to melt completely. Stir in the all-purpose flour, blending it into a smooth paste.
  • Develop the Roux: Continue to stir the mixture. On high heat, this process will take about 20 minutes. If using low to medium heat, expect it to take around an hour. Watch as the roux transforms from a thick paste to a thinner sauce, changing color until it achieves a milk chocolate hue. This color shift is your cue that the roux is perfectly done. A high-quality heavy-bottomed pot is recommended, particularly for the high-heat method. If concerned about burning, opt for the slower, steadier approach. Remember, a burnt roux is unusable and must be started anew.
  • Incorporate the Holy Trinity: Once the roux is ready, add the green bell pepper, celery, and onion. These are fondly referred to as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of veggies in Creole cooking. Stir them into the roux and cook until they have softened.
  • Add Liquids and Vegetables: Pour in the vegetable stock, stirring well to combine. Follow with the frozen vegetables, cauliflower florets, mushrooms, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, liquid smoke, and a bay leaf. Mix thoroughly.
  • Simmer the Gumbo: Add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans to the pot, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pot. Leave it to simmer gently until all ingredients are cooked through and the aroma is inviting.
  • Season and Serve: Before serving, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to taste. Serve the gumbo hot, optionally alongside basmati white rice, and garnish with chopped spring onions for a fresh touch.

vegan gumbo recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Vegan gumbo is a versatile dish that allows for numerous variations, add-ons, and toppings to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are some ideas to customize your vegan gumbo:

Variations

  • Protein Variations: Swap or add different proteins like tempeh, seitan, or different types of beans to diversify the texture and nutritional content.
  • Vegetable Tweaks: Experiment with other vegetables such as okra, spinach, or sweet potatoes to adjust the flavor and texture.
  • Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning or add fresh chili peppers to cater to your desired spice level.

Add-Ons

  • Grains: Serve your gumbo over different grains like quinoa, brown rice, or millet for a nutritious twist.
  • Fresh Herbs: Add fresh parsley, thyme, or cilantro before serving for a burst of flavor.
  • Sausage: Incorporate vegan sausage, sliced and browned, to mimic the traditional gumbo texture and taste.

vegan gumbo recipe

Toppings

  • Green Onions: A sprinkle of chopped green onions or chives adds a fresh, sharp contrast to the rich gumbo.
  • Avocado: Slices of avocado can provide a creamy texture and a dose of healthy fats.
  • Lemon Wedges: Serving with lemon wedges on the side allows individuals to add a zesty brightness to their portion.
  • Hot Sauce: Offering hot sauce as a topping lets guests customize the heat level to their liking.

Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Mushrooms for beef: Their meaty texture makes mushrooms a great substitute for beef in stews and burgers.
  • Cauliflower for chicken: Cauliflower’s firm texture works well as a chicken substitute in curries and stir-fries.
  • Jackfruit for pulled pork: Young green jackfruit has a shredded texture perfect for vegan pulled pork dishes.
  • Lentils for ground meat: In dishes like Bolognese or tacos, cooked lentils provide a hearty, protein-rich base.
  • Chickpeas for tuna: Mashed chickpeas mixed with vegan mayo and spices create a convincing tuna salad alternative.
  • Eggplant for lamb: Eggplant’s dense texture makes it suitable for mimicking lamb in Middle Eastern recipes.
  • Zucchini for noodles: Spiralized zucchini offers a low-carb, gluten-free noodle option for pasta dishes.

Quick Tip -For a richer flavor in vegan dishes, roast your vegetables before adding them to soups or stews. This extra step caramelizes the veggies, enhancing their taste.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  • Cornbread A classic, sweet, or savory vegan cornbread complements the gumbo’s rich flavors.
  • Steamed Rice Simple white or brown rice serves as a neutral base, soaking up the gumbo’s sauce.
  • Collard Greens Sautéed or steamed, seasoned with garlic and a splash of vinegar for a tangy side.
  • Quinoa A nutritious alternative to rice, quinoa adds texture and protein to your meal.
  • Sweet Potato Fries Baked or air-fried, these offer a sweet contrast to the savory gumbo.
  • Coleslaw A fresh, crisp vegan coleslaw adds a crunchy texture and a refreshing taste.
  • Corn on the Cob Grilled or boiled, it provides a sweet and smoky flavor.
  • Jalapeño Cheddar Skillet Cornbread Vegan cheese and jalapeños add a spicy kick to traditional cornbread.
  • Okra Fries Oven-roasted okra fries are a crunchy, nutritious snack or side.
  • French Bread Fresh, crusty French bread is perfect for dipping into the gumbo.

