Hearty, healthy vegan gumbo is a perfect warm-you-up meal. This tomato-free, Cajun gumbo is easy to make, with plenty for leftovers.
This recipe is on the time-consuming side - it takes about an hour and a half to make - so I would suggest making it on a weekend. The recipe serves eight people, so if you have a family of four, you can get two meals out of one round of cooking. Cook it for Sunday supper, and you can have gumbo again later in the week.
The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
This recipe is from The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, a compilation cookbook that includes a few of my favorite vegan recipe developers:
- Kathy Hester (read my review of her book, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot)
- Linda and Alex Meyer (read my review of their book, Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill)
- Celine Steen (read my review of her book Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking)
The book is packed with over 600 vegan recipes for every meal and from appetizers through desserts. There is also a chapter of just recipes that take 30 minutes or less to make and another dedicated to kitchen gadgets.
Some of my food blogger friends have also shared recipes from this epic cookbook. Here are some others to check out:
- Garam Masala Roasted Squash
- Butternut Squash and Kale Lo Mein with Crispy Tofu
- Chocolate Gingersnap Fall Bars
This vegan gumbo recipe is one of Kathy's, and I think you're going to love it!
Making Your Vegan Gumbo
I know that at first glance this recipe does NOT look simple, but trust me. It's totally doable, even if you want to hide under the bed at the mere mention of the word "roux."
Stay with me. I'll walk you through all of the things.
The first thing to know is that the roux in this recipe takes a long time - about 30 minutes - to make. The good news is that you don't have to stir a roux constantly, just frequently.
Keep that temperature LOW, and stir often, and you can do other prep work while your roux cooks. That will significantly cut down on your total cooking time. I factored in some prepwork during cooking when I calculated the total time.
I'd wash and peel everything and prep the butternut squash beforehand, then get the rest of the veggies (except the okra) chopped during roux-making time. It's also a good idea to start your rice cooking now. I used my Instant Pot to make my rice, because of course I did.
Once your roux is toasty brown, you're ready to saute the first batch of veggies, herbs, and spices to fragrant perfection. For this portion, you do want to keep a close eye on the pan, and stir a lot, so nothing sticks.
You can chop the okra during the saute, because chopping okra is super quick.
After that, you just add the water, okra, squash, and sausage or beans, and simmer to vegan gumbo perfection.
Vegan Gumbo with Butternut Squash, Okra, and Brown Rice
For the Roux
- ¼ cup avocado oil - or other mild oil
- 1 cup unbleached white flour - or you can use white whole wheat
For the Saute
- ¾ cup minced onion
- ¾ cup minced bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons regular paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt - or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper - to taste
For the Simmer
- 8 cups water
- 3 cups sliced okra
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups chopped vegan andouille sausage - or your favorite cooked bean
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- Tabasco or other vinegar-based hot sauce
Make the Roux
- In a large soup pot over low heat, add the oil and flour; mix well. You will slowly toast this mixture. It will start out a pale white, and then after about 15 minutes, it will be a light brown. After 15 more, it will be more maple colored.
- The most important thing is to not let this burn, so stir often throughout the roux cooking process. If you burn it, you must throw it out and start again. So go low and slow. Since this process takes about 30 minutes, I like to prep my veggies while this is cooking. Cut a little, stir the roux, cut some more, etc.
- Once the roux is a medium brown and begins to smell almost like toasted nuts, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Turn up the heat to medium-low; stir and sauté until the veggies begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Add the herbs and spices. You can leave the salt, pepper and cayenne to add before serving if you want. Or start small and add more at the end if you’re not sure how you like it yet.
- Add the water, okra, butternut squash and andouille (or beans). Cover and let it cook over medium-low heat until the okra and squash are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Taste and reseason with salt, pepper and cayenne as needed. I make ours very mild since I’m the only one in my household who likes spicy food. I just add lots of hot sauce to my bowl.
- Serve topped with rice and hot sauce on the side.