Bring a bit of southern flavor to your vegetarian kitchen with this Vegetarian Gumbo.
Due to a clever mix of ingredients, this Vegetarian Gumbo has all the flavor and smokiness of a meaty gumbo. It’s so chock full of veggies, you won’t miss the meat or seafood at all. During the month of January, I gravitate towards lighter and healthier meals as most do. My daughter is vegetarian so I’m always looking to make her vegetarian versions of the foods we most love to eat. Vegetarian Sloppy Joes and Vegetarian BBQ Nachos were both big hits.
This is a recipe that I’ve slightly adapted from the The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table which happens to be my very favorite vegetarian cookbook.
Soy sauce and liquid smoke, plus an array of spices including smoked paprika and nutmeg, help create the smokey flavor that meat typically gives gumbo. The base of the flavor is of course a roux which should be cooked until it reaches a dark caramel color.
To really add more flavor, a tomato and onion are processed with herbs and spices, lots of garlic and some Creole mustard and Worcestershire sauce and then added to the gumbo.
The ingredient list is a little long and not at all typical for a gumbo, but they really work together and create a delicious vegetarian gumbo.
To make a roux, you need patience, a strong forearm, and a heavy-bottomed pan. You want to keep the heat fairly low because a roux burns easily and once it is even slightly burned, there’s no turning back. You will have to start over and you will have filled your house with a god awful smell.
For best flavor, keep cooking the roux until it is a deep caramel color or the color of an old penny.
I actually forgot to add the red beans when I made this batch of Vegetarian Gumbo and didn’t even miss them since the gumbo is so full of delicious vegetables.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
- 1½ teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
- 4 cups sliced okra
- 1 (16-ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1½ cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
- 1½ cups diced green pepper (1 large)
- 1½ cups diced red bell pepper (1 large)
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
- ½ cups sliced green onion
- Place vegetable oil and flour in a Dutch Oven with a heavy bottom. I like to use a cast iron Dutch oven. Turn the heat on medium and whisk continuously until mixture becomes fragrant. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Turn heat to low or medium-low depending on the size and heat your burner gives off. Continue to whisk continuously (it's alright to stop for a few seconds here and there, but not for any length of time) until roux becomes a dark caramel color, like the color of an old penny. This could take 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from heat.
- In a food processor, process tomato, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg, and oregano until mixture is smooth.
- Place Dutch oven with roux over medium-high heat and add tomato/onion puree. Stir to mix together. Continue to cook until most of liquid has evaporated.
- Add vegetable stock and stir. Bring to a simmer.
- Add beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red pepper, and celery and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve with rice and green onions.
Recipe adapted from: The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table
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