A healthy vegan version of the iconic New Orleans dish!
I come from a long line of cold, bitter New Englanders. But amidst the cold winters and general unfriendliness, my family has always had a soft spot for the south, especially southern cooking. My family loves everything from key lime pie to shrimp and grits. But more than any other dish, I remember growing up on gumbo. It doesn’t get much more quintessentially southern than this Creole classic, and this clean, vegan gumbo recipe is a healthy way to enjoy southern comfort food.
As the official cuisine of Louisiana, gumbo is a classic New Orleans dish. Bold, spicy, and iconic, gumbo boasts as much rich cultural flavor and heritage as the city itself.
Rich in Flavor and Culture
Generally agreed to have originated in Louisiana in the eighteenth century, gumbo remains a cultural staple of the state. Today, the dish itself is often seen as a metaphor for the rich blend of cultures in that region. Indeed, gumbo recipes bear influence from French, Spanish, African, and indigenous cooking practices.
As with any dish this rich in cultural history, there’s no one “standard” gumbo recipe. That said, there are a few staple ingredients that no gumbo would be complete without. It would be tough to find any traditional Louisiana gumbo recipe without the “holy trinity” of vegetables: celery, onion, and bell pepper. Okra, a staple in African and African-American cooking, is another can’t-miss veggie you’ll find in nearly all gumbo recipes.
This slow-cooker vegan gumbo recipe has all the classic staples. This recipe also includes diced tomatoes and carrots for an extra-hearty veggie stew.
No Meat, No Problem
Traditionally, along with okra and the “holy trinity” veggies, gumbo also features some combination of meats and seafoods. Chicken, sausage, shrimp, and fish are some of the most common add-ins. However, this vegan gumbo recipe is an entirely meatless version of the classic dish. And trust me, you won’t miss the meat for a second. In this recipe we used asparagus but when okra is in season, we would recommend this veggie instead.
Instead of sausage and seafood, this slow-cooker vegan recipe adds kidney beans and mushrooms, turning mixed veggie soup into a thick and hearty stew. Meanwhile, this meatless recipe is definitely not hurting for protein. This mix of clean veggies and beans keeps things hearty, filling, and nutritious.
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a bowl of this vegan gumbo all on its own as a stew. Traditionally, however, gumbo is served over rice. While white rice is often the go-to when it comes to southern cuisine, this clean recipe is best served over healthy brown rice.
This recipe is a healthy vegan twist on an iconic southern dish. Just as bold, flavorful, and filling as the Louisiana classic, this zesty recipe is a can’t miss for vegans, vegetarians, and casual Meatless Monday observers alike.
Slow Cooker Vegan Gumbo Recipe
- 1 yellow onion chopped small
- 1 green bell pepper chopped small
- 2 celery stalks chopped small
- 2 carrots large, peeled and chopped small
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 30 ounces diced tomatoes cans
- 30 ounces kidney beans cans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups asparagus chopped or optional okra for a more traditional Gumbo
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme not ground
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups brown rice cooked
- 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped
- Combine all ingredients, except tomato paste, rice, and parsley, in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 minutes on high or until thickened.
- Spoon rice into serving bowls, ladle gumbo over rice and sprinkle parsley on top. Serve and enjoy!
Have you made this recipe?
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More Vegan Soups and Stews:
Quick and Easy Black Bean and Lentil Soup
Creamy coconut milk turns this super healthy, totally vegan soup into rich and delicious winter comfort food. Meanwhile, black beans and lentils keep this meatless recipe high in protein, fiber, and tons of other vitamins and minerals.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Chili
A healthy and hearty all vegetable chili recipe. Loaded with beans, veggies, and bold and spicy chili flavors, it’s a must have recipe for any vegan or vegetarian cooking.
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Actual actual nightmare to my eyes…. The vary essence of gumbo flies in the face of vegetarianism. If it walks, crawls, swims, or flies, we catch and cook it! It’s the Holy Trinity or mirepoix, pick one. Seafood gumbo’s more likely to use okra, but land critter tends to have filé, preferred additive of Cajuns. Now, there are many variants on gumbo, like most recipes, but one thing I can tell you is it always starts with a roux, and a brick one. It’s why seafood and poultry gumbo are both red, despite poultry gumbo not using tomatoes. Roux’s also a thickener, since you were concerned and added beans, but this is a soup, not a curry or pour over like etoufee, that rice should be floating. You made chili with a blend of cayenne, paprika, onion, and garlic powders marketed as Cajun. I’m glad it was tasty, but it isn’t gumbo.
Thanks for your feedback, it’s appreciated regardless of disapproval about the ingredients.
Um… the holy trinity is onion, celery, and bell pepper. Those are vegetarian.
Super tasty! I left out the celery and mushrooms and asparagus, and instead added an extra carrot and some veggie sausage from Kroger. Highly recommend ?
Sara, Great! Thanks for the tips too. 🙂
Is this calorie count before or after the rice??
The calorie count is with the rice, our nutrition information includes all ingredients listed in the recipe.
great flavor but not as thick as I would have liked it. Any suggestions for next time?
Here’s how I make a Gumbo, soup, or stew thicker:
1. Take one cup of the soften veggies (w/o liquid), mash well and add back to the recipe.
2. Add 2 Tablespoons cornstarch to 1/2 cup liquid from the soup, stir well and add back to the recipe.
Thanks. That worked great!!!
Can’t wait to try..sounds so good!! We are a family of vegetarians/vegans, so I’m looking forward to trying this! And being able to cook in a crockpot makes it even better! I’m always looking for vegan/vegetarian recipes that aren’t super involved or time-consuming, so I was happy to see this recipe! Please keep them coming! So many doctors now recommend plant-based diets!
Jean, Let us know how you like the recipe. 🙂
I made this vegan gumbo last night and my family and I loved it!! It’s healthy, filling, and delicious! Going to take some to my mom today!!
Jean, Great!!! I’m so happy your family enjoyed the Gumbo. Please leave a review if don’t mind.
I will be happy to leave a 5-star review! Just not sure how. ?
Jean, Thank you so much. It should be published now.
can yo sub butter beans for kidney beans?
Butter beans should work fine.
Can you use the instant pot for this recipe,
So far looks lovely in the crock pot. Was looking for a way to use up some home grown okra, so I added an extra cup. I made my own blend of Cajun spices.
This was really good, I had a lot of leftover veggies from my garden that needed to be used up so I used red and green bell peppers, Celery, carrots, onion and fresh tomato. I used my food processor to make it super easy. I topped it with rice, Beyond Hot Italian Sausage and served with jalapeño corn bread. Picky husband loved it too! Thank you for the great recipe!