Is vegan gumbo an oxymoron?
If you’re a y’all-sayin’ Cajun, then yes. But the rest of us might be more willing to try a tasty alternative to this rich classic. Gumbo is a sort of spicy stew, different from jambalaya in that you’re more likely to eat it with a spoon than a fork. Rice and broth are the foundations for this dish, then you can add seafood, meat, and vegetables. The word gumbo comes from the African term gombo, which means okra. Gumbo is a sort of melting pot to represent the different cultures of Louisiana – African, Spanish, and French.
Gumbo is a traditionally a celebratory meal, meaning it is intensely spicy, rich with flavor…and calories. It is heavy stuff. Why not lighten it up?
This recipe is filling and hearty, and it just so happens to be vegan. Therefore you can be guilt-free when sopping up the broth from your bowl with a couple biscuits! My gumbo is almost embarrassingly easy to make, but decadent and colorful enough to become an edible centerpiece at a dinner party. Or, make a big ‘ole pot for yourself and enjoy all week long. And don’t fret about the meatless thing. This recipe has been devoured by dainty herbivores, Jewish New Yorkers, and burly Army ROTC friends alike.
Suzannah Schneider is a junior at Tulane University and who enjoys the challenge of finding vegan food in New Orleans. This is her new favorite non-food blog.
Adapted from Whole Foods
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cups frozen bell pepper strips
3 1/2 cups dices tomatoes (1 28-oz. can)
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Cajun spice (I like Slap Ya Mama)
1/2 pound spicy vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1-inch slices (Try Field Roast‘s Mexican Chipotle)
3/4 cup white rice
1 cup frozen cut okra
Hot sauce to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Stir in peppers.
Cook for 4 minutes then add tomatoes, beans, seasoning, and sausage. Bring to a boil and add rice.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add okra and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
Serve with hot sauce on the side. Use biscuits to mop up any remaining broth from your bowl.