Louisiana-Style Vegetarian Gumbo with Okra and Zucchini (Vegan)

Bowl of Vegetable Gumbo with Thyme Garnish
Vegetable gumbo with okra photo by Envision / Getty Images
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (17)

Gumbo is a staple of New Orleans cuisine, and with this recipe, even vegetarians and vegans can enjoy this classic dish.

Like traditional gumbo, this vegetarian version includes the requisite celery, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and okra, making this a Creole-style or Louisiana vegetarian gumbo, rather than Cajun, which omits the tomatoes. Gumbo isn't traditionally made vegetarian, so there's not really a wrong or a right way to make it.

The recipe does call for filé powder (made from the sassafras tree) for seasoning, and though it's difficult to find in mainstream grocery stores, there's not really a good substitute. You can omit it without too much trouble and just add a touch more thyme and salt, and maybe a touch of something savory and neutral to add flavor (like garlic powder or celery seed, or a dash of a Creole seasoning blend if you have one). 

If you need it to be gluten-free, just be sure to use a gluten-free vegetable broth, or substitute water instead.

If you like gumbo, scroll down for a few more vegetarian gumbo recipes and meat-free Cajun and Creole-inspired recipes to try.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water to keep it gluten-free)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 1/2 cups okra, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon filé powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper, to taste
  • Dash tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 3 cups rice, pre-cooked

How to Make It

  1. Sautee the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in the largest saucepan or soup pot you have. Allow this mixture to cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Next, carefully add the water and vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a low simmer, then add the tomatoes, sliced okra, sliced zucchini, thyme, filé powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco, stirring to combine. Cover the pot partially, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook.

    Serve generous portions of your vegetable gumbo over a pre-cooked plain steamed white or brown rice, or, serve your vegetarian gumbo over quinoa for a little protein boost.

    Other Vegetarian Soup Recipes

    Vegetarian Stew: This classic vegetarian stew recipe uses textured vegetable protein as a substitute for meat, giving it a hearty flavor and feel. 

    End-of-Summer Gazpacho:  This cold vegetable soup with a tomato base uses many of the vegetables available during the summer. You can tweak the spiciness by altering the number of jalapeno peppers. Some people like gazpacho chunky like a stew, others prefer a thinner, creamier texture. Whatever your preference, this recipe has all the ingredients you'll need.

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 461
    Total Fat 4 g
    Saturated Fat 1 g
    Unsaturated Fat 2 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 394 mg
    Carbohydrates 95 g
    Dietary Fiber 6 g
    Protein 12 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)