Loaded with beans, vegetables, and vegan sausage, this gumbo recipe makes for a satisfying meal! The spicy broth is perfect for soaking up with a piece of homemade cornbread.
If you’re looking for a hearty, flavourful vegan dinner, look no further than this gumbo recipe. While it swaps the usual meat-based sausage for a plant-based version, everything else in this recipe sticks with tradition, from the okra to the red beans and the fiery Cajun seasoning.
Is Gumbo Black Food?
Although the gumbo we know today originated in southern Louisiana, ultimately gumbo is believed to have originated in West Africa because the name is so close to the West African word for okra, which is ki ngombo. The dish has since become a staple of many Southern Black communities, so it is often thought of as Black food.
Why You’ll Love This Gumbo Recipe
Here’s what makes gumbo so special:
- One-pot dinner. It’s always nice when you can get a complete meal out of a single pot! Less work and less cleanup.
- A Southern classic. Gumbo has all the flavours of the South that we love—smoky, spicy, and savory. It’s total comfort food.
- Vegan. This is a gumbo recipe that everyone can enjoy!
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Avocado oil – Or another oil you like to use for cooking.
- Okra – Okra is a must because it thickens the gumbo.
- All-purpose flour – You can use gluten-free flour for gluten-free gumbo.
- Yellow onion – One part of the Cajun holy trinity.
- Green pepper – The second part.
- Celery – And the third part! These three ingredients are the aromatic base for all kinds of Creole and Cajun classics.
- Cajun seasoning – Cajun seasoning can vary in heat level from one brand to the next; if you’re sensitive to spicy foods, you may want to start with a smaller amount and add more from there.
- Bay leaves
- Vegetable broth – Use homemade or store-bought.
- Fresh thyme
- Apple cider vinegar
- Mushrooms – This adds some extra meatiness to the stew.
- Red kidney beans – You can use canned or cook dried kidney beans separately.
- Vegan sausage – I used Beyond Meat Italian sausage, but a vegan kielbasa would work just as well.
- Garnishes – Parsley, green onions and filé powder.
How to Make Gumbo
Gumbo is slow cooked on the stovetop to allow all the flavours to mix and mingle. Be sure to take this into account when planning your dinner!
Heat the oil. Add 6 tablespoons of oil to a pot set over medium-high heat. Let it warm up for about 5 minutes.
Cook the okra. Stir the okra into the pot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally. Transfer the cooked okra to a bowl.
Start the roux. Add the rest of the oil to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the flour browns.
Add the vegetables. Stir the onion, green pepper, celery, and 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning into the roux and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Bring to a simmer. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and remaining Cajun seasoning and cook for a minute, then stir in the broth, thyme, apple cider vinegar, and mushrooms. Add the okra and bring to a simmer.
Simmer. Cook the gumbo for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam or oil from the surface.
Add the beans and sausage. Stir the beans and sausage into the gumbo and cook for 30 minutes more.
Serve. Remove the bay leaves and thyme, then serve the gumbo with rice and garnish as desired.
Tips for Success
These hints and tips will help you make sure your vegan gumbo turns out perfect:
- Keep the vegan sausage frozen. This will help you slice it into neat coin cuts. Because vegan sausage is pre-cooked, there’s no need to cook it separately.
- Tie the thyme into a bunch. Use kitchen twine to tie the thyme sprigs together, which will make them easier to remove at the end of the cooking time.
- Don’t rush the roux. Don’t be tempted to rush the roux process, as the flour can burn easily and ruin the gumbo. The roux gives your gumbo lots of rich flavor.
- Adjust the seasonings to your own taste. You can add more Cajun seasoning or even a bit of hot sauce if you like things extra spicy.
Serve gumbo alongside a simple side salad or some steamed green vegetables to round out the meal. Add homemade vegan cornbread on the side for dipping and make sure you have plenty of hot sauce on hand!
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover gumbo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, this vegan gumbo can be frozen for up to 3 months. Transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Vegan Meal Ideas
- Vegan Southern Meatloaf
- Best Vegan Black Cookout Recipes
- Vegan Sloppy Joes
- Best Vegan Soul Food Recipes
- ½ cup avocado oil divided 120 ml
- 2 cups okra sliced 170 grams
- ¾ cup all purpose flour 94 grams
- ⅔ cup yellow onion diced 94 grams
- ⅔ cup green pepper diced 80 grams
- 2 stalks celery diced 75 grams
- 4 tablespoons cajun seasoning divided
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups vegetable broth 1200 ml
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups mushrooms sliced 180 grams
- 16 ounce can red kidney beans drained and rinsed 454 grams
- 14 ounce vegan sausage sliced 396 grams
- Parsley, green onions and file powder for garnish
- Add 6 tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Heat for about 5 minutes until very hot.
- Add the okra to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove okra from the pot, leaving the oil behind.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the flour. Stir together and a thick paste will form. Continue to cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 minutes until the roux reaches a milk chocolate brown color.
- Add the onion, green pepper, celery and 2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning to the roux. Stir constantly and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, and remaining cajun seasoning and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the broth, thyme, apple cider vinegar, and mushrooms. Stir well to incorporate all of the flour with the liquid.
- Add the okra back to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure no flour is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Skim off any foam or oil that gathers on the surface of the gumbo and discard.
- After 30 minutes of cooking, add the beans and sausage. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the pot before serving.
- Serve with white rice and garnish with fresh parsley, green onions and file powder.