Vegan Gumbo Recipe

BY : PUBLISHED : July 11th, 2022 UPDATED: October 17th, 2022

My grandmother's gumbo was one of my favorite things to eat before switching to a plant-based diet.  This vegan gumbo recipe has all the flavor, spice, and heartiness as hers but is made with lots of healthy plant-based ingredients. This southern-style dish is sure to be a hit at mealtime.

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Estimated Cost Per Serving: $1.75 -$2.50

completed vegan gumbo in a white bowl alongside utensils

One of the things I love most about this vegan gumbo is you can easily change up what’s in it. This dish is delicious to serve over rice, homemade bread, or for a more traditional New Orleans meal with cornbread or hush puppies. 

Vegan gumbo may cost a little more per serving, but it is a great meal for a dinner party or any time you want to splurge on meals. 

Why This Recipe Works

  • An entire meal in a bowl.  It’s got lots of veggies and plant-based protein so it’s substantial enough for a full meal.
  • Satisfying and comforting. A New Orleans comfort food original for a perfect simple meal.
  • Easy to make in batches. Make a double batch and pack it up so you have multiple meals in the future.
  • Great flavor and spice. Really exquisite with just enough spice to taste like an authentic gumbo.
  • Southern food classic. If you grew up eating meals like this one, now you can enjoy it even while eating plant-based.

How to Make Vegan Gumbo

This easy vegan gumbo recipe is made with easy-to-find, simple ingredients. Don't worry about the long list of ingredients, you should be able to find them at your local grocery store.

ingredients for vegan gumbo spread out on a white surface
  • Oil: An essential fat to make the roux - any plant oil will work.
  • Flour: The thickener for the roux contributes to the thick gravy-like broth in this vegan gumbo.
  • Veggies: The combination of yellow onion, green bell pepper, and celery is essential to all cajun cuisine. For more color, I’ve also thrown in some red bell pepper as well.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is my top choice for this vegan gumbo.
  • Spices: Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, and bay leaves give this vegan gumbo a bold flavor.
  • Canned tomatoes and beans: Fire-roasted tomatoes, kidney beans, and white beans for flavor and protein.
  • Vegetable broth: Make a more flavorful broth than using water alone.
  • Liquid smoke: Just a touch to add some smokiness usually found in gumbo.
  • Mushrooms: Not typically found in gumbo, however the tender texture of mushrooms make this dish feel more substantial.
  • Veggie sausages: Adding vegan sausage is optional but I find it really makes it more authentic.

How To Make This Recipe 

  • 1) To get started, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. 
process shot of oil being poured onto a pan
  • 2) When hot, add flour and stir constantly until it starts to turn light brown. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • 3) Add onion, garlic, celery, peppers, Cajun seasoning, paprika, and cayenne to the flour mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • 4) Add tomatoes, broth, liquid smoke, and bay leaves. Stir and bring to a rumbling boil.
  • 5) Turn down the heat. Add beans, mushrooms, and sausage (if using), cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Expert Tips 

  • Don’t let the roux or veggies burn. Stirring frequently helps to keep everything moving around to prevent burning.
  • Spiciness. Adjust to your taste by changing the amount of cayenne pepper. There may also be some spice in the cajun seasoning and smoked paprika but don’t pack as much of a punch as the cayenne.
  • Serve hot. Gumbo definitely is a dish served piping hot. As it sits and cools down it will thicken up more. You want it to be slightly thick but not overly thick like gravy

FAQs

Does gumbo always have okra?

While okra is often found in some gumbo recipes due to its availability and popularity in the south, it's not an essential ingredient. I prefer to leave it out of my recipe since so many people aren't fans of okra.

Should gumbo be thick or soupy?

Gumbo should be slightly thick and a little bit soupy, kind of in-between the two. You can easily adjust it to your desired preference by adding more liquid or thickening it more with some additional flour.

completed vegan gumbo in a white bowl alongside utensils

Variations

  • Okra gumbo: If you are a fan of okra you can add 1-2 cups along with the tomatoes.
  • Other veggies: For an authentic cajun gumbo, it should include the addition of celery, onions, and bell peppers but you can feel free to add other veggies as desired. Squash, eggplant, and greens would all work well in a veggie gumbo.
  • Gluten-free: To make a gluten-free gumbo, use a gluten-free flour blend as a replacement. If it doesn’t thicken properly you can thicken it with one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch slurry in the last five minutes of cooking.

