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GF Three Pepper Red Bean and Greens Gumbo – swell

GF Three Pepper Red Bean and Greens Gumbo

GF Three Pepper Red Bean Gumbo closeup
GF Sweet Potato Muffin
GF Three Pepper Red Bean and Greens Gumbo

I’m determined over the next two nights to make really tasty dinners for my girlfriend before she leaves for her European tour.  Not because I imagine she’ll not get anything tasty while abroad (and Europe is so much more generous with these sorts of things than her band has ever encountered in the U.S.), nor even that I’m worried she won’t come back if I don’t remind her who she’s leaving behind for 17 days, but simply because I want her to focus on everything else she has to do to get ready.  I took a risk making something new-ish tonight, but I’m happy to say we’re both glad I did!

Now let me say this: I’ve never been to Louisiana (though I’d like to go someday), and I’ve never had or made “real” gumbo.  I can’t vouch for the authenticity of my ingredients or methods.  This is largely based on a recipe we started making at the co-op with a few changes, most notably being taking the gluten out, and putting some extra pepper varieties and tomatoes in.  Which, among other things, changes it from a Cajun-style gumbo to that of the Creole variety (the tomatoes and a lighter roux make it Creole); but having had the glutenous workplace version before and now my homemade version I can safely say that you can still make a tasty roux with gluten-free flour!  Traditional, no, but it’s already vegan too, so there’s not much to argue on that point.

A roux is the basis of a lot of Creole/Cajun cooking essential to making gumbo that seems to be quite a focus of talent and pride.  Essentially any roux is a mixture of fat and flour (brown rice and garbanzo in my kitchen today) that is used to thicken sauces, primarily in French-based cooking.  The roux in gumbo is cooked for a far longer time than all roux I’ve encountered up to this point, and the deep color adds a characteristic flavor in addition to creating the basis for a silky, creamy liquid once you’ve added your stock.  I’m too green to roux knowledge to provide a whole lot of input, but I do know it takes a long time to make and it should be neither rushed nor burned (for then you have to start over!).

This is just one interpretation that I’m positive breaks a lot of traditional rules (according to the wee information I’ve come across), including adding brown rice to the stew rather than serving the gumbo over it.  I guess I’m not one who likes sticking to rules!  And you don’t have to either…add other veggies, try different beans and greens and spices, but above all you should enjoy spending some quality time in the kitchen with a good wooden spoon and a large stockpot.

I tried my hand at some gluten-free sweet potato muffins to serve alongside the gumbo, which were pretty tasty and very moist, but largely in that stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth way, so I’m not going to post that recipe here today.  Does anyone else have that problem when baking with mashed sweet potatoes or pumpkin?  How I dreamed of making cornbread muffins, but all week I have been suffering the woes of indulging in corn-based treats last weekend.  [In fact today I made a point of moving all corn flours, meals and husks in my pantry to the uppermost, ladder-required shelf of our 10-foot ceiling wall cabinets lest I be tempted again before I get my food sensitivity testing.  Please help me, I never even got to break in my tamale steamer.  At least toasted brown rice tortillas are delightfully crunchy vehicles for guac and salsa.]

Okay, enough of my long-winded histories, excuses, and misery-stirrings.  Get ready for a huge pot of gluten-free, vegan gumbo (I’ve already put a few pints of leftovers in the freezer, plus some in the fridge for my lady’s lunch tomorrow), and share it with someone(s) you love.

Gluten-Free Three Pepper Red Bean and Greens Gumbo (makes about 3 quarts)

1/2 c safflower or canola oil

1/4 c + 2 tbsp brown rice flour

2 tbsp garbanzo/chickpea flour or besan

1 large onion, diced small

5 stalks celery, diced small

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 poblano pepper, diced (or use another bell pepper)

1 1/2 tbsp paprika

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp thyme

1 tsp crushed red chili flakes, or to taste

1 1/2 tsp sage or poultry seasoning

several grinds freshly cracked black pepper

4 c vegetable stock

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c cooked brown rice

1/2 bunch mustard greens, destemmed and cut into small pieces

salt to taste

In a large, heavy bottom stockpot, whisk together your oil and flours over low heat.  Continue to cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until roux begins to darken.  I like to prep all the rest of the ingredients while making the roux.  Keep a watchful eye to prevent burning, stirring often, and cook roux to a medium-brown color.  (It should smell toasty and delightful, and for me this took about an hour, though you can cook it longer.)

Carefully, as the roux is extremly hot, add your diced vegetables, stirring to coat.  You can increase the heat very slightly, cover and let the veggies sweat for a few minutes.  Uncover and add the spices, distributing them well, and continue cooking the veggies until softened.  Add your stock and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened.  Stir in the tomatoes and rice, and return to a simmer, then add the mustard greens.  (I like to cook my greens for just a few minutes to preserve the color, but feel free to cook them longer.)  Salt to taste, and serve warm, remembering to remove the bay leaves.

