Thursday, March 8, 2012

As promised, a vegified classic southern gumbo

The south isn't very veg friendly.  Because of that, I didn't get to enjoy any traditional gumbos during my brief jaunt in New Orleans (I legit only ate beignets for 2 days straight).  I was going to buy a Louisiana cookbook to play with, but then I realized it would be a waste of money, for most of the recipes were meat based.  BUT, I can be reealllll sneaky, so I snapped a few iPhone photos of some veg recipes (ummm, that isn't called being sneaky, it's called stealing... ya, tomatoes/tomatos, or however you spell that phrase...).  The first southern classic to grace my stove was a Shrimp and Okra Gumbo (wait, she eats shrimp?!  Hypocrite!).  Oh, and by shrimp, I mean this vegan shrimp substitute that I recently discovered.  The book gives this description:

"Shrimp & Okra Gumbo is one of the most delicious, most popular dishes ever created for a cold winter day in south Louisiana."

Well, it was a little chilly in Berkeley the last couple of days... so why not.

I will warn you, the ingredient list is a tad lengthy, and it is a big time commitment (think on the scale of hours).  However, it gives the kitchen this wonderfully spicy aroma and will feed an army for a week.  This gumbo is the definition of hearty, I am stuffed after only a small bowl of it.  It is chock full of vegetables and flavor, and the okra is what gives it the stewy consistency.  Oh how I wish you could try it, its a spicy stew with fake shrimp (ok, and vegetables... you know how I like to do that), you would love it!

Vegan Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Adapted from a book that I don't remember the name of, but it was legit.

  • 1 package (8 oz) vegan shrimp (see link above), cut in thirds
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne
  • 1 pound okra (I used 1 package of frozen okra), cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable stock concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Dashes to taste of hot sauce (I used a bunch of this spicy concoction I bought in Nola)
  • 1 tablespoon+ of dijon mustard
  • Parsley, fresh and chopped for garnish
  • Hot cooked barley (I made 1 cup dry barley + 2 cups water in my rice cooker)

  1. Combine the "shrimp" with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the okra and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, green onions, bay leaf, vegetable stock, and white vinegar. 
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the water, paprika, hot sauce, and mustard.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Add the "shrimp" and cook for 30 more minutes
  9. Serve over barley and garnish with parsley.
  10. Enjoy!

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