This recipe for Vegan Gumbo stays true to its Louisiana roots with just the right blend of cajun spices and deep roux flavor creating a plant based version of the delicious cajun classic.
If you have ever been to New Orleans you've probably seen gumbo on almost every menu in the city. And it should be! It's a classic cajun dish that is unlike anything you've ever tasted.
Gumbo is literally a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. The dish was inspired by a combination of French, Spanish, African, Native American, Caribbean, and German influence that all set foot in Louisiana at some point in history (source). It's by far one of the most unique dishes I've ever eaten in the United States.
And I was actually lucky enough to get to try a variety of different vegan gumbos when I lived in New Orleans for 6 months a few years ago. Needless to say, I loved them all! So this recipe takes all my favorite aspects of those different gumbos and combines them into one amazing stew.
The recipe does not use an all in one cajun seasoning blend. Instead it uses a combination of spices to achieve the perfect flavor that helps to maintain the integrity of the gumbo. The recipe also relies on the rich flavor that is produced by creating a roux that is dark in color and deep with flavor.
The outcome is a traditional vegan gumbo that is authentic in taste, but meat free. A win in my book! It's become my personal favorite and go to gumbo recipe that I make all the time.
How To Make Vegan Gumbo
Making gumbo does take a bit of patience to get the perfect roux, but the steps are easy and it's almost a one-pot meal!
To begin, make the roux by whisking together the flour and oil in a medium saucepan. Then turn the heat on and cook the roux on medium low while whisking constantly until it reaches a dark chocolate color. This will take about 25 minutes and is the most important step in the entire recipe. Don't rush this step or your roux will burn.
Then in a separate deep stock pot, brown the vegan sausage and set aside. Next, saute all the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes until soft. Then add the vegetable stock and prepared roux to the pot and whisk it together. Now, add the vegan sausage, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne pepper into the pot and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes on low heat.
After the gumbo simmers for a while, add in the okra, red beans, vinegar, and vegan Worcestershire sauce to the pot and cook on low for another 10 minutes. Then taste for salt and season to your liking.
To serve, top with fresh chopped parsley and hot steamed rice.
Tips For Success
- Roux Patience: For the best gumbo results and taste possible be patient when it comes to making your roux. It's the most important step in making gumbo and what makes the cajun classic so good. You need that deep dark chocolate brown color for the authentic flavor. If you try to turn up the heat to cook it faster there is a good chance you will burn your roux and have to start all over again. It's also just as important to whisk your roux constantly as you wait for it to turn dark chocolate in color. So be patient as you whisk away and let the roux do its flavor making magic.
- Same Size Vegetable Cuts: You want all your vegetables to be diced about the same size. This will help ensure that they cook evenly and you don't end up with different textures. This rule of thumb is true for almost all recipes.
- Salt Last: Do not season your gumbo until it is completely done cooking. You will hear this tip from me often. Anytime you are cooking something like gumbo that will reduce as it cooks, you must not add extra salt until you have the exact consistency you want to serve.
How To Store
Gumbo can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When storing in the freezer make sure to use an airtight container or freezer bag to keep the gumbo as fresh as possible.
When it's time to reheat, simply heat in a saucepan at a medium temperature on the stove top. If the gumbo is frozen, it's best to allow it to defrost before reheating so that it does not become mushy.
Vegan gumbo is a fantastic make ahead meal like most soups and stews because it does keep so well.
This vegan gumbo is amazing because it's...
- Layered with authentic classic cajun flavor
- A hearty and filling meal full of protein
- Easy to make and the perfect family dinner
- Keeps well in the fridge or freezer
I hope you love this recipe. We do at my house. It's a Louisiana favorite turned into a plant based bowl of deliciousness!
More Easy Stew Recipes
- Cajun Vegan Red Beans and Rice
- Spanish Vegan Lentil Stew with Soyrizo
- Easy Moroccan Chickpea Tagine
- Indian Red Lentil Dal
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
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Vegan Gumbo Louisiana Style
- ⅔ cup of sunflower oil (any neutral oil )
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free 1 to 1 flour can be substituted)
- 14 oz vegan sausages, sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
- 2 celery stalks, diced (¾ cup)
- ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups okra (fresh or frozen)
- 14 oz can red beans or kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Make the roux by whisking together the ⅔ cup of oil with the 1 cup of flour in a medium size heavy bottom saucepan. Then turn the heat on to medium low and whisk constantly as you wait for the roux to turn from a light blonde color to a deep chocolate color. This process takes 25-35 minutes and requires patience, but is the most important step of the gumbo that creates the authentic traditional flavor that you want. And be warned, do not turn up the heat and try to rush this step or the roux will burn. Once the roux reaches a deep chocolate color remove it from the heat and set aside.
- In a deep stock pot add 1 teaspoon of oil and brown the vegan sausage. Then remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.
- Add another 1 teaspoon oil to the pot you cooked the sausage in and saute the onions, garlic, celery, and bell peppers with a pinch of salt for about 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot with the sauteed vegetables. Now, add the prepared roux to the pot while whisking to incorporate it with the stock.
- Put the sausage back into the pot along with the tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
- Bring the gumbo to a boil. Then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes on low heat.
- Then add the okra, red beans, vinegar, and vegan Worcestershire sauce to the gumbo. Cook for another 10 minutes on low.
- At this point, if the gumbo is too thick for your liking just add a little more stock or water. If the gumbo is too thin then let it cook a few more minutes to thicken up.
- Taste for salt and season to your liking. It should take about ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt. This will depend on how salty your stock was and what type of salt you are using. Start with a lesser amount of salt than you think you will need and go from there. Allow the gumbo to cook for another 2-3 minutes after adding the salt.
- Finish the gumbo by garnishing with fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve with a side of rice and hot sauce.
- Vegan gumbo will keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.