18 Responses to “GF Three Pepper Red Bean and Greens Gumbo”

  1. Nora says:

    The gumbo looks delish, but the muffins look even better (I don’t mind stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouthness! that’s why I love PB so much haha)

    sorry about your food sensitivities. I can relate!

    • a-k says:

      Well, they do look pretty, but they also are very crumbly! I was trying to do gf without xantham gum, which is possible but requires other components that I apparently forgot in these :) Thanks though!

  2. mihl says:

    That looks delicious! I’ve never made a gumbo but naking a roux sounds interesting and the gumbo look fantastic!

  3. Lauren says:

    Looks amazing! I have never made a gumbo!! Might be making one soon! Thanks for the craving! LOL!

  4. Ksenia says:

    I’ve only tried once to add sweet potatoes to my baked goods (and not because I don’t like it; actually, I love sweet potatoes but never thought about the combination). I did Sweet potato pancakes (http://talesofaspoon.blogspot.com/2009/12/sweet-potato-pancakes.html), and they also had a little bit of this “stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth way” you told.

    So I suppose that it’s because of their texture and consistence. Nevertheless, actually I liked that “chewy” hint, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. By the way, your muffins look delicious :) And the gumbo, of course!

    I wish your girlfriend will have a nice travel around Europe. Will she come to Spain? :)

    • a-k says:

      Your sweet potato pancakes look great! I’ll have to try a GF version of those someday. The only time I haven’t had sweet potatoes have that sticky-mouth problem is in some sweet potato cranberry scones I make a lot.

      My girlfriend will not be going to Spain this time around; the closest she’ll get is France (Lyon, Bordeaux & Paris). Maybe next time!

  5. Who knew you could make a roux without wheat flour?! Genius! And the muffins look tasty…so, so tasty. I’m seriously jones-in for a muffin (or anything sweet and bready) on this cleanse I’m on. Just one week to go though! On the mashed sweet potato issue, I have a Sweet Tater Bread for my cookbook that contains mashed sweet potato and it doesn’t stick to the roof of my mouth at all … then again, it’s made with regular old whole wheat pastry flour and not the GF stuff. That may have something to do with it?

    Your girlfriend is super lucky to have someone like you to make sure she doesn’t get too stressed before her trip!

    • a-k says:

      Yes, the flavor of the GF roux is delicious! It doesn’t really get very thick and “sticky” like wheat-based roux, but it works just fine for me in this recipe (using the chickpea flour helps).

      I totally understand your bread cravings while cleansing! Actually, I feel like I’ve been living on a ton of GF bread with sunbutter lately because often I’ve been too tired to cook myself anything more substantial. I’m getting kind of sick of toast now though, and wish I put some forethought into whipping up more raw stuff because it makes me feel more energized.

      I’ve had the mashed sweet potato/pumpkin issue before with regular flour (tried making savory scones once, and some cookies). Maybe my proportions are off, or there’s something else I need to add/subtract. My Sweet Potato Cranberry Scones never gave me that problem though! I guess there’s only one way to try and fix it though, and that’s making more sweet potato treats!

  6. Jessica says:

    Your gumbo looks amazing! I’m always looking for great GF recipes to make for my mom, and this one definitely fits the bill!

  7. Jes says:

    That looks like a beautiful & delicious gumbo! I’d be super stoked if you were my girlfriend and made me that pot of awesomeness. And sticking to tradition is so overrated if something tastes good–without improvisation cooking would have never evolved into anything!

  8. Shirley says:

    I’ve never made gumbo either. This looks interesting. I want to thank you again for having the contest and sending me the My Sweet Vegan cookbook.

  9. cmb0096 says:

    Awww…you are so sweet to cook special things for your girlfriend before she leaves.

    Oh no! I didn’t realize you had problems with corn too?!? I am sorry!

    I have a TON of xantham gum that I will never get through even though I do use it, and so I would be happy to share with you! It is expensive, I know. You can totally have 1/2 of what I have if you want!


  10. jessy says:

    your gumbo looks awesome and sounds so delicious! i have made a just brown rice roux and it did take some time and i was worried i was gonna fub it up, but it turned out to be pretty darn good. i like your version of gumbo – nice touch on adding besan to the roux. i think it’s super sweet of you to make yummies for your lady before she leaves. i am sure she’s running around double checking things and making sure she’s got everything she needs for her trip, and you’re too awesome to take on the cooking. i also i love that you tried something new (i need to do that more often – branching out sometimes makes me anxious)! might i also add that i’m looking forward to the gluten-free sweet potato muffins. i’ve never baked with squashes or sweet potato before, so i’m afraid i am adviceless.

  11. Mary says:

    Awesome! I’m gluten-free, too. That sounds like a great combination of flavors. Are we talking fresh or dried thyme?

  12. Mo says:

    That sounds so fantastic to me right now! Mmm.

  13. fiveseed says:

    Yum! This looks like the perfect meal for this winter-weary soul! :)

  14. Michal says:

    Simple and delicious. This would make a wonderful appetizer.

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