Gluten Free Vegan Gumbo Recipe
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans. It is a beautiful city with a rich and varied history, a fascinating clash of cultures and a joyous spirit that washes over everyone who has the pleasure of visiting.
And then there is the food! Creole, Cajun, French and Southern; it is a foodie paradise. Unfortunately, it can also be a bit of a challenge on a gluten free diet. Many of the foods that made New Orleans famous are filled with flour. Forbidden to us are the beignets, gumbos and oyster po’boys.
I recently went to New Orleans for a short visit. It was the first time I had been back since I was there a mere 24 hours after Katrina had ripped through the city, leaving a path of devastation and destruction in her path. During my previous visit, the French Quarter (normally a bustling beehive of activity) was eerily quiet and deserted. Homes and businesses were flooded, cars abandoned on the side of the road and the jazz so associated with New Orleans was silenced. It was indescribably sad to see this once boisterous, proud and slightly decadent city so humbled by the wrath of Mother Nature.
On my recent trip, I was happy to see the rebuilding of New Orleans and to witness the indomitable spirit of the people of this magical city. I was happy to wander the Garden District and see the stately homes returned to their former elegance, to see the businesses that had re-opened or re-invented themselves and to hear once again that beautiful jazz.
I didn’t go hungry – any true Southerner will figure out how to feed you regardless of your food sensitivities. But what I was unable to have was gumbo. The base of any good gumbo is roux – a mixture of oil and flour cooked to a deep caramel color and used to thicken the intoxicating stew. I have been thinking of gumbo ever since.
Fortunately, you can make a very good gluten free roux with sweet rice flour – it works the best of any gluten free flour in my opinion. I needed to make my gumbo vegan, so instead of smoky sausages, I used a bag of Hurt Family Harvest Tri-Bean Soup mix with its gluten free, vegan seasoning packet – all that smoky flavor without a bit of meat!
This gumbo is like a little bit of New Orleans at my own dinner table. And that just makes me happy!
Gluten Free Vegan Gumbo Recipe
- 1 bag Hurst Family Harvest Tri-Bean Soup Mix
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup sweet rice flour
- 1 white onion finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- ½ pound okra sliced
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Hot sauce such as Tabasco
- 6 scallions green onions sliced
- Cooked rice
- Soak the beans in enough water to cover 8 – 24 hours. Reserve the seasoning packet. Rinse and drain the beans, put in a large soup pan with 10 cups water, the reserved seasoning packet and the granulated garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1¼ hours.
- While the beans are simmering, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the sweet rice flour and cook until it becomes deeply browned, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir the onion and celery into the flour mixture; it will become very thick. Stir the flour mixture into the beans after they have simmered for 1¼ hours.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet and cook the bells peppers until they start to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add to the beans. Add the okra to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir into the beans. Let the beans simmer for another ½ hour to thicken.
- Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed and a few (or more) dashes of Tabasco.
- Serve the gumbo in a bowl over hot, cooked rice and garnish with chopped scallions.
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