Vegetarian Gumbo

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Vegetarian Gumbo

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.

Vegetarian Gumbo made with a rich, dark roux and red beans, okra, bell peppers, and mushrooms.


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.

Vegetarian Gumbo made with a rich, dark roux and okra, bell peppers, red beans, zucchini, and mushrooms.


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.

Vegetarian Gumbo made with a rich, dark roux and okra, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, and red beans.

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.

Vegetarian Gumbo made with a rich, dark roux and red beans, okra, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers.

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Vegetarian Gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 245kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
This Vegetarian Gumbo is so smoky and flavorful, you'll never miss the meat and vegetables.
Print Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 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
  • 1 1/2 cups diced zucchini 1 medium
  • 1 1/2 cups diced green pepper 1 large
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper 1 large
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 1/2 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.


Calories: 245kcal

Recipe adapted from: The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table

More Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian BBQ Nachos

Vegetarian BBQ Nachos

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

42 thoughts on “Vegetarian Gumbo

  1. This is delicious! I made exactly as written and added about two tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base for added flavor. Will be making again!

  2. I made this recipe oil free (baked flour in oven for oil-less roux), the tomato and spice puree is very flavorful as written and makes a delicious gumbo. The only thing I changed was the cook method, first sauteing onions (minus the half a cup I put in the puree), peppers and celery, then adding 3 tablespoons of oven baked flour, like I would a traditional gumbo, then added the tomato puree, vegetable, beans (kidney and garbanzo) and jack fruit, finally the the broth. The smell in the kitchen was so amazing that I didn’t have to taste it to know that it was good. This recipe is the TRUTH, the amount of spices needed definitely depends on individual preference however I added extra beans and sauteed okra and didn’t have to alter the spices at all. This is a winner Thanks!

  3. Cant ever read your page with constant popups one after another. Disable all if these popups then we may be able to read your page. I will be going elsewhere until then.

  4. Bless you! This recipe is terrific! Most of my family does not like vegetables, and definitely not spicy foods, but *I* do! My loving wife made this for just me and it HIT THE SPOT! I will be feasting for days!

  5. I helped make this with a group of friends last night, the host had picked the recipe. It was so good I came back to save the recipe for myself later but was surprised to see such a low rating. I don’t understand those saying the recipe is bland or giving it a low rating due to it calling for Worcestershire sauce & people not understanding vegetarian versions exist. Regardless, we followed this recipe to a T with the exception of we didn’t have the Worcestershire and there was still PLENTY of flavor. We also doubled but only had 1 can of red beans. It was especially yummy with grits, though we had rice too. I’m not sure what others did wrong, but I’m not a vegetarian, nor am I a fan of bland goulashes, and this gumbo was just as enjoyable as classic gumbo even though it’s extremely different. Highly recommend, and look forward to stealing this idea for our summer garden.

  6. I’m a gumbo addict. This is a very good recipe but each cook has to adjust it to their tastes. I added bay leaf and next time I’ll fry the okra in corn meal before adding and the add corn to thicken the sauce. Thank you for this addition! Obviously some people need to actually read the recipe before responding.

  7. We made this last night and, while it was okay, it had almost no flavor at all. I followed the recipe to a ‘T’ and am proficient cooking vegetarian food but…there just wasn’t anything to taste. There’s not even any salt and pepper in the recipe (two things which gumbo needs to ‘wake up’ all the flavors in it and meld them together). The story behind the recipe is very sweet, no doubt, but it resulted in bland food made with good intentions. Maybe turn up the spices next time like a previous commenter mentioned? The inclusion of the smoky flavors worked great but there wasn’t any heat to it like traditional gumbo has.

    1. just add more spices and seasoning then…. i literally quadruple the spices in pretty much every recipe i read. You gotta taste your cooking before you serve it?!


  9. Delicious. Was much better the second day. I will make this again. Husband is a meat eater and he added sliced sausage to his.

    1. I make the roux in a 6 cup Pyrex in the microwave (high for 2 min, then stir and check every 30 seconds after). Then, to quickly cool the roux, I add frozen okra to it. I use frozen okra because the ice crystals break down the fibers so it’s less like eating sticks. I then sauté the remaining frozen okra separately in a large pan to break it down. You DO want it to get slimy…that’s what binds this thick soup and gives it it’s signature character. Otherwise, the okra is distractingly tough to chew. Add the okra when you add the stock (whether you sautéed it or not).

      1. Hi Christin…this recipe looks amazing. But my question is how could I adapt this for a crock pot. Please help😂

  10. Made this as the veg option for a dinner party, pretty good but I ended up turning all the spices up a little and also adding some cumin. I added the okra at the same time as the beans, mushrooms, peppers etc BUT I added the zucchini about 15 minutes later which I think is important because zucchini cooks a lot faster and can get mushy and gross easily. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Wow, this looks so delicious, it might make me give okra another try, I had it once and wasn’t so impressed. 🙂 I have to look for it next time I go to the Turkish grocery, it is not something you can normally buy around here. Happy New Year!

  12. Just from looking at this I can tell I won’t miss the meat or seafood!! This gumbo looks absolutely perfect and chock FULL of deliciousness! I must make this soon, because this looks like the perfect way to stay warm! Cheers, my dear and happy new year!

  13. You know, I don’t actually think I’ve ever eaten gumbo before so I love that you made a vegetarian version! I’ve always heard that it is packed with so many delicious flavors! This sounds delicious 🙂

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