Smoked Fresh Okra Vegan Gumbo (with video)

Homegrown Smoked Fresh Okra Vegan Gumbo with lightly smoked peppers, carrots and herbs, and simmered with red beans for a fabulous meatless gumbo. 

Smoked vegan garden gumbo
Smoked Vegan Garden Gumbo

What Is Gumbo?

At first glance, gumbo is usually known as a hearty stew.

Or one of a number of hearty soup recipes associated with New Orleans and Mardi Gras; an indulgent celebration before the beginning of lent. 

Why Indulgent? 

Well, during the practice of the 40-days of lent, a time of year before Easter, animal products are not eaten until Easter Sunday.

A classic gumbo recipe is loaded with sausage and other meat products. 

However, with a little smoke flavor imparted into the veggies, the texture of red beans, red lentils or kidney beans, this vegan version of a classic dish can be eaten anytime!

Okra, however, is the root of this dish.

Tradition Brings Gumbo To America

Anyone who knows Gumbo, knows that Okra is the root of this dish. 

A West African-style gumbo, which is often called okra soup in ‘Lowcountry’, is where this dish originated from.

Okra is, or should be, the most important part of this dish. 

Gumbo, while often a spicy soup or thick stew, consisting of everything from sausage to seafood, this recipe is all about the okra, and totally vegan

What Goes Into Grandmother’s Gumbo Down South?

Every grandmother’s traditional gumbo, down south, starts off with a roux, a paste made with all purpose flour and butter, to thicken the stew.

Remembering that this will be gumbo, based on a plant-based diet, butter will not be used. 

Actually, with so many folks in search of a gluten-free roux, flour won’t be used in this recipe either. 

I have found, instead, that the substance that seeps from the okra, is a natural thickener. 

No added thickeners are needed to made this a hearty soup. 

Okra Grows Easily In A Tall Pot
Okra Grows Easily In A Tall Pot

A Good Gumbo With A Rich Flavor – Without Cajun Seasoning

If you’ve been following my recipes, you know I prefer to cook and season food with ingredients that are as natural as possible. 

Back in the day (before we became health conscience), some folks may have added liquid smoke to their gumbo to impart a smoky flavor. 

Nope, never owned the stuff!

Many other folks still have in the spice rack bottles of garlic powder, or onion powder. 

Fresh Flavors Make For The Best Recipe

Why on earth would you cook with dehydrated, chemically processed flavor enhancers when the only thing you need is real ingredients!

Cajun Seasoning is primarily smoked paprika (which we can make that ourselves), black, white and cayenne pepper, onion and garlic powder and dried herbs. Nope!

Garden fresh oregano and thyme is more concentrated in flavor, as is real onions and garlic. 

So many store bought spice mixes are primarily salt, and nitrites or sulfates to extend shelf life. Nope!

Growing Okra At Home

Smoked Gumbo

Smoking the freshly picked okra before making into a gumbo, imparts a deep earthy flavor to the gumbo.

Gumbo, while often a spicy soup/strew, consisting of everything from sausage to seafood, this recipe is all about the okra, and totally vegan

A gumbo is often made, starting with a roux; a thickening mixture of butter and flour.

However, I have found that the natural substance found in okra, is a natural thickener.

Therefore, no added thickeners are needed to make this a hearty soup. 

okra and peppers
Okra and Peppers

Smoke Deepens The Flavors Of Vegetables

Who doesn’t love the smell and taste of smoked foods!

Since andouille sausage is usually the ingredient in gumbo; a smoked sausage made from pork, I wanted to replicate the flavor, and still be a vegan dish. 

Smoking the okra and peppers in this recipe, turns what would ordinarily be a vegetable soup, into a deeply flavored, smoky vegetable stew. 

An added treat in this gumbo is to smoke and dehydrate your own peppers (sweet or hot), into a lovely ground smoked paprika powder.

Homemade Smoked Paprika

How To Smoke Foods Indoors

If you are handy with a grill, by all means lightly smoke the okra and peppers for this recipe on the grill. 

