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.
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- 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.
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Recipe adapted from: The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table
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44 thoughts on “Vegetarian Gumbo”
I AM JUST TWO YEARS OLD VEGETARIAN BASED IN ZAMBIA SOUTHERN PART OF AFRICA .I AM GREAT-FULL ,FOR THIS .CAN THIS DISH BE EATEN WITH PUP SHINMA (MAIZE FLOOR COOKED )
Delicious. Was much better the second day. I will make this again. Husband is a meat eater and he added sliced sausage to his.
I have read and re-read the instructions. I don’t see when to add the okra.
Okra should be added last. Otherwise it will fall apart and make your gumbo slimy.
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).
You’re right. And the recipe has never been corrected/updated.
I saw that you recommend a vegetarian sauce… I stand corrected!
Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian!
You can buy vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce. Annie’s is a good brand.
Delicious! Just finished making. Great dinner.
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Hi Christin…this recipe looks amazing. But my question is how could I adapt this for a crock pot. Please help😂
Hi Ardella, I don’t think there is any way that I know of to make a roux in a crock pot so you would have a hard time making this recipe in the crock pot. I have personally never made a gumbo in a crock pot. Here is a link to a recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/238411/slow-cooker-chicken-gumbo-with-shrimp/
You could try subbing vegetable broth and veggies for the chicken broth and chicken. Good Luck!
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!
A reminder: Worcester sauce typically contains anchovies, which would render the gumbo non-vegetarian.
Thanks for the warning Sadara. It’s possible to buy vegetarian Worcestershire which is not made from anchovies and that is what I have listed in the ingredients.
in the recipe there’s not a direction for when to add the okra ~
Thank you, just noticed this! I’m adding it with the other veggies, hope that’s right!
You’re right, and it’s never been fixed. I guess this person doesn’t work on this blog anymore.
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!
Wow! I would never guess this is vegetarian! It looks amazing!
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!
A veggie recipe with a smoky flavour is right up my avenue ♥
Christin, this looks amazingly delicious! This looks so hearty, I wouldn’t miss the meat either. Happy New Year!
Wow Christin! This looks delicious and very flavourful! I have always wondered what gumbo was after seeing it in an episode of Hart of Dixie. I want to try this one!
What a delicious soup! I love that you made this vegetarian too!
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 🙂
Love all the flavor you got into this gumbo without any of the meat! Delicious 🙂
I love that you made a meatless gumbo, Christin! This sounds perfect for the cold weather and snow that’s headed my way!
I don’t eat a whole lot of meat, so this sounds just perfect! And the bbq vegetarian nachos sound really good too!