This recipe started with the celery I bought at the Marietta Farmer’s Market this weekend. For some unknown reason, I have avoided celery lately. Now that it was staring at me from the kitchen counter, I had to find something to do with it because I’m not an “ants on a log” fan. Gumbo it is.
Gumbo can be intimidating because it starts with a “roux” or thickener made from whisking butter and flour together. Roux can be difficult to perfect without burning it. I came across a technicque of “toasting” the flour online which eliminates the need to rapid fire cook a roux first and reduces the amount of butter.
If you would like to make this recipe gluten free, omit the tempeh bacon if it contains wheat. The brand I used includes soy sauce brewed with wheat. Also, substitute gluten free flour for regular wheat flour. The gumbo pictured was made with gluten free flour.
Okra wasn’t on the radar where I grew up in Oregon. After several years in the south, I’ve discovered people have very strong feelings about the long green veggie. If they hate it, they hate it a lot. Personally, I love it and it’s not gumbo without it. If fresh okra is not in season, pick up a bag of frozen.
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. light vegan butter
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 green bell peppers diced
3 celery ribs diced
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
2 cups okra slices
8 slices tempeh bacon diced
1 9 oz. package Beyond Chicken Grilled Strips prepared and diced
cooked brown rice
diced green onions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the flour on a cookie sheet and shake gently to evenly distribute it across the surface of the pan. Toast the flour in the pan for thirty minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to prevent burning until the flour is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bell peppers, celery and onion. Stir the vegetables until translucent. Sift the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables. Add in the tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, coconut sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the okra slices, tempeh bacon and Beyond Chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Serve gumbo over steamed brown rice topped with diced green onions and hot sauce to taste.