Vegetable Substitutions

How To Serve?

  • In a Deep Bowl: Serve the gumbo in a deep, wide bowl to accommodate both the stew and any sides like rice or bread.
  • Over Rice: Place a scoop of steamed white or brown rice in the center of the bowl and ladle the gumbo around it, allowing the rice to soak up the flavors.
  • Garnish Wisely: Top with fresh chopped parsley, green onions, or a sprinkle of filé powder for color and an extra layer of flavor.
  • With a Side of Bread: Offer slices of crusty bread, cornbread, or a warm baguette on the side for dipping and scooping up the gumbo.
  • Add a Lemon Wedge: A small lemon wedge on the side of the bowl can be squeezed over the gumbo for added zest and brightness.
  • Offer Hot Sauce: Have hot sauce available on the table for guests who prefer an extra kick of heat in their serving.
  • Include a Crisp Side Salad: A light, crisp salad with a vinaigrette dressing balances the richness of the gumbo and adds a fresh element to the meal.
  • Serve Warm: Ensure the gumbo is served warm to highlight its flavors and comforting qualities.
  • Provide Napkins: Gumbo can be a bit messy, so providing ample napkins will keep everyone comfortable and clean.
  • Enjoy Communally: Gumbo is a dish best enjoyed with others, so gather your friends or family around the table to share the meal.

Quick Tip-To thicken vegan soups and stews naturally, blend a portion of the cooked vegetables and stir it back into the pot. Instant thickness with added flavor!

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Cool Quickly: After cooking, let the gumbo cool to room temperature before storing to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Refrigerate: Transfer the gumbo to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days for optimal freshness.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, freeze the gumbo in suitable portions. Use freezer bags or containers, and it can last up to 3 months.
  • Reheat Gently: When ready to serve, reheat the gumbo slowly on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Make Ahead: Vegan gumbo is perfect for making ahead. Its flavors deepen with time, making it even more delicious the next day.

Fact-Did you know the “Holy Trinity” in Cajun and Creole cooking refers to bell peppers, onions, and celery? This blend is the foundational flavor base of vegan gumbo.

How To Serve?

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Prep Vegetables in Advance: Chop all your vegetables and store them in the refrigerator the night before cooking to save time.
  2. Use Pre-Mixed Cajun Seasoning: Opt for a quality pre-mixed Cajun or Creole seasoning to avoid measuring out individual spices.
  3. Frozen Vegetables: Don’t hesitate to use frozen bell peppers, onions, and okra. They’re pre-chopped and ready to use, cutting down on prep time.
  4. Canned Tomatoes and Beans: Utilize canned tomatoes and kidney beans for convenience without compromising flavor.
  5. Batch Cooking: Make a large batch of vegan gumbo and freeze portions for quick, easy meals later on.
  6. One Pot: Cook your gumbo in a single large pot to minimize cleanup time.
  7. Roux Shortcut: For a quicker roux, cook it on medium-high heat with constant stirring to speed up the process, but be careful not to burn it.

Satisfying Vegan Gumbo - A Taste Of Louisiana, Plant-Based Style

Satisfying Vegan Gumbo – A Taste Of Louisiana, Plant-Based Style

Recipe by Julia

Vegan gumbo is a plant-based rendition of the classic Southern stew, brimming with bold flavors and hearty vegetables.

This version swaps traditional meats for a rich mix of spices, legumes, and vegetables, thickened with a roux and simmered to perfection. It’s a comforting, satisfying meal that pays homage to its roots while embracing a cruelty-free ethos.

Course: Dinner
0 from 0 votes
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Calories

250

kcal
Rest Time

5

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ½ Vegan Butter(112g)

  • cup All Purpose Flour(83g)

  • 2 Medium 2 Green Bell Peppers (Finely chopped)

  • 2 Stalks 2 Celery Stalks (Finely chopped)

  • 1 Medium 1 Onion (White, Yellow, or Brown, Finely chopped or onion powder)

  • 2 cups 2 Vegetable Stock(480ml)

  • 1 cup 1 Mixed Frozen Vegetables

  • 1 Medium Head 1 Cauliflower (chopped into florets)

  • 5 cups 5 Cremini Mushrooms (Sliced)(480g)

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Crushed Garlic

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Cajun Seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon ½ Liquid Smoke

  • 1 1 Bay Leaf

  • 14 ounce Can 14 Chopped Tomato(400g)

