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Smoked Portobello and Tofu Gumbo With Okra

Gumbo has traditionally been a meat-centric dish, but PETA changed that when we traveled to New Orleans to co-host the city’s first-ever vegan gumbo cook-off. The event, which prompted local chefs to forgo meats such as sausage and shrimp in favor of plant-based ingredients, was such a hit that several competing chefs decided to incorporate vegan options into their regular menus. Some New Orleans natives even claimed to be converts after sampling some of the delicious dishes.

If you’d like to try one of the vegan gumbos yourself, you’re in luck: You can find recipes for many of the gumbos online, and we have the recipe for the winning gumbo below. Pair it with a Pinot, and you’ll be set!

This recipe was adapted from Troy Brocato's winning entry.

2 lbs. firm tofu
Creole seasoning, to taste
8 medium portobello mushrooms
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
8 cups vegetable stock
4 lbs. sliced okra
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic

  • Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and press with a weight to remove the excess water. Coat with Creole seasoning and put in a smoker with the portobello mushrooms. Smoke for 3 to 4 hours.
  • In a heavy iron pot, make a dark brown roux using the flour and 2 cups of the oil.
  • Carefully add the vegetable stock to the roux, then bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Heat the remaining oil in another pot and add the okra. Cook until the okra is no longer slimy, then add the bay leaves, onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for another 45 minutes.
  • Add the okra mixture to the gumbo and continue to simmer.
  • Dice the smoked tofu and mushrooms and add to the gumbo. Season with your favorite Creole seasoning, then let simmer for another 30 minutes so that the smoky flavor from the tofu and mushrooms pervade the dish.
  • Serve over white or brown rice.

Servings: Makes 8 to 10 servings

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