Vegan Chickpea Gumbo ♥

Vegan Chickpea Gumbo, another healthy soup ♥ A Veggie Venture. A Cajun Classic. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep.
A hearty low-fat plant-based gumbo, packed with vegetables and all the Cajun flavors without all the fat in a roux and the animal protein. It's untraditional, sure, but oh! it's good!

Fresh & Seasonal. A Cajun Classic. Great for Meal Prep. Low Fat. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Easily Gluten Free.

A Little Backstory

Could I pick 'em or what? Way back in the early days of blogging, it was a "thing" to invite fledgling bloggers to share a recipe on our food blogs.

So 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 I'd never made Susan's Chickpea Gumbo myself. Then I did. 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! It would be a great choice for a Mardi Gras party!

Looking for ideas for Mardi Gras? Check out Mardi Gras recipes!

Without further ado, please welcome SusanV from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen in her own words:

Vegan Cajun Recipes: A Rarity

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.

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: 50 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 (use yellow cornmeal for gluten-free)

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.

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.
I sometimes add a little vegan sausage along with the okra and seasonings ingredients. I use half a package of Gimme Lean brand “sausage” and brown it in a non-stick pan gitdy.

FOR FLAVOR I use 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.
FOR LESS SPICINESS I use only 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and the milder green (vs red) Tabasco. Even so, the Chickpea Gumbo is plenty spicy, even served with rice, which moderates the heat a little.
FROZEN OKRA I use frozen okra from Pictsweet, they sell two kinds, whole okra which are AWFUL and sliced okra with tomato which are VERY GOOD! Go figure.
HOW MUCH BROTH? I use four cups of broth, then let the gumbo cook for a good hour, cooking down and concentrating flavors.
CHICKPEA GUMBO WITHOUT CHICKPEAS? Funny thing, I don't think the chickpeas add 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.

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Still Hungry?

More Favorite Recipes for Chickpeas

~ Pumpkin Hummus with Honey ~
~ Hot & Sour Chickpeas ~
~ Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ~
~ Chipotle Chickpea Salad ~
~ more recipes with dried beans, lentils & other legumes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon ~
~ Chickpea & Chicken Salad ~
~ Simple Hummus ~
~ more recipes with dried & canned beans ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2006, 2013 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Gumbo looks good. A lot of good ideas here.

  2. Hey Susan! Hi Alanna!

    How cool to see Susan here. :-) I've been a big fan of hers for a long time.

    Susan rocks!

  3. I have always always wanted to make gumbo!! This is such a great recipe. Thanks Susan for sharing and Alanna for having Susan over :)

  4. looks like a great recipe. I'll try it.

    according to everything I read, olive oil is very healthy for us. I wish more people knew that.

  5. You can create a fat-free roux by roasting flour on a flat pan in the oven. This takes a bit of time, and you have to pay attention or you may wind up with a kitchen full of black smoke (I did once).

    At any rate, sprinkle flour on pan and put it in a 350-degree oven. Stir often until it reaches the color you want. You can store it in an air-tight container in the freezer.

    I make a large batch, then use as needed.

    Sprinkle roasted flour into soups and sauces, and stir until well combined (works best if you add a little, combine well, add a little more, combine well, etc--to prevent lumps) where a roux is required. This will give the gumbo a nutty, rich taste without all the fat...

  6. Alanna, I made this Chickpea Gumbo this week. What a great recipe! My dh loved it, too. I will be making this many more times. I didn't have any liquid smoke, but it still tasted great. I have never used frozen okra and expected it to be mushy, but it wasn't. Worked great. We now live in N. Wisconsin and my dad tried to grow okra, but wasn't successful. I might try it again this year and see if I have better luck. I'll start as early as possible. June! Ha ha. Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. I'm so glad you liked it, Alanna and Shawn! Alanna, your updated photo is lovely. Thanks for going back in time and giving this recipe a try.

  8. This looks AMAZING. I can't wait to give it a try. I love soup but I LOVE chunky soups so gumbo is riiight up my alley.

  9. Wow! I was just thinking I wanted to use my frozen okra and make some kind of a gumbo. This week I even looked in my cookbooks with no such luck. I love fatfreevegan's Creole Black Eyed Peas so I'm excited to try this recipe now. It will be wonderful to have this simmering on the stove this weekend.

  10. I'm glad you brought this back - I wasn't reading food blogs back then, so I missed this! Great recipe. Thank you.

  11. If the chickpeas are too bland, you can use cannellini or mayocoba beans. I use those interchangeably in most of my recipes that call for a white bean. I've never made the roux after sauteing the trinity vegetables but I suppose I can give it a try. Recipe looks good.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna