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Vegan Chicken Gumbo with Soy Curls

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A couple of weeks ago, my husband suggested I make our normal chicken soup with soy curls, but I was in the mood for much spicier food. So I compromised and made a vegan “chicken” gumbo using soy curls and frozen vegetables. It came out so good that I took a photo of it and posted it to Instagram, with the question, “Can you find gumbo and mirepoix frozen vegetable mixes where you live?”

As I was afraid, most people outside the South and Southwest don’t have access to these particular frozen vegetable blends. So I got to work chopping, weighing, and measuring fresh vegetables to approximate the amounts of frozen I had used, so that I could post a recipe everyone could use.

It wasn’t easy, and in the end I wound up using frozen versions of corn and okra because most people seem to be able to find those separately. In the end, my mostly-fresh version of vegan chicken gumbo came out tasting pretty much the same as my frozen version, though the chopping adds a good bit of preparation time. On the plus side, the fresh bell peppers look much prettier than the ones in the frozen mix.

Making a Fat-Free Roux

To make an authentic gumbo, you need to use a roux. Roux provides flavor and thickness to gumbo, but normally it’s made by cooking flour in fat. But you can get a similar rich, smoky flavor by browning the flour in a skillet without all the fat and calories of a traditional roux.

It takes a little patience to brown flour for roux, and the hardest part is knowing when to stop before it’s burned. So I made a video in which I actually speak (surprise!) to guide you through the process:

About Those Mushrooms

You’ll probably be surprised to see dried mushrooms in gumbo, but I love the chewy texture they add. I bought a huge bag of mixed dried mushrooms from Amazon (thanks for the tip, Christine), and I’ve been adding them to a lot of things. For this gumbo, I didn’t even soak them first, just rinsed them well and let them soften in the gumbo.

Of course, you could also use any dried mushrooms, or fresh mushrooms, or just leave them out completely if you don’t like mushrooms. It shouldn’t affect the outcome of the gumbo. If you use fresh, I suggest using about 4 ounces.

Soy Curls?

I loooooove soy curls as a meat substitute. I buy them in bulk online and keep them in the freezer for meals such as this. You may notice that I added them dry rather than re-hydrated. I like the way they pick up the flavor from the gumbo as they cook when they start off dry.

But if you don’t like soy curls, I suggest using cooked chickpeas instead. I think 2 cans or 3-4 cups of cooked chickpeas would work. (Until I discovered soy curls, I always made gumbo with chickpeas.)

You could also add other vegan proteins to this gumbo, if you use them. Packaged or homemade vegan sausage would be delicious.

Vegan Chicken Gumbo in the Instant Pot

I know someone’s going to ask me about making this in the Instant Pot. I prefer the flavor of the gumbo when it has a chance to simmer uncovered (and it’s also amazingly better the next day.) But if you want to try it in the IP, I suggest using the sauté mode to do the first step, cooking the onion, peppers, celery, and garlic, and then cooking it at high pressure for about 10 minutes. I would also decrease the water from 4 cups to 3 and add more at the end if necessary. Perform a quick release.

More Vegan Cajun and Creole Recipes

You can find more of my low-fat, vegan Louisiana-style recipes in my Louisiana Recipes archive. Some of my favorites are

Vegan “Chicken” Gumbo with Soy Curls

Using a browned flour “roux” gives this vegan gumbo a great depth of flavor. Soy curls and dried mushrooms make it hearty and authentic.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (use more for spicier gumbo)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or cayenne (use more for spicier gumbo)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (or 3 servings of bouillon of choice)
  • 4 – 5 cups water
  • 12 ounces sliced okra fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups soy curls (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 ounce dried mixed mushrooms rinsed well and drained
  • smoked salt to taste

Instructions

Dry Roux

  • Heat a completely dry skillet over medium-high heat and add flour to the pan. Stir it and spread it over the surface of the pan. Stir it often, moving it around the pan so it browns evenly. Watch it closely and once it begins to smoke, stir it constantly and reduce the heat. Cook until it is nicely browned but not burned. Important: If it burns, throw it out and start again. It should take 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once it is browned, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool while you begin to prepare the gumbo. When you’re ready to add it to the gumbo, whisk in 2 cups of water.

Gumbo

  • Heat a 4-6 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers, and celery and saute until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add water by the tablespoon if they begin to stick. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  • If you haven’t already, whisk 2 cups of water into the browned flour. Add it to the vegetables. Add all the seasonings, soy sauce, bouillon, and 4 more cups of water. Stir in the okra, corn, soy curls, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add extra water if it looks a little dry.
  • Check seasonings and add more to taste. Season to taste with smoked salt. Remove tha bay leaves, ladle into a bowl, and serve with a scoop of rice.

Easy Variation with Frozen Vegetable Blends

  • You can substitute 1 12-ounce package of Cajun-style Mirepoix mix for the onions, peppers, and celery, and use 2 12-ounce packages of Gumbo blend vegetables instead of the okra and corn. This variation only works if you use both frozen vegetable blends.

Notes

The nutritional information below uses Better Than Bouillon, which has 670mg sodium per teaspoon. You can reduce the sodium by using a different bouillon and replacing the soy sauce with low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos.

Each large serving is 3 points on Weight Watchers Freestyle program (not including any rice you add.)

Nutrition Facts

Vegan “Chicken” Gumbo with Soy Curls

Amount Per Serving (1 large serving)

Calories 247
Calories from Fat 41

% Daily Value*

Fat 4.5g7%

Saturated Fat 0.3g2%

Sodium 735mg32%

Potassium 983mg28%

Carbohydrates 42g14%

Fiber 10g42%

Sugar 13g14%

Protein 14g28%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course Main Course, Stew

Cuisine American, Cajun

Keyword vegan gumbo

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Loaded Baked Potato Wedges with Creamy Cheese Sauce and Tofu Bacony Bits

Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Wedges – These crispy baked potato wedges are perfection! Baked until crispy and topped with vegan cashew cheese sauce, tofu bacon, and scallions. These just might be potato perfection!

loaded potato wedges drizzled with vegan cheese sauce

This easy recipe for Baked Loaded Potato Wedges will blow you away with the delicious combo of crispy baked potatoes,  tofu bacon bits, and a creamy vegan cashew cheese sauce.

While you could eat these loaded potato wedges as a meal or side dish, I love serving these as a shared appetizer or a Game Day snack. Having a few is delicious, but having a whole sheet pan on your own is quite gluttonous so you might want to share. If you’re hosting a party, a movie night or a game day get-together, make sure to put these delicious loaded potato wedges on the menu and you will be everyone’s favorite!

These Vegan Cheesy Potato Wedges are perfect for when you’re craving something cheesy and comforting. The potatoes are baked not fried.  They are baked on the same sheet pan as the tofu bacon which makes for easy clean-up. While the potato wedges are baking, we whip up my favorite vegan cashew cheese sauce. It only takes minutes and you’ll love the creamy rich texture. I like to make some extra and serve pasta with vegan cheese sauce and bacon the next day. You can also slice the potatoes into halves to make loaded baked potatoes!

loaded baked potato wedges on a a platter topped with vegan cheese sauce and tofu bacon

More Vegan Game Day Foods & Snacks

  • Firecracker crispy tofu wings
  • Spinach artichoke dip 
  • Thai Layered Dip -because Peanut sauce.
  • Spicy Pepper Crisp Cauliflower bites with celery ranch
  • Zucchini chickpea Fritters
  • Cajun Chickpea Fries

Continue reading: Loaded Baked Potato Wedges with Creamy Cheese Sauce and Tofu Bacony Bits

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