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Vegetarian Okra Gumbo Recipe with Kidney Beans

Updated on February 29, 2008
vegetarian okra gumbo with dark red kidney beans
vegetarian okra gumbo with dark red kidney beans

On an incredibly cold and drafty day a few weekends ago, my husband was craving gumbo to warm us all up. We set about making both a meat and a vegetarian version so that everybody could be happy. This vegetarian okra gumbo with dark red kidney beans is wonderfully rich and hearty. Okra is sometimes a hard vegetable to use -- you have to use it correctly, and gumbo is one of my favorite ways to do so.

The chicken and sausage version can be found here.

Vegetarian Okra Gumbo Recipe with Dark Red Kidney Beans

serves two


  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp finely minced, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

  • 3 and 1/2 cups white wine
  • 4 cups water or vegetable stock

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cut okra
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cans drained dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • red pepper (to taste)

  • hot sauce (to taste)

  • Serve over medium-grained rice.

Preparation Instructions:

1). A good, flavorful rioux is the most important part of this veggie gumbo. Without meat to add flavor and intensity, we have to try to make up for it here. In a good non-stick sauce / soup pot, bring heat to medium-low. Add the vegetable oil. Stir in the flour. The flour and oil mixture should be of such a consistency where stirring produces ridges in the mixture that then slowly 'melt' into the bottom of the pot. The mixture should not be dry and crumby nor should it be liquid. Add oil or flour as needed to produce the proper consistency.

2). Over a period of some time -- it could be up to 45 minutes -- stir the rioux very frequently to insure that it browns evenly and does not scorch or burn. Some chefs have actually made riouxs on low heat that take as long as 4 hours to cook! (A scorched or burned rioux should be discarded.) When you get a color like dark caramel or milk-chocolate, then the rioux is done. Add the paprika and stir in.

3). Meanwhile, remove the skin from your onion and garlic. Wash the other vegetables. Dice the onion, slice the celery. Chop the green bell pepper. Finely mince the parsley. Crush the garlic with the flat of the knife then slice thinly. When the rioux is ready, add liquid smoke, onions, celery, green pepper, parsley, and garlic. Stir the vegetables and rioux frequently. It is ready for the next step when the onion is translucent.

4). Add the white wine and water or vegetable stock and stir until the rioux has dissolved completely. The soup base should be a golden-brown in color and slightly thick. Add all of the remaining ingredients. (Notice how the soup thickens noticeably when the okra is added.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour.

5). At the appropriate time from serving time so that your rice can finish cooking, start the rice following the directions for the variety of rice you are using.

6). Add salt, black pepper and/or red pepper, as necessary.

7). Serve over medium-grained, boiled rice with a bottle of hot sauce handy. The beans in the gumbo mixed with the rice make a complete protein. Enjoy!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I just made this and it's delicious! I altered a few things based on what I had on hand and my likes: I used NO WINE. Just added some water to the vegetable broth (about 2 1/2 cups), made my roux with butter, and used chili powder and a thyme/oregano/garlic spice mix for the flavors. I also used lady peas instead of kidney beans. So good! Thanks for the base!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am a new orleans native been cooking delicious gumbo for years and have started to eat a vegan diet just 5 weeks ago. I made this recipe tonight and you definitely DO NOT NEED THE WINE! This was a delicious gumbo and all of my family (including the 3 kids) went back for seconds. I used all the ingredients as listed except no wine, added a bay leaf (2 small or 1 large) before letting it simmer for 45 mins. I only slightly missed the seafood. The beans added a different flavor than your standard gumbo, but definitely DELICIOUS! Enjoy!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is absolutely delicious. Melissa must be a true Cajun girl! Ok some don't like the beans in there...AND if u can never find okra, u gotta look up substitutes. It's not often available where I live in Australia unless u grow yr own. Try Gumbo file or even eggplant!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I believe what you meant was drink three and a half cups of wine while preparing this! NOT in the gumbo, unless you are anxious to have some very drunk vegans at your table. Cheers.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is an awesome gumbo recipe- though I prefer a roux made with butter. The first time I made gumbo I let the roux get really, it tasted kind of toasty on its own & I was afraid the gumbo would taste burned, but I added it anyway- it turned out great! Be sure to keep skimming the fat off the top- I save it for cooking. The liquid smoke really gives it the right "meaty" flavor. I always fool around with soup/stew recipes and end up making a much larger batch than intended. This freezes well (without the rice obviously) and I enjoyed it many more times over a period of several months. Guess it's time to make some more...

    • Melissa Ray Davis profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Ray Davis 

      10 years ago from Swannanoa, NC


      This recipe is intended to be a vegetarian gumbo, and the beans provide a good protein substitute for the meat. For a more traditional gumbo with no beans, go here:

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      oh god please please don't put beans in a perfectly good gumbo

    • JennifersJumpers profile image


      11 years ago

      That looks good. I have got to try it!


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