Slow Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo
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!

Frozen Okra
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.


Slow Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

A veggie-packed meatless gumbo recipe, adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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“Don’t be afraid to be a little inauthentic. I mean, it’s just food. If your […] tastes good, does it really have to be a perfect replication of the original? No! […] Enjoy your food for what it is!”

Amen to THAT! People just take things WAY too seriously these days, ESPECIALLY food (to the point of being judgemental, snooty and, in the end, exclusive and offensive; Top Chef contestants are like the Inuit, but instead of having 50 words for “snow”, it’s 50 for “puree”). Like you said, it’s JUST food. Don’t complicate it, and, by all means, ENJOY it. There should never really be any rules when it comes to food; taste is such a subjective thing, anyway. As long as one is thoughtful, conscientious and aware of where their food is coming from and how it’s produced, what you do with it is fair game. 🙂 Unconventionality usually equates with originality, which usually wins out for me. 🙂

Yes, a lot of people will get caught up in the right or wrong way to do things, but really, unless you’re doing something that could cause food poisoning, fire, or the loss of a limb, there’s no right or wrong with cooking as long as it tastes good in the end. I think that fear of doing things wrong keeps a lot of people out of the kitchen, which is sad!

One of the things that I discovered about that surprises me in a major way is that he loves okra. It’s very uncharacteristic of him. I love okra too so this is totally happening.

Ha! There are times when I love okra and times when I hate it. I was pretty ready to pick the okra out of my gumbo, but surprisingly, I liked it. But yeah, it’s not exactly the most popular veggie.

I like your philosophy – I’ve seen other bloggers get attacked by readers for making “inauthentic” versions of traditional dishes, but I think the point of having a blog is to be creative and contribute something different from what everyone has already made! I wouldn’t know what authentic gumbo is anyway, but this sounds good to me and the mexican field roast sausage would be perfect in it!

I hate when people leave comments like you can’t call this X, true X only has this, this, and this .. If we never experimented with dishes then so many delicious ones would never have been invented (not to mention food would be pretty boring)! Traditional gumbo has never really appealed to me but this version sounds great!

Yeah, those comments bug me too! I don’t get too many of them (I guess because people coming here are already assuming my recipes will deviate from the original since they’re meatless!), but I see some pretty intense arguments on other blogs and I feel bad for those bloggers!

I picked up some fresh okra and peppers at the market today. Do you think this recipe will fare well with fresh okra instead of frozen? I’ve never cooked okra before…

I made a giant pot of this tonight and it is TAS.TY. I’m very happy with how it turned out. I used fresh okra instead of frozen, and cooked them with the other ingredients listed in the first step so they wouldn’t be slimy and disgusting. That is the only thing I did differently and I will definitely be making this again in the future. I already screenshot the recipe to my computer!! 🙂 Thanx!!

As the husband of a vegetarian-who-doesn’t-cook (and as a non-vegetarian), it’s been frustrating trying to come up with tasty vegetarian dishes that can be made easily to support my wife. It’s hard when you’ve been raised with meat @ every meal and there seems like so little time in every day to spend researching and experimenting on making things vegetarian. I made this gumbo yesterday for my wife and I was amazed how good it all turned out! (I’m looking forward to the leftovers this weekend!) I’m glad that I stumbled upon your website—it looks like a great resource going forward. I think I’m going to try out a weekly dinner plan next. Thank you!

Do you have a suggestion on how to make a gluten free roux? I am thinking a GF flour mix should do the trick. Just wondering if someone has already tried that. Thanks.

This looks very tasty. I am making this tomorrow !! But I was wondering if I could substitute brussels sprouts for the Okra? I’m not really sure if this would work Thanks

Okay this seriously turned out AMAZING! I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed this dish! Thank you so much!!

I found the can of tomatoes made the meal taste way too acidic. Next time I might try using fresh tomatoes and add some brown sugar.

So you think this would work if you prepare everything The day before and just start The cockpit? It is a lot to prepare in The morning with everything Else…

If you prepared everything the day before, I’d refrigerate it and then put it in the crockpot the next morning – it shouldn’t be left room temperature in the crockpot overnight.

I’m a little confused. Its called Gumbo, but that’s not what the picture shows. I’m a cajun from South Louisiana, so I’m quite familiar, and I make my own vegetarian Okra Gumbo that’s a big hit with even the meat eaters. However, when you eat gumbo, its in a bowl with lots of liquids and you put a big scoop of rice in before using the soup spoon to add the gumbo. This looks VERY dry. Is it supposed to be like a gumbo with lots of liquids like a soup, or is it more like a stew like it looks in the picture? There’s no picture of the pot with the gumbo in it, so I’m not sure if its the same consistency as the picture or if it has all the liquids and can be eaten like a soup with rice.

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