Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vegetarian Gumbo

Gumbo is an extremely satisfying winter time meal. It is a thick stew, originating from louisiana, and often made with sausage, chicken, and seafood. Although I cannot attest for the meat version of this dish, the BF loves it, and I can't get enough of the vegetarian version. Even in the vegetarian version, the flavors are so complex, I often stop and think about all the ingredients while I'm eating it. There is the warmth from the vegetable broth, the kick from the spices, and the subtle sweetness from the Worcestershire sauce. To me, this gumbo is even better than what I've tried in New Orleans.

The BF and I have made this gumbo a few times, and although it is time consuming, much of the time is spent just waiting for it to simmer. There is a bit of work making the roux and cooking the vegetables, but after that it is almost 2 hours of just simmer time. I can be pretty impatient in the kitchen, but I will honestly say that this gumbo is worth every minute of preparation is that good!

The original (meat-friendly) gumbo recipe comes from Paula Deen (but suprisingly doesn't have much butter). Below is my vegetarian version.

Vegetarian Gumbo (adapted from Paula Deen, 10 servings)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I omitted this)
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian recipe below)
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1 (14-ounce can) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra
  • 1/2 lb tofu, well drained and diced into cubes
1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.

2. Return the pot to low heat and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add the (vegetarian) Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

4. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions and remaining chopped parsley.

Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce (about 1/4 cup)

1 1/2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses or tamarind paste
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
a pinch of onion powder
a pinch of powdered cloves or pumpkin pie spice

Stir together all ingredients.


  1. Whoa, vegetarian worcestershire sauce. I never thought such a thing was possible & just omitted it. NO more! Neat!

  2. I'm not a fan of regular gumbo, but I could definitely eat this. It looks great and hearty! YUM!! What a great, tantalizing photo!