Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan Featured

Authors: A Veggie Venture

Fatfree Vegan's Chickpea Gumbo
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan Could I pick 'em or what? Way back in 2006, I invited SusanV from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen to write a guest post for A Veggie Venture. Her blog was not even a month old! Now of course, Fatfree Vegan Kitchen is the source of inspiration for a wide and passionate community of vegan eaters. But until now, 2013, a full seven years later, I'd never made Susan's Chickpea Gumbo myself. Whoa – was I ever missing out, WHAT a gumbo. I made it once and was very sorry to not be able to make another batch right away! This is one of the best things I've made in a long time!! And naturally, it's not just vegan, it's "Vegan Done Real". It would be a great choice for a Mardi Gras party! (Looking for ideas for Mardi Gras? Check out Mardi Gras recipes!) Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan

~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2013~
~more recently updated recipes~

Please welcome SusanV from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen:

Look through any Cajun cookbook, and you’ll notice that meat or seafood is in everything, even in most of the vegetable dishes. In fact, many vegetable recipes are so heavily “seasoned” with meat that the vegetables get lost in the mix. So to my family and friends back in Louisiana, I’m something of an eccentric: a vegan, someone who eats no animal products at all. “How could you give up gumbo?” they ask. “Or jambalaya or red beans and rice?” The answer is — I didn’t!

The first thing I did after becoming vegetarian was to start adapting the recipes I grew up with to eliminate the meat and seafood. At first I used a lot of “fake meats” to try to replicate the taste and “mouth feel” of the original recipes. As time went on, I wanted to lighten up my cooking even more, to use more natural, whole foods and to reduce the fat. I’ve stayed true to the seasonings of my native cuisine, but I’ve tried to add an element of freshness.

This Chickpea Gumbo, for instance, started off life as a Chicken Gumbo — a chicken gumbo that also originally included bacon grease and smoked sausage. I’ve eliminated all of the meat — as well as the cholesterol — but kept the wonderful seasonings: the “trinity” of onions, green pepper, and celery and the spiciness of the black pepper and cayenne. And I’ve added a little Liquid Smoke to impart a smoky, ham-like flavor.

A word about the okra: Some people never get past the slicing stage of okra preparation. They see the slime oozing out, and they toss the whole batch into the garbage. But I’m here to tell you that once it is cooked, okra is not slimy at all. If anything, it helps to thicken the gumbo. So don’t be afraid. But if you can’t get over the sliminess, feel free to use frozen, sliced okra. You don’t even have to thaw it before adding it to the gumbo, so you never see the sliminess.

And a word about spiciness: This is not an extremely spicy gumbo, and for most people it will be spicy enough just as it’s written. In fact, if you know you don’t like spicy foods, you should cook the recipe without the red and black pepper or the Tabasco and add those ingredients at the end, to taste. But, if you’ve got a real “hot tooth,” feel free to add all the extra spiciness you want.

"I will be making this many more times." ~ Shawn


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 11 cups

2 teaspoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons water or broth)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 tablespoon flour

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
2 cups vegetable broth

16 ounces sliced okra, fresh or frozen
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 cups additional broth or water

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmery, then sauté the onions, pepper, and celery in the olive oil, stirring often. When the onions begin to get translucent, add the flour and stir continuously, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the flour begins to brown slightly. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth, Stir in remaining ingredients.

The gumbo should have enough liquid to resemble a chunky soup; if it is too dry, add some more vegetable broth or water. Cook uncovered for at least 30 minutes, until the flavors have a chance to mingle. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan To cut out the fat entirely, use a couple tablespoons of water or vegetable broth to sauté the vegetables. You may not be able to get the flour to brown without oil, so just continue with the recipe and add the broth and tomatoes.
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan I sometimes add a little vegan sausage along with the okra and seasonings ingredients. I use a half a package of Gimme Lean brand “sausage” and brown it in a non-stick pan before adding it.

Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil with the onion, pepper and celery. When developing this master recipe for How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup, I learned how important oil and time are to really let these aromatics turn golden, the source of so much flavor.
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan I used only 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and the milder green (vs red) Tabasco. Even so, the Chickpea Gumbo was plenty spicy for me, especially served with rice, which moderates the heat a little.
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan I used frozen okra from Pictsweet, they sell two kinds, whole okra which are AWFUL and sliced okra with tomato which are VERY GOOD! Go figure.
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan I used four cups of broth, then let the gumbo cook for a good hour, cooking down and concentrating flavors.
Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥ Guest Post by the Fatfree Vegan Funny thing, I didn't think the chickpeas added much flavor-wise and even texture-wise. So if you don't need the plant-based protein and would like to reduce the calories, I'd happily recommend omitting the chickpeas.

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006

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