How to make a meatless Gumbo

Meatless Gumbo:  If we are not at the farmer’s market with you all, it’s because we are very busy in our kitchen where we love to come up with recipes just for you. Today it’s Meatless Gumbo!

We have to confess that our European palette knows very little about how a real Gumbo is supposed to taste so we did what we always do and went about some research. We came across an article entitled The Best Gumbo Ever‘ by Lolis Eric Elie. It is such a good read that we were impressed enough to adapt it for our vegetable version.

louisiana cajun broth

It turns out that Gumbo has ingredients that we are not familiar with and neither is our local collection of supermarkets. Filé powder for example. What on earth is it!? Well, it turns out to be a powder made from the leaves of the sassafras tree. According to Belfire Botanicals, the leaves make an effective mosquito repellent too. However, we were simply looking for a little powder for our recipe when we came across a product by Swanson called ‘Louisiana Cajun Flavour Infused Broth‘.

We decided that Swanson probably knew a thing or two about how a Gumbo should taste so we bought some. Thank goodness we did. With our broth, a basket of vegetables and the amazing recipe from Lolis Eric Elie, we set about our Vegetable Gumbo. In no time at all our kitchen was filled with the aromas of the South!

Meatless gumbo for 8 – 12 servings

  • 2 lb Fresh okra
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 – 8 large spring onions
  • 6 – 8 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 – 6 small – medium green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 x32 oz cartons Swanson Louisiana Cajun broth
  1. Toss the diced okra in the olive oil and salt. Pre-heat the broiler (grill) and place all of the okra in a shallow roasting pan. Broil the okra until it has browned and dried, stirring frequently. This can take up to 30 minutes.
  2. While the okra cooks, palce the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a 12 quart stockpot. Heat the oil over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Once all the flour has been added, continue heating and stirring the roux until it becomes a medium brown colour. This takes about 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Add the onions to the roux and cook until softened then add the garlic, parsley, celery  and bell pepper. Stir everything to combine.
  4. Add the Louisiana Cajun broth and bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking.
  5. When the okra is cooked, add it to the broth, stir and simmer for a further 45 minutes.
  6. We understand that the traditional way to serve a Gumbo is over rice.
vegetable gumbo finished

As you enjoy your dish of Vegetable Gumbo, check out this article: A Short History of Gumbo‘ by Stanley Dry. We particularly enjoyed this portion of his article since it gave us a great deal of confidence to forge ahead:

“I’m convinced that part of gumbo’s virtue, aside from its deliciousness, is that the dish is very forgiving of the cook. Measurements do not have to be exact, ingredients may be changed to use what is on hand, and unless the diners are so set in their ways that they can’t appreciate change, the result will be quite good.”

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