Mess o’ Greens Gumbo



With Fat Tuesday tomorrow, it seems like the perfect time to make a big old pot of my favorite gumbo: Gumbo Z’Herbs or as I like to call it Mess o’ Greens Gumbo. I adapted my recipe from the Gumbo Shop, a restaurant in New Orleans, where you can get, believe it or not, vegan gumbo. Yes, vegan gumbo in a town known for its seafood and andouille sausage and cooked gator.

I even made my batch gluten free for the first time by using GF all purpose flour in my roux. And it worked with a little help from some xanthan gum. Just whisk flour, xanthan gum and olive oil together until it smells like popcorn and turns the color of peanut butter.


Then you add the holy trinity: chopped onions, bell pepper and celery. Traditionally, green bell pepper is used, but I used red pepper for the sweet taste and color.


Next add herbs, spices, broth, mushrooms and a mess of greens. In this case, collard greens, kale and mustard greens, but any greens will work here. According to the Gumbo Shop, local folklore has it that you should make Gumbo Z’Herbs with an odd number of greens and what ever the number of greens in the gumbo eaten on Good Friday is the number of friends you will make in the following year. So I have that to look forward to. 🙂


Also, for my recipe, I added canned red beans for added protein and substance. I like small red beans, but kidney beans work well too. The gumbo can be served by itself or with a heaping helping of some good Louisiana rice. And one thing you can count on with gumbo is that it tastes even better the next day, so make plenty for leftovers.

Mess o’ Greens Gumbo (Gumbo Z’Herbs)

Serves 8-10

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten free all purpose flour (or regular AP flour)

3/4 tsp xanthan gum (if using gluten free flour)

1 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup shallots, minced

2 Tbsp garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste

2 tsp kosher salt

1 quart vegetable broth

1 quart filtered water

1/2 bunch collard greens, stems removed and chopped

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped

1/2 bunch mustard greens, stems removed and chopped

4 green onions, white and pale green part chopped

2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 can red beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 Tbsp soy sauce or to taste

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add flour and xanthan gum if using. Stir until this mixture (roux) becomes the color of peanut butter. Add onions, red pepper and celery. Saute until vegetables are tender and start to stick and brown a little. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt and peppers. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.

Add broth and water and stir to combine. Add all of the chopped greens and boil until tender. Add the parsley, green onions, red beans and soy sauce. Bring to a boil again and cook 15-20 minutes until the flavors combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your desire. Serve as is or over rice.

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