Fabulously hearty vegan gumbo with loads of flavor from a rich vegan roux and tons of veggies. Savory and delicious comfort food!
This vegan gumbo came about because a reader requested it (thank you!). I don’t know if I would have really tried to make a gumbo if I hadn’t received the request because it just wasn’t something that was on my radar very much.
I’m really glad it is now though. I set out to find out all about it, and Jaye and I had big fun experimenting with the recipe to get the perfect gumbo!
And this recipe is it. It’s extremely delicious, with a rich flavor that comes from a slow cooked roux and plenty of vegetables.
For another Louisiana-inspired favorite, try our vegan jambalaya too.
How To Make Vegan Gumbo
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
The key to a good gumbo is the roux. You cook it long and slow until it reaches a milk chocolate color. It requires a bit of patience and a lot of stirring but it’s totally worth it.
Vegan Roux for Gumbo
Add some vegan butter to a pot. Let it melt over medium heat, and then add in the all purpose flour and stir it into a paste. And then keep stirring!
Over the course of about 20 minutes (if you’re on high heat) and around an hour on low heat, you keep stirring and watch that roux change.
It starts off as a thick paste, and then starts to thin out, but the color stays the same.
Gradually the color starts to change, so that eventually you have the color of milk chocolate.
The milk chocolate color is exactly what you’re going for and indicates that your roux is perfectly done.
If you burn the roux, you have to start again. So depending on the pot you’re using, you might well be better off taking the slow and steady approach.
We have made it both ways, at high heat and getting it to the milk chocolate stage within around 20 minutes, and the slow and steady way on low to medium heat, taking around an hour to get to the milk chocolate stage.
Even if you start off at fairly high heat, keep a super close watch and be ready to turn down the heat at the smallest hint that it might burn. And stir non-stop.
Our pot is very heavy bottomed, so the chance of burning is lowered, so doing it at high heat wasn’t as much of a risk. All this to say, be careful and don’t burn it.
TIP: Vegan butter can be replaced with oil. However vegan butter is preferable for flavor in this dish.
The ‘Holy Trinity’
Once your roux is ready, then you add the ‘Holy Trinity’ of veggies! In Cajun cooking, this is finely chopped green bell peppers, celery and onion. Add that to your roux and stir it in.
Let it cook until softened.
Then add vegetable stock and stir it in.
Next comes some frozen veg or okra – we would have used okra but could not find any, so settled for frozen mixed veg – cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, cajun seasoning, liquid smoke and a bay leaf. Stir this in.
Add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans and stir in.
And then just let it all simmer away until everything is cooked and fragrant and totally delicious.
Season with some salt and pepper and serve!
How to Serve Vegan Gumbo
Serve it with rice and some chopped spring onions (also known as green onions or salad onions or scallions) on top. This is the traditional way to serve it. Of course if you want to serve it with cauliflower rice that would be great too.
Make It Gluten-Free
You can try using a gluten free all purpose flour blend instead of the regular flour to make your roux. Make sure you get it to the chocolate color the same way you would with the regular flour.
Storing and Freezing
Keep leftovers stored in the fridge in a covered container and they will stay good for 4-5 days.
It’s also freezer friendly for up to 3 months.
You will love this vegan gumbo recipe! It is:
- Comfort Food
It’s even easy to make. Don’t be intimidated by that roux, it’s actually really easy.
More Hearty Vegan Dinner Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
- ½ cup Vegan Butter (112g)
- ⅔ cup All Purpose Flour (83g)
- 2 Medium Green Bell Peppers Finely chopped
- 2 Celery Stalks Finely chopped
- 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, Finely chopped
- 2 cups Vegetable Stock (480ml)
- 1 cup Mixed Frozen Vegetables
- 1 Medium Head of Cauliflower chopped into florets
- 5 cups Cremini Mushrooms (480g) Sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Crushed Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 14 ounce Can Chopped Tomato (400g)
- 15 ounce Can Kidney Beans Drained
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- Basmati Rice
- Chopped Spring Onions
- Add the vegan butter to a heavy bottomed pot and let it melt over medium heat. Add in the all purpose flour and stir it into a paste.
- Keep stirring and over the course of about 20 minutes (if you’re on high heat) and around an hour on low to medium heat, you’ll watch the roux change, from a thick paste into a thin sauce and the color will gradually change until you eventually reach a milk chocolate color which indicates that your roux is perfectly done. A high quality heavy bottomed pot will be ideal especially if you choose the high heat fast route. If you have a concern that it may burn in your pot then rather take the slow and steady approach. The end result will be worth it.
- If you burn the roux, you have to start again. So be very careful. Unfortunately once burnt that roux can’t be salvaged and it will have to be redone.
- When your roux reaches the milk chocolate stage, then add in the green bell pepper, celery and onion, called the ‘Holy Trinity’ of veggies. Add to your roux and mix in and cook until the veggies are softened.
- Add the vegetable stock and stir in.
- Add frozen veg, cauliflower florets, mushrooms, garlic, cajun seasoning, liquid smoke and a bay leaf. Stir this in.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and kidney beans and stir in. Bring it all to a simmer, cover the pot and leave it to simmer until everything is cooked and fragrant.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with basmati rice (optional) with some chopped spring onions on top.
- Vegan butter can be subbed for oil but vegan butter is recommended.
- If you can get okra then you can swap the mixed frozen veg for 1 cup of fresh or frozen okra.
- Cremini mushrooms are also called baby bella or portobellini. You can also swap these for white button mushrooms.
- Spring onions are also called green onions or salad onions or scallions.
- Cook time presumes only 20 minutes is spent on the roux.
- Nutritional information is for gumbo only and does not include rice.