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This Instant Pot vegan gumbo has all the Creole flavorings and seasonings of gumbo but is made vegan with fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables. Add in your favorite vegan sausage if desired or enjoy as a healthy flavorful fresh vegetable soup made easy in the Instant Pot.
You can eat this vegetarian gumbo as is, or served over cooked rice or with your favorite vegan sausages, cooked and added at the end.
Love Creole flavors? Looking for a new vegan Instant Pot soup recipe? Craving the goodness of veggies? Then you are going to love this amazing recipe for vegan gumbo!
For all of my delicious vegan soups, stews, and chowders – click here! You’ll find comforting, warm, and heartwarming vegan soup served with bread, sandwiches, or salads for a complete hearty meal.
Reasons you’ll love this delicious recipe:
- Tasty with Creole flavors.
- Totally vegan, but you can add in your favorite savory vegan sausages if desired.
- Made easy in the Instant Pot.
- Since the Instant Pot is multi-function, you can saute AND cook the soup in one pan.
- Can be served over rice for a complete meal.
- Gives you a reason to use that frozen okra you’ve been keeping in the dark recesses of your freezer compartment!
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What is gumbo?
If you’ve been missing gumbo, you are in for a treat! The first time I tried gumbo soup, I was at the Disneyland Blue Bayou Restaurant. It was always such a special treat for me to eat there.
I remember going on the pirates ride as a kid and gawking jealously at all the lucky people eating under the “stars”, knowing I had a peanut butter sandwich waiting for me in the trunk of our car. So as an adult, I always made it my mission to eat at the Blue Bayou, and in fact, it became a highlight of my Disney experiences. (So yeah, I’ve always been focused on the food haha!)
Of course, this was way before my vegan days. If you know gumbo, you know it is most often loaded with various meats and seafood. In fact, you can add in vegan meat before eating if this is what you enjoy. For me, I just love the spicy Creole flavors and the savory vegetables!.
Gumbo is known to be “the melting-pot nature of Louisiana cooking” (see Southern Foodways for a Short History of Gumbo). Tracing its distinctive seasonings, ingredients, and methods from West African culture, indigenous people who were local to the area, and French cuisine.
Of course, I don’t claim to be making anything close to authentic gumbo! Especially with my vegetarian gumbo made in the Instant Pot! (Meatless gumbo is not exactly what comes to mind when you think about authentic regular gumbo!)
But I’m a home cook and busy mom like many of you. I will make and recommend shortcuts when I can, and recipe substitutions that will keep you from running all over town! And though it might not be “authentic”, this instant pot soup recipe is delicious, quick, and easy, and will have the whole family asking for more.
Ingredients and substitutions to make this vegan gumbo recipe
- olive oil -I use robust flavor
- bell pepper– You will be dicing bell pepper.s I usually use what I have on hand. If you use green bell pepper the flavor is slightly sharper than if you use red, orange, or yellow variety.
- onion – white or yellow works fine. I specified a “medium” onion in the recipe card. It doesn’t really matter if you go a little bit over or under the measurement. But I usually aim for about one cup of chopped onion.
- minced garlic – You can use bottled minced garlic for this recipe if it is easier for you.
- vegan butter – make sure you like the flavor before cooking with it.
- all-purpose flour – See below if you are wanting to use gluten-free flour.
- Creole seasoning – I put some suggestions for seasoning in the recipe notes. You can also use cajun seasoning if that is what you can find. They each have a different flavor profile but will both be yummy in this soup. You can read about Cajun vs. Creole seasoning in this article by Masterclass.
- vegan Worcestershire sauce – please see the recipe notes for suggestions on finding vegan Worcestershire sauce. Or you can make your own with this vegan Worcestershire recipe by Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen
- hot sauce – I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
- okra – I use frozen/sliced okra. That’s just one less thing I need to worry about. Can you use fresh okra for this recipe? Well… according to Better Homes & Gardens article on how to cook okra, fresh okra is best for fried okra because it’s a little bit firmer than frozen okra, while frozen is best for soups and stews and such because it’s already a little less firm. So buy and use the frozen okra! (See below if you aren’t a fan of okra.)
- canned crushed tomatoes – Again, perhaps using canned tomatoes makes this vegan gumbo recipe less authentic…but canned tomatoes are what I have the time for.
- vegetable broth or vegetable stock – You will be using 4 cups of vegetable broth, which happens to be what is in a 32-ounce carton. You can make your own vegetable stock with my Homemade Instant Pot Vegetable Stock recipe. Or for an extra boost of flavor, you can make Chicken flavored vegan broth by using Not Chicken Boulion Cubes
- optional cooked rice for serving – Serve with white rice or brown rice. I prefer this soup served over white rice just for texture. But I feel that brown rice is a little bit more healthy? What do you think?
- optional cooked vegan sausage – Cook and add at the end, just before serving. Choose savory sausage rather than a sweet/savory flavored sausage. I’m pretty fond of Beyond brand sausage cooked and sliced.
DO I HAVE TO USE OKRA IN GUMBO?
Not a fan of okra? I get it. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with okra and hesitant to use it. Perhaps you ARE familiar with okra and can’t abide by the slightly slimy texture. Well…the literal meaning of the word gumbo in some West African languages is the vegetable we know as okra!
That slimy texture that many people are not fond of (and again, I get it!), has traditionally been used in certain cultures to help make soups and stews nice and thick. We are making a roux with flour and vegan butter in our recipe so it will still be nice and thick enough.
Still can fathom using okra in your gumbo but also still want the gumbo flavor? Substitute with cubed zucchini, green beans, or broccoli. You will still get that nice spicy flavor but won’t have to deal with the dreaded okra!