  • 15 ounce Can 15 Kidney Beans (Drained)

  • Salt and Pepper(To Taste)

Directions

  • Start With The Roux
  • Place a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Add vegan butter and allow it to melt completely.
  • Stir in the all-purpose flour, blending it into a smooth paste.
  • Develop The Roux
  • Continue to stir the mixture. On high heat, this process will take about 20 minutes. If using low to medium heat, expect it to take around an hour.
  • Watch as the roux transforms from a thick paste to a thinner sauce, changing color until it achieves a milk chocolate hue. This color shift is your cue that the roux is perfectly done.
  • A high-quality heavy-bottomed pot is recommended, particularly for the high-heat method. If concerned about burning, opt for the slower, steadier approach. Remember, a burnt roux is unusable and must be started anew.
  • Incorporate The Holy Trinity
  • Once the roux is ready, add the green bell pepper, celery, and onion. These are fondly referred to as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of veggies in Creole cooking.
  • Stir them into the roux and cook until they have softened.
  • Add Liquids And Vegetables
  • Pour in the vegetable stock, stirring well to combine.
  • Follow with the frozen vegetables, cauliflower florets, mushrooms, garlic, Cajun seasoning, liquid smoke, and a bay leaf. Mix thoroughly.
  • Simmer The Gumbo
  • Add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans to the pot, stirring to incorporate.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pot. Leave it to simmer gently until all ingredients are cooked through and the aroma is inviting.
  • Season And Serve
  • Before serving, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Serve the gumbo hot, optionally alongside basmati rice, and garnish with chopped spring onions for a fresh touch.
  • Equipments List
  • Heavy-bottomed pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chopping board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Ladle
  • Airtight storage containers

Notes

  • Roux Color: Achieving the milk chocolate color is crucial for the authentic flavor of the gumbo. Patience is key.
  • Stir Constantly: To prevent the roux from burning, stir it continuously, especially on high heat.
  • Adjust Heat: If the roux starts to smoke or smells burnt, lower the heat immediately.
  • Vegetable Stock: Using a high-quality vegetable stock enhances the gumbo’s depth of flavor.
  • Customize Vegetables: Feel free to adjust the types and amounts of vegetables based on personal preference.
  • Serve Hot: Gumbo tastes best when served hot, allowing the flavors to fully emerge.
  • Leftovers: Gumbo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months, making it a great make-ahead meal.

nutrition table

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Gumbo Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can make vegan gumbo gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free flour blend when making the roux.

Be sure to choose a blend that’s designed for thickening sauces to ensure your gumbo has the right consistency.

Also, double-check that your vegetable stock and any pre-mixed Cajun seasonings are gluten-free, as these products can sometimes contain hidden gluten.

How Can I Add More Protein To My Vegan Gumbo?

To increase the plant-based protein content of your vegan gumbo, consider adding legumes such as black beans or chickpeas in addition to or instead of kidney beans.

Plant-based sausages or tofu are also great options. If you use tofu, consider pressing and baking it before adding it to the gumbo to give it a firmer texture and more flavor. Quinoa can serve as another protein-rich addition or substitute for rice.

vegan gumbo recipe

Is Vegan Gumbo Suitable For Meal Prep?

Vegan gumbo is an excellent option for meal prep. It stores well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and freezes beautifully for up to 3 months.

Divide it into individual portions for easy reheating. Remember, the flavors often deepen and meld together over time, making it even more delicious after a day or two. Just be sure to store it in air-tight containers to maintain freshness and prevent freezer burn if freezing.

Can I Make The Gumbo Spicier?

Absolutely. If you prefer a spicier gumbo, you can easily adjust the heat level by adding more Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, or fresh diced jalapeños or habanero peppers.

Start with a small amount and taste as you go, since it’s easier to add more heat than to take it away. Another option is to serve the gumbo with hot sauce on the side, allowing each person to customize the spice level to their preference.

What’s The Best Way To Thicken Vegan Gumbo If It’s Too Thin?

If your vegan gumbo is too thin, there are a few ways to thicken it. One of the simplest methods is to remove a portion of the gumbo, blend it until smooth, and then stir it back into the pot.

Alternatively, you can make a little extra roux in a separate pan and whisk it into the gumbo. Another option is to dissolve a small amount of cornstarch or arrowroot powder in water and stir this slurry into the gumbo, allowing it to simmer and thicken.

Remember to cook the gumbo for a few minutes after adding the thickener to eliminate any raw flour or starch taste.

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HELLO AND WELCOME TO
VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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