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.
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup Gumbo | Calories: 261 | Total Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 892mg | Carbohydrates: 51g | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 10g | Protein: 13g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 2
- 1 yellow onion, chopped small
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped small
- 2 stalks celery, chopped small
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped small
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cup chopped asparagus, 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 fresh parsley, 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 the tomato past 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!
More Vegan Soups and Stews:
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.
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.