Can gluten-free flour be used to make a roux?
I have personally never tried to. According to G-Free Foodie, gluten-free roux can be made if you use the right gluten-free flours. She suggests using rice and tapioca flours and not nut flours. I strongly suggest that you read the above-linked post if you are interested in making a gluten-free roux.
How to make Instant Pot vegan gumbo
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Making your soup will be more stress-free if you have all of the ingredients prepared ahead of time. Dice the pepper and onion and mince the garlic if you didn’t buy it pre-minced.
You can cook the rice and vegan sausage while your soup is cooking, or cook them ahead of time. If you wait until the soup is cooking, it will probably be done before the rice and/or sausage. So your choice.
Step 2: Saute the vegetables
Turn the Instant Pot onto saute mode. (If you are using a different brand of pressure cooker without a saute mode, you will need to saute the vegetables and make the roux on your stovetop before cooking the soup in the pressure cooker.) Add the olive oil to the inner pot and heat it.
Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and peppers. Saute for one to two minutes. They should only begin to soften. The vegetables will continue cooking in the Instant Pot along with the gumbo.
Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for one more minute. Remove the garlic, onions, and peppers from the Instant Pot and place them in a separate bowl.
Step 3: Make the roux
Roux is a mixture made with fat and flour and is used as a thickener in many soup recipes. I remember being taught to make a roux by my grandmother when I was quite young.
The Instant Pot will still be in saute mode and will be hot. Add the vegan butter and melt it, stirring to avoid burn. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and continue whisking to make a roux. If the roux is too thick (like dough), then add in a splash of the vegetable broth to thin it out. The roux should be almost gravy-like.
Step 4: add everything else
You will now be adding everything else (except for the optional rice and vegan sausage).
Add the cooked vegetables to the roux mixture along with the Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, frozen okra, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Mix everything together. Now it’s time to cook your vegan gumbo!
Step 5: cook in the Instant pot
Manually set the Instant Pot to high pressure for five minutes. Since it is already hot, it will take about five minutes to come to pressure.
After the Instant Pot has counted down the five minutes and finished cooking, carefully do a quick release. I use a long handled wooden spoon to flick the release button. After all of the pressure has been released, carefully open your Instant Pot. It’s soup time!
Serving and storing suggestions
Serve warm over a bed of cooked rice. I prefer white rice for this soup recipe but brown rice will be fine too. I personally don’t go for all the carbs at once, but a nice crusty loaf of bread would be perfect for dipping and enjoying the flavors of this soup. Try my olive oil herb bread or wheat bread – both would be delicious!
Sometimes I like to cook up some Beyond Sausage. Slice and cook till it’s a little bit crispy and then add at the end just before serving. Or for a more whole food plant-based eating experience, my sausage tofu crumbles would be amazing sprinkled on top!
If it’s not spicy enough for you, sprinkle on a little cayenne pepper or more Frank’s Red Hot.
If you have leftovers, store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
For some more vegan Instant Pot soups, try:
Vegan soup and stew recipes are really one of my specialties and I have developed some truly delicious vegan Instant Pot soup recipes. Here are some of my favorites:
- African Peanut Stew – a flavorful delicious soup that is made oil-free with natural peanut butter
- Creamy Tomato Soup – a creamy soup with the help of a cashew cream sauce
- Minestrone Soup – a delicious vegetable soup made easy with canned ingredients (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Creamy Vegetable Pasta Soup – a rich and creamy vegetable-filled pasta soup
- Vegan Lentil Soup – This instant pot lentil soup is my prized recipe that everyone loves – a hearty soup made with fresh vegetables and lentils
The printable recipe card
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Vegan Gumbo, Instant Pot Recipe
- Pressure Cooker
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil I use robust flavor
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1½ Tablespoons garlic minced
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning see notes
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan worcestershire sauce see notes
- 2 Tablespoons hot sauce I used Frank's Red Hot
- 10 ounces okra, frozen and sliced
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
- 32 ounces vegetable broth 4 cups
- optional cooked rice for serving
- optional vegan sausage, cooked and added at the end
- Diced the bell pepper and onion. Mince the garlic. Set aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot onto saute mode. If you are using a different brand without a saute mode, you will need to saute on your stove top first. Add the olive oil and heat up.
- Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and peppers. Saute for one to two minutes. They should just begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for one more minute. Remove the garlic, onions, and peppers from the Instant Pot and keep them in a separate bowl.
- Your Instant Pot will still be in sautee mode. Add the vegan butter and melt it, stirring to avoid burn. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and continue whisking to make a roux. If the roux is too thick (like dough), then add in a splash of the vegetable broth to thin it out. The roux should be almost gravy-like.
- Add the cooked vegetables to the roux mixture. Add the Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, frozen okra, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Mix together.
- Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 5 minutes. Since it is already hot, it will take about five minutes to come to pressure.
- After the Instant Pot has counted down the five minutes and finished cooking, carefully do a quick release. Serve warm over a bed of cooked rice if desired.
- Frank’s Red Hot sauce is found in most grocery stores near the barbeque sauces, salad dressings, and other hot sauces.
- Creole seasoning may or may not easily be found at your grocery store. You can use Cajun seasoning, but that is a slightly different flavor profile. Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning says it is vegetarian. I see nothing on the ingredient list that contradicts this being a vegan product.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce can be challenging to find at the grocery store. I do believe the Organics brand is vegan (at the time of this writing.) I use Annie’s Homegrown Organic and Vegan Worcestershire sauce.