Gumbo: veganized New Orleans delicacy

Categories creole, food, gumbo, louisiana, new orleans, vegan

It was a tough week and the Friday night was calling for comfort food… And then I saw a sign on my way home, which I will show you later in this post. But first things first: have you heard of gumbo? It’s a traditional Creole dish which became popular thanks to the Creole inhabitants of New Orleans, Louisiana. Apparently, the word gumbo originated from Africa and means okra, which is exactly why I decided to use okra in this recipe. 

I also decided we are going to be traveling around the world in these cooking series. I really want to explore more foreign cuisines. So far, we’ve been to Poland where we had vegan gluten-free spinach pierogi and buckwheat bread, so considering that I’m Polish, we didn’t go far! Fasten your seatbelts dear and let’s try this Creole goodness in a version from the beautiful state of Lousiana!

So let’s do some engineering: what makes gumbo – gumbo?

A densifying agent. 

I used both roux (made with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a tablespoon of buckwheat flour) and okra, which is known for being a little slimy. The dish started from preparing the roux.

Vegetables. 

Traditional Creole flavor composition includes parsley, bay leaf, green onions, dried cayenne pepper and dried black pepper. Tomatoes are commonly used in both versions of gumbo. However, we are aiming at a more New-Orleans-inspired version. Louisiana’s native Cajun chefs use the Cajun cuisine’s “holy trinity” in Creole dishes. The “holy trinity” consists of diced onion, green bell pepper and celery. I used a green bell pepper instead and I didn’t have selery so I diced an onion, a red pepper, some cherry tomatoes and a small potato. We should try to make the original Creole gumbo one day tho!

Meat and/or seafood. 

Creole gumbo consists of just one of these, while the New Orleans kind allows to mix them. We are going to make ours with vegan sausages and dry soy patties which my mom sent me from Poland. I soaked the patties in soy sauce and water. Note: a vegetable-only gumbo z’herbes exists too. But first, we wanna taste the ‘real deal’.

Rice. 

The dish is traditionally served over rice but in my twisted recipe we’re going to eat it over buckwheat and millet.

Alright, let’s go!

Ingredients for 5 portions:

“Meats”:
2 spicy vegan sausages
4-5 dry soy patties
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
half a cup of water

Roux:
2 tablespoons of buckwheat flour*
you can use any savory flour you like
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil*
you can use any oil you like

Veggies:
1 red bell pepper
1 baking potato
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion
150g fresh okra
10 cherry tomatoes
5 cups of water

Spices:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
nutritional yeast to taste (optional)
a hearty tablespoon marjoram

Preparation:

  1. Start by chopping your base veggies: potato, onion, pepper, and tomatoes into small cubes.
  2. In the meantime, make the roux by mixing the oil and flour of your choice together at the bottom of a large pot. Let it thicken and become brown in color.
  3. Then, add your chopped veggies to the roux and fry until the base releases the aroma. You may want to add two more tablespoons of oil.
  4. In the meantime, lay out your dry soy patties on a plate or in a bowl and pour water with soy sauce over them, then press. You will need to turn them upside down at some point so they soak the soy sauce evenly.
  5. When your onions are translucent and very aromatic, it’s time to add spices, okra and 4 cups of water.
  6. Cook for about 7-8 minutes until the okra is soft and releases its slimy texture. For a little less slime, you can add a dash of apple cider vinegar, but that’s optional.
  7. In the end, cut your soy patties into chicken-like stripes and slice your sausages, then add them to your gumbo. Voila!

Nutritional value

One portion (out of 5):

Protein Fat Carbs Calories
13,6 10,8 17,6 228,8

One portion (out of 5) plus 50g millet and 50g buckwheat:

Protein Fat Carbs Calories
19,6 12,3 52,6 408,8

Vegan gumbo is also very transformative. It took me exactly 5 mins to put some gumbo in the wrap and heat it up while I chopped some greens and popped half of the avo out of the shell. It was so delicious! And also good if you want to cut down on carbs but eat something tasty. I used a wrap that’s higher in protein because it uses chickpea flour. Yum!

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re wondering what made me think of the dish on Friday night, here it is. Thanks for the inspiration, Toronto!

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