Legend has it the more variety of greens you put in this soup, the more friends you will make. Maybe that is because this gumbo is so good that people naturally fall in love with the cook! Chiefly a southern U.S. dish, traditional “gumbo” is a stew with spicy Cajun spices, tomatoes, and, yes, greens! Here is a vegetarian/vegan version:
Whenever possible, substitute dried, home-cooked beans for canned, and fresh greens for frozen.
3 ribs celery
2 medium carrots, halved
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (20 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, crushed
1 package (16 ounces) frozen chopped collard greens, thawed
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mustard greens, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 box (8 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 small head green cabbage, chopped
1 package (16 ounces) fresh or frozen okra, chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
4 green onions, trimmed and chopped
1. Place the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Working in batches, pulse to chop the vegetables but do not puree.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes (with juice), collard greens, mustard greens, beans, spinach, cabbage, okra, parsley, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the rice according to package directions. Serve the gumbo over the rice and sprinkle with the green onions.
Adapted from The Ethnic Vegetarian by Angela Medearis (Rodale Press, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by Angela Medearis. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press, 2004).
Adapted from The Ethnic Vegetarian by Angela Medearis (Rodale Press, 2004).