How to Store

  • Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months.
  • Reheat: Return vegan gumbo to a saucepan and heat over medium until heated through. Add water as needed to thin out the gumbo as it will thicken in the fridge.
completed vegan gumbo in a white bowl against a white background

What Goes With Gumbo?

More Hearty Stew Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed vegan gumbo in a white bowl alongside utensils

Vegan Gumbo Recipe

Terrence Paschal
This vegan gumbo recipe has all the flavor, spice, and heartiness but is made with lots of healthy plant-based ingredients. This southern-style dish is sure to be a hit at mealtime.
5 from 26 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 322 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 teaspoon of oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire roasted tomatoes in their juices
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of white beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of diced mushrooms
  • Veggie Sausages (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
  • Add flour and stir the flour until it starts to turn light brown. Watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Add onion, garlic, celery, peppers, Cajun seasoning, paprika, and cayenne. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add tomatoes, broth, liquid smoke, and bay leaves. Stir and bring to a rumbling boil.
  • Turn down the heat. Add beans, mushrooms, and sausage (if using), cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Notes

  • Don’t let the roux or veggies burn. Stirring frequently helps to keep everything moving around to prevent burning.
  • Spiciness. Adjust to your taste by changing the amount of cayenne pepper. There may also be some spice in the cajun seasoning and smoked paprika but don’t pack as much of a punch as the cayenne.
  • Serve hot. Gumbo definitely is a dish served piping hot. As it sits and cools down it will thicken up more. You want it to be slightly thick but not overly thick like gravy
  • You can serve gumbo over rice or by itself. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 17gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1387mgPotassium: 1117mgFiber: 15gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 4308IUVitamin C: 68mgCalcium: 171mgIron: 7mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Terrence Paschal

Plant based food, micro brews, punk rock, and running are what I am about.

View all posts by Terrence Paschal

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Janaye says

    5 stars
    This gumbo looks delicious! Sooo good

    • Andrea White says

      It's a winner! So full of flavor and very very filling!

  2. Michelle says

    5 stars
    So flavorful, I love how this came out!

    • Andrea White says

      So wholesome and delicious!

  3. Teodora says

    5 stars
    My whole family loves this recipe! It is so comforting!

    • Andrea White says

      It's so comforting for the entire family!

  4. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    This stew is warm, satisfying, and hearty. Will be adding this to my autumn meals list for sure!

    • Andrea White says

      Love to hear it! It's a delicious one!

  5. Tina says

    5 stars
    I love how packed with flavor this gumbo is!!

    • Andrea White says

      So much goodness in every bite!

  6. Addie says

    5 stars
    Love all the veggies and flavors in this gumbo! Such a great comfort food dish.

    • Andrea White says

      Super comforting!

  7. Oscar says

    5 stars
    This was such a hearty gumbo my family didn't even notice it didn't have any meat in it. Loved the mix of beans with the mushrooms, super tasty.

    • Andrea White says

      Love to hear it! It's quite a delicious combo of flavors!

  8. Jen says

    5 stars
    Amazing vegan gumbo for our dinner. I use plant balls instead of vegan sausages, next time I will use that.

    • Andrea White says

      Bet it turned out just as amazing!

  9. The Sudden Cook says

    5 stars
    With all that yummy seasoning - am sure it will turn out absolutely delish! We don't eat much gumbo here but hope to try it some day:)

    • Andrea White says

      Let us know if you end up trying it out 🙂

  10. Gloria says

    5 stars
    This sounds like my kind of gumbo....NO okra! Love all the beans and seasonings. This will be perfect for fall and comfort food season.

    • Andrea White says

      It's such a yummy combo! Hope you enjoy it 🙂

  11. Andrea White says

    5 stars
    Loved how delicious this gumbo turned out!

  12. Roxanne Gujda says

    I can't believe no one has commented on this. This is AMAZING!! I did add more oil to make the roux and i only used 1/4 tsp cayenne, but other than that, the taste is soooo rich. The only thing I will change next time is make a little more roux.

    Everybody...if you like spicy, make this TONIGHT!! YUM!!

    • Andrea White says

      We're so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! It's a delicious one alright. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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