Yes, I know, this gumbo is inauthentic. There’s no seafood, there’s no sausage, and there’s not even any chicken. But that’s the point of these Make It Meatless posts! How do you take something made with meat and make it vegetarian? Well, here’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years: Don’t be afraid to be a little inauthentic. I mean, it’s just food. If your vegetarian gumbo tastes good, does it really have to be a perfect replication of the original? No! And when you get too tied up in trying to duplicate the flavors of the original recipe, I think it makes you enjoy cooking and eating a lot less. Enjoy your food for what it is!
Traditionally, gumbo is made with one of three ingredients: filé powder, okra, or roux. Since filé powder isn’t something most people keep on hand, I decided to go with a roux, but I also added okra too because both were used in the recipe I adapted this from. However! I have tested this recipe without okra too, and it still works so if you’re not big on okra, feel free to leave it out. Rather than sausage and chicken or faux sausage and chicken, I added kidney beans, zucchini, and mushrooms, so this stew is packed with veggie goodness.
A lot of the heat in gumbo comes from the andouille sausage; I used Cajun seasoning instead, which you can find at most grocery stores, and then we added hot sauce to each of our individual servings to our own liking. Cackalacky hot sauce, to be exact, which is a hot sauce from North Carolina made with sweet potatoes. You know, just to make things even more inauthentic. If you’re not opposed to meatless sausage, Field Roast’s Mexican Chipotle Sausage would be a great way to add some heat too—I’d slice it up and add it when the gumbo has finished cooking.
A veggie-packed meatless gumbo recipe, adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
- 1 small zucchini, cut into thick half moons
- 1 cup frozen sliced okra
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Hot sauce and cooked rice, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Transfer veggies to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
- Return the Dutch oven to the stovetop and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in it. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it's golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil; once the broth has come to a boil, transfer it to the slow cooker. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker except the hot sauce and cooked rice.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the gumbo has finished cooking, remove the bay leaf and add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve over rice with hot sauce.