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Vegan Gumbo

rich, briny & cajun

If a rich, briny “seafood” gumbo is what you crave, this is it!


5 ¾ Cups water
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Nori Powder
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 ½ tsp Soy Sauce
1 Lemon, halved
2 Cups textured vegetable protein (TVP), small chunks or flakes
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ Cup Canola Oil
Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 small-medium finely diced Yellow Onion
1 red or orange Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Celery Rib, chopped fine
5 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼ tsp dry Thyme
1 tsp File (dried ground Sassafras leaves)
1 14.5‐ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ Cup vegan Fish Sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)
2 Cups frozen cut Okra, thawed

Accompaniment: 3 to 4 cups of cooked white rice (brown is fine; but white is traditional)


  1. For stock:  In a 4-quart saucepan, whisk together water, Nori Powder, 1 tablespoon sea salt, Old Bay Seasoning, soy sauce, and lemon halves.  Cover loosely, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Turn off heat, whisk again, cover tightly, and let sit while continuing with recipe.  Strain before using, pressing on solids with the back of a wooden spoon.
  2. For Roux:  Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, toast 3/4 cup flour, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in oil until smooth. Cover, transfer skillet or pot to oven, and cook until mixture is deep brown and fragrant, which may take from 20 to 40 minutes or more depending on your cooking vessel, checking and stirring after 10 minute increments. It should look almost chocolatey or the color of an old copper penny.
  3. For Gumbo: Transfer Dutch oven to stovetop and whisk cooked roux to combine. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. It will seem quite dry.  Stir in garlic, thyme, and file, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 3 3/4 cups of the stock along with the vegan fish sauce until smooth.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir okra into gumbo and simmer for about 20 minutes while rice cooks; reduce heat to medium if cooking too fast.  Meanwhile, place textured vegetable protein (TVP) in a medium bowl and pour remaining 2 cups of hot stock over.  Let sit for 5 to10 minutes or until TVP has softened.  Stir into gumbo and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve over scoops of rice.

Chef's Notes

Recipe and photo courtesy of Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes (Vegan Heritage Press, 2011).

This recipe, using Nori sheets, was first published in the March 2013 VegNews “Recipe Club” e-newsletter

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Submitted By

Betsy DiJulio