Indoor smoking of foods is quick and easy and less mess than heating up wood chips on the grill. Here’s how: 

  • First we want to place about 2 cups of hickory or apple wood chips into a bowl of water and soak them for 30-minutes. 
  • Second, we will set up the stovetop smoking device by using a pot with a colander that fits inside, and a lid. Think of the traditional pasta cookers. Heat the bottom pot on medium on top of the stove with a piece of foil inside, on the bottom. 
  • Third, bundle the soaked wood chips inside of a piece of foil, leaving the sides open so the smoke can escape, and set on the bottom of the already lined pot. 
  • Last, place the colander in the pot with the lid on, turn the stove up to high, wait about 5-minutes for the smoke to become visible and set the ‘oil tossed’ veggies inside the colander, lid on. Smoke for 5-minutes. Turn off and leave to set another 5-minutes with the lid on. 
smoking veggies with a smoking gun
Smoking Veggies With A Smoking Gun

The Vegan Garden – Duh!

Summertime gardens and farmer’s markets, bursting with sun ripened veggies are enough to make a vegan out of all of us!

Planting veggies and herbs in a huge garden or pots on a deck, is what inspires the way I eat all summer.

How about you?

Drying Okra Seeds For Planting

Salads of course, such as my Beet and Endive Salad, are a great way to enjoy veggies from summer produce, but not the only way. 

Veggie pizza toppings are a great way to enjoy summertime produce.

For a fabulous summertime pizza, you must try my Deconstructed Ratatouille Pizza!

A veggie quiche is another delicious way to incorporate tomatoes and herbs into a meal. 

On The Great American Recipe I prepared a stunning Potato Crusted Tomato Quiche the judges loved and you are sure to love too. No gluten in the crust!

Hot Gumbo In The Summertime?

This Garden Gumbo is also a favorite way to enjoy the gifts of a summertime garden.

And yes, a warm bowl of soup is eaten in some of the hottest countries in the world, year round.

So don’t turn your nose up to this warm summertime soup, it will actually cool you down!

My Brazilian Seafood Chowder was also a hit on The Great American Recipe, and Brazil is always hot!

What To Serve With Smoked Vegan Garden Gumbo

While Rice is certainly an option, my favorite way to eat just about any type of soup is with a slice of Homemade Bread. 

On this day, I prepared a loaf of Rosemary Bread.

Any other herb can go into a homemade bread. 

Since summertime pots are also bursting with herbs, I put a schmear of Almond Basil Pesto on top.

If you are keeping with a completely vegan meal, simply use a non-dairy cheese in the pesto!

almond basil pesto & rosemary bread
Almond Basil Pesto & Rosemary Bread

Equipment Needed

  • 4-quart pot with a lid
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Smoking gun, or other smoking ability (my favorite smoking gun is linked below)
  • Stovetop or burner

Ingredients Needed

  • Red beans
  • Sweet onion
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Okra
  • Poblanos
  • Sweet peppers
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Chives
Gumbo Ingredients
Gumbo Ingredients
Smoked Fresh Okra Vegan Gumbo

Smoked Vegan Garden Gumbo

Garden fresh okra, peppers, carrots and herbs, lightly smoked and simmered in a red bean, vegan gumbo.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Okra Vegan Gumbo
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • Indoor smoking gun or grill
  • Dutch oven


  • 1 1/2 cups Red beans, dry
  • 1 Sweet onion large
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 10 cups Water boiling
  • 2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 10 Okra
  • 2 Poblanos medium
  • 4 Sweet peppers
  • 1 cup Celery chopped
  • 1 cup Carrots chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chives chopped
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika home smoked


  • In a medium size pot, preferably a Dutch oven, sauté the chopped onion, garlic and dried beans. Sprinkle in the salt and paprika and gently pour in the boiling water. Cover and simmer on low for about 1-hour or until the beans are soft.
  • Meanwhile, chop the okra, peppers, celery, carrots and chives. Place the celery, peppers and okra aside and smoke them, using a grill tray over a grill, or in a plastic bag to hand smoke, or the stovetop method.
  • Add the smoked veggies along with the remaining chopped veggies, to the cooked red beans. Simmer on low for about 15-minutes and serve.



  •  Canned beans can be used, which also cuts the time of cooking in half, and the amount of water in half.


Smoked Fresh Okra Vegan Gumbo
Smoked Fresh Okra Vegan Gumbo
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments