Hearty and full of delicious flavors and nourishing ingredients, this vegetarian gumbo dish is a meatless homage to a Louisiana classic. Featuring a base of a rich, deep roux and the holy trinity of cooking, this take on gumbo replaces the traditional meat proteins with a flavorful Cajun 15-bean soup blend.
This recipe was sponsored by N.K. Hurst, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
🥣 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- First things first – this is by no means a traditional gumbo! We DO pack in as many traditional elements as we can, though, starting out with a roux (a mix of fat + flour whisked together until thick and then cooked until browned) and the holy trinity of cooking (celery, onion, and bell pepper).
- While a traditional gumbo includes proteins like shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage, or chicken, our vegetarian gumbo replaces the meat-based proteins with HamBeen’s Cajun 15-Bean Soup mix. The dry bean mix itself includes varieties like Northern beans; pinto beans; lima beans; garbanzo beans; kidney beans; cranberry beans; white, navy, and black beans; and lentils. It also comes with a packet of Cajun seasoning that adds a ton of depth and flavor to the recipe. Needless to say, this dish is incredibly hearty and satisfying.
- Stew-like dishes, like gumbos, are GREAT for meal prepping. They’re almost always large-batch recipes that make several servings, enough for a family to eat on for multiple meals, or for an individual or couple to stretch out to cover almost an entire week. If you’ve got a gumbo pot or any heavy-bottomed pot that’s large enough, you could absolutely double your vegetarian gumbo and freeze some for later. Just let it cool completely first!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- When it comes to the roux, you want it to be a deep, rich, dark brown color, but you do NOT want it to burn! If your roux is ready before the 15-minute mark, that’s totally fine – take it off the heat. The roux forms the base of your dish. If you start out with a burnt roux, that’s going to affect the flavor of every ingredient added after.
- We’re using dried beans in our vegetarian gumbo, and if you’re someone who usually forgets to soak the dry beans early enough that they’re ready when you need them, then you’re in luck. Typically, you’d need to soak dried beans in water anywhere from 4 to 12 hours prior to using them in a recipe. We’re using the quick soak method, which cuts your soaking down to roughly 1 hour. Quick soaking is SO easy, too. All you have to do is boil the beans in water for a few minutes, then cover the pot and let them simmer for an hour or so. Depending on the amount of beans you’re cooking, you may need a little more or a little less soaking time, but nowhere near what you’d need the other way.
Beans, Beans, Nothing But Beans!
- 15 Bean Soup
- White Bean Salad
- Pinto Bean Soup
- The Best EVER Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas
- Bean Dip
- Kale and White Bean Soup
For the Cajun Beans
- 1 20-ounce bag Hurst's HamBeens® Cajun 15-Bean Soup® dry bean mix
- water enough to completely cover beans in pot
For the Gumbo
- ½ cup butter one stick, cut into smaller pieces
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 5-6 cups vegetable broth see Notes
- Cajun seasoning packet from dry bean mix
- 2 cups frozen cut okra unbreaded, see Notes
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce more or less to taste, see Notes
- 2 teaspoons gumbo filé powder divided, see Notes
- salt to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce see Notes
- chopped scallions
- steamed long-grain white rice
- additional hot sauce optional
- large, heavy-bottomed pot with lid stock or gumbo pot preferred, see Notes
- Paper towels
- Large wooden spoon
- medium saucepan
To Prepare Beans
- Rinse dry Cajun 15-bean soup mix in colander under cool running water. Transfer rinsed beans to large pot. Fill pot with enough water that waterline sits approximately 2 to 3 inches above top of beans.
- Place pot on stovetop and set heat under pot to high. Bring water to boil. Once water begins to boil rapidly, cover pot with lid and immediately reduce heat under pot to medium-low. Simmer beans, covered, 1 hour or until tender.
- Once beans are tender, pour water and beans into colander and let beans drain completely. Set aside.
For the Cajun 15-Bean Gumbo
- Dry large pot with paper towels, then return pot to stovetop and increase heat under pot to medium. When pot is warm, add butter and let melt completely, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to burn or brown butter.
- When butter is melted, sprinkle all-purpose flour into pot. Whisk butter and flour together until fully incorporated. Cook, whisking constantly to prevent sticking or burning, until roux develops rich, dark brown color, approximately 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn roux.
- Once ideal color is achieved, add onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic to roux. Stir well with wooden spoon, fully incorporating veggies into roux. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- While roux and vegetables cook, heat medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When saucepan is warm, add vegetable broth and bring liquid to gentle boil.
- When vegetables are tender, pour vegetable broth into pot with roux. Stir to incorporate, using wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to bottom of pot. Stir until roux and broth are fully combined.
- Return beans to pot. Add Cajun seasoning packet, okra, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon filé powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients and blend spices into liquid.
- Reduce heat under pot to low. Cover pot with lid and let mixture simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- After 1 hour, add Worcestershire sauce and remaining teaspoon filé powder. Stir to incorporate, then replace lid on pot. Continue simmering gumbo over low heat another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, stir in 1 additional teaspoon filé powder after simmering.
- When ready to serve, ladle gumbo into serving bowl(s) and top with ½ cup steamed white rice per bowl. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve warm with additional hot sauce if desired.
- Large Pot: If you don’t have a stock pot or a gumbo pot, any heavy-bottomed large pot (like a Dutch oven) will do. Heavier pots are best for long-cooked recipes like gumbo, retaining and distributing the heat more effectively as the gumbo simmers.
- Vegetable Broth: Beans soak up a lot of liquid as they cook, and gumbo is typically served with rice which will absorb even more. Use 5 cups of broth for a thicker consistency. For a thinner gumbo, use up to 6 cups of broth.
- Okra: Fried okra is delicious, but for gumbo, you want to use cut okra that isn’t breaded. No need to defrost it first, either – the okra can go straight from the freezer to the gumbo.
- Hot Sauce: If you’re not one for hot or spicy dishes, you can omit the hot sauce from the gumbo itself and just serve it on the side.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Traditional Worcestershire is made with anchovies, so you’ll need to use a vegetarian/vegan version if your diet is strict.
- Filé Powder: If you can’t find filé, don’t stress – unfortunately, not all grocery stores carry it. You’re fine to omit it if you need to, but it acts as both seasoning and a thickener, so I recommend using it if you’re able!
- Make it Vegan: Use a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.