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Vegan Cannellini and Kale Gumbo
A NOLA special for Mardi Gras
Yesterday was Mardi Gras, and I found myself reminiscing about the glorious 36 hours we spent in New Orleans a few years ago. Live jazz at the Spotted Cat, a relaxed evening with the best wine, cheese and live music at the wonderful Bacchanal, coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde watching more live music on the street. Walking around the cobblestoned streets drinking wine from the bottle (yes you can do that in NOLA!) and even a random Indian wedding baraat spotting! I did say glorious.
Oh, and gumbo (thick and flavorful stew, usually seafood-based). We found The Gumbo Shop had a vegetarian special and it was soul-warmingly good!
My version is adapted from Bryant Terry’s gluten-free recipe, that uses millet flour to make the roux (the base and thickener, made of flour and oil or butter, similar to a béchamel sauce). I use chickpea flour for more protein and fiber, and also because it has a nutty flavor out of the gate (you usually have to brown the roux for an hour or more). Make it yours by customizing the toppings - mushrooms like in Bryant’s original version, okra and other greens are all winners!
Vegan Cannellini and Kale Gumbo (download recipe card here)
¼ cup [30g] chickpea flour
¼ cup [60ml] olive oil
⅓ heaping cup [60g] diced onion
½ cup [80g] diced red bell pepper(s)
½ cup [50g] diced celery
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf[ves]
2 tsp cajun seasoning, plus more to taste
¼ tsp dried thyme
Pinch red chilli flakes
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 [15 oz./400g] can cannellini beans
3 oz [84g] baby kale, or other greens
Step 1. To make the roux: Heat a medium saucepan (preferably non-stick) over medium-low heat. When hot, add olive oil and chickpea flour. Stir continuously with a spatula until it forms a smooth paste. Heat on medium-low, stirring often, for about 30 minutes. The roux will smell nutty and turn a shade darker, forming a silky smooth liquid.
Step 2. Add onions, peppers and celery. Cook on medium-low, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme, chili flakes, black pepper, and cook, stirring for a minute.
Step 3. Add broth and whisk until incorporated. Taste and add salt and beans. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add kale and cook until until just wilted. Turn off the stove.
Serve over cauliflower rice or brown rice
Cooking Note: Watch the pot while making the roux in step 1 and stir often or it will burn!