This vegan gumbo recipe is hearty, savory, filling and warming. With a mix of beans, mushrooms and okra, this vegetarian gumbo is cheap to make and full of flavour. Starting with a dark, rich roux, key herbs and spices, and a secret umami ingredient, it’s hard to believe that this vegan gumbo doesn’t have any meat in it!
With the exceptional success of my vegan jambalaya recipe, creating a vegan gumbo recipe was a no-brainer. I must have looked at about fifty recipes for gumbo and ended up more confused than I was before.
There’s just so many ways to make gumbo and everyone swears by their own version!
I had quite a few decisions to make when creating my own vegan gumbo recipes, but one thing I was certain about from the start was that I absolutely wanted it to include okra.
If you read along regularly, you’ll know how often I woefully complain about all the normal fruits and vegetables that are very difficult to find in Barcelona. Okra is a happy exception – it’s one of the few things that’s actually more accessible to me here than in Canada.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I can buy it in the supermarket, but there is a neighbourhood not far from my home with a large South Asian population where I can get fresh, quality okra all year round.
I absolutely love okra in curries and gumbo is a great recipe to start with if you’re not familiar with how to cook this fruit.
Since okra is used to thicken gumbo, whether or not to do a roux was the first decision I had to make. I decided to go ahead with a roux for the deep, nutty flavour that it would add to a meatless gumbo and sauté the okra to remove most of the slime that grosses lots of people out.
Roux isn’t hard to make, you just need to stand over it stirring for a bit. The deeper colour you let it get to, the more flavour it will bring to the dish. I let mine go to a dark caramel, milk chocolate colour that was a little darker than peanut butter.
If you’re nervous, you can do it slowly over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or turn the heat up to medium-high and have it ready in about 15 minutes.
Next, to add another layer of flavour I added dark miso paste. Miso is what I often use in vegan curry pastes in order to replace shrimp paste and add a savory, umamai note.
It worked wonderfully in this vegan gumbo recipe, adding a meaty, gravy-like flavour without tasting of miso soup. My husband wasn’t able to guess that miso was the secret ingredient!
Finally, I was quite conservative with the herbs and spices, adding just a bit of thyme, bay leaves and cayenne pepper. But you can get creative here if you want and add any combination of Cajun seasoning, smoky paprika or liquid smoke, oregano, nutmeg, allspice, lemon juice, vinegar or filé powder (or whatever else you like in your gumbo).
However you choose to make it, this vegan gumbo will fill your belly and satisfy all vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my vegan jambalaya or my smoky Cajun-style black-eyed peas.
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This vegan gumbo recipe is hearty, savory, filling and warming. With a mix of beans, mushrooms and okra, this vegetarian gumbo is cheap to make and full of flavour.
5 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups (200 grams) okra, sliced
- 1 can (400 grams / 14 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 2 ½ - 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 10 button mushrooms, quartered
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups (330 grams) mixed beans or lentils (I used chickpeas, kidney beans, white beans and brown lentils)
- 1 tablespoon dark miso paste
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Brown rice, to serve
- A small handful of fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Heat a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and sprinkle over the flour. Stir or whisk continuously until the roux reaches a dark caramel or milk chocolate colour, a bit darker than peanut butter. It will take about 15 – 20 minutes. Don’t let it burn or you will have to start over.
- Add the onions and continue stirring continuously until soft. Add the green pepper, celery, garlic and okra. Sauté, stirring frequently for 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the okra slime has disappeared.
- Add the tomato, 2 ½ cups of stock, mushrooms, thyme, cayenne pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- If you like your gumbo a bit thinner and more soup-like, add as much of the remaining stock as you want. Add the beans and simmer for a few more minutes until they are heated through. Turn off the heat and ladle a small amount of the gumbo into a small bowl and add the miso paste. Stir well to dissolve and add back to the saucepan. Mix well. Taste the gumbo and add salt to taste (depends on how salty your stock and miso are) and pepper.
- Serve the gumbo with brown rice and sprinkled with some fresh parsley.