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Vegan Seafood Gumbo
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Vegan Seafood Gumbo
The rich flavor of seafood gumbo is at your culinary fingertips with this delicious meat-free recipe from vegan blogger and cookbook author Betsy DiJulio. What sets this gumbo above the rest is its hearty roux, which turns a deep copper brown in the oven. Thanks to tangy nori, this plant-based "seafood" is tasty, just the right texture, and economical, not to mention healthful. For more recipes from DiJulio, visit her blog The Blooming Platter, and for culinary tips that every vegan can use, check out our 6 Kitchen Staples You Can Make at Home.
Serves 6 to 8
What You Need:
For the stock:
5-3/4 cups water
6 sheets nori, crumbled
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 lemon, halved

For the roux:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup canola oil

For the gumbo:
1 small to medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried ground sassafras leaves
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup vegetarian fish sauce (available at Asian markets)
2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed
2 cups textured vegetable protein
3 to 4 cups of cooked white rice, for serving

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What You Do:
1. For the stock, in a 4-quart saucepan, combine water, nori, salt, Old Bay Seasoning, soy sauce, and lemon halves. Cover loosely, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off heat, cover tightly, and let sit while proceeding with rest of recipe. Strain before using.

2. For the roux, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, toast flour, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in oil until smooth. Cover, transfer skillet or pot to oven, and bake until mixture is deep copper brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes or more, checking and stirring in 10-minute increments.

3. For the gumbo, transfer skillet or Dutch oven to stovetop and whisk cooked roux. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Mixture will be fairly dry. Stir in garlic, thyme, and sassafrass, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 3-3/4 cups of the stock and vegetarian fish sauce until smooth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

4. Stir okra into gumbo and simmer for about 20 minutes; reduce heat to medium if cooking too fast. While gumbo cooks, place textured vegetable protein in a medium bowl and pour remaining 2 cups of hot stock over. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened. Stir into gumbo and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve over scoops of rice.

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