Some of you know Southern Louisiana is one of my absolute favorite places. The music always puts a smile on my face. The people have the hugest hearts. And let’s not forget all the rain they get there. I guess the food is ok too. Kidding. Cajun food is my weakness. Needless to say, there is nothing vegan about the food. Luckily, I’m so stubborn that I dedicate my life to recreating my old favorites in a more compassionate way.
Gumbo is all about the roux. This is traditionally made with flour but since my skin hates me when I have gluten, I had to get creative. I used a blend of white, brown, and glutinous rice flours with a touch of tapioca. It’s a blend I already had prepared. But regular rice flour will work beautifully. When making the roux, stir continuously to avoid burning. A burnt roux will destroy your gumbo. You won’t achieve the dark chocolate color that’s traditional for a roux. It’ll be more of a milk chocolate.
This gumbo is yours. Own it! Take all my ingredients as a guideline and season to your liking. I definitely recommend making Salt-Free Cajun Spice. This way you can really up the spice without making it too salty. I added a few vegan shrimp from an Asian market, but no worries if you can’t find it. It’s absolutely delicious without any fake meats! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do and don’t forget the fresh, hot rice and potato salad!
1/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 a bell pepper, chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 green onions, divided
Tony’s Cajun Spice, to taste (use this instead of salt)
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 lb okra, cut into 1/3 inch rounds
1 lb mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
8 cups of vegetable broth
2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
2 links of vegan sausage, sliced and browned (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Hot, fresh rice
Heat your gumbo pot over medium heat. Add the oil then rice flour and stir continuously. Once it starts to darken a bit, turn the heat down to medium low and keep stirring. You want to achieve a chocolate brown color. This will take some time. Be patient and turn the fan on. It’s smoky!
Once the roux is nice and dark, add the onions, peppers, and celery. Stir often. After about five minutes, add the spices and chopped garlic. Continue to stir and cook for about five minutes more.
Add the broth, okra, mushrooms, sausage, liquid smoke, bay leaf, half of the green onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. At this point, you can let this simmer for an hour or more. I usually let it go about two hours.
About 30 minutes before it’s time to eat, start your rice.
Just before serving, check for seasonings and adjust accordingly. Stir in the rest of the green onions and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice. Do not omit this!
Serve hot with rice and potato salad.