28 Cajun, Creole, and Creative Stews for National Gumbo Day — or Any Day
In the internet age, every dish has its day — and October 12th is National Gumbo Day.
There’s a world of gumbo out there, which means that your gumbo is not necessarily my gumbo. And I consider that a good thing.
There’s the classic Creole cooking-style version of gumbo, which hails from the southeastern New Orleans area. It’s usually a bit lighter in color, heavier on the shellfish. Cajun gumbos, from southwestern Louisiana, tend to be thicker and darker, and often feature duck or turkey. Neither skimps on the iconic andouille sausage.
Some allegedly unifying principles of gumbo are flouted with regularity:
- The word “gumbo” comes from an African word for okra — which suggests that okra should be a key ingredient. (But while okra may be used to thicken gumbo, it’s often omitted).
- Gumbo filé powder, which is made from dried and ground sassafras leaves, is attributed to the Choctaw Indians in the area — but it’s also not on every ingredient list. (Although it’s often found on a Southern table).
- Then there’s the roux — cooked all purpose flour and fat, be it butter, pan drippings, canola or other vegetable oil — which is, of course, French. (But spawns frequent arguments about how dark it should be, or if you should use roux at all.)
- Finally, there's the holy Cajun trinity of onion, celery, and green bell pepper — thankfully, that typically doesn’t change.
Add to all that gumbo z’herbes, from Louisiana's Catholic Acadiana region, and modern gumbo inventions that are vegetarian, vegan, Whole30, Keto, gluten-free — as well as ones that feature all sorts of beast and bird. (Alligator, anyone?)
Here are 28 of the best gumbo recipes worth considering for National Gumbo Day, or, you know, a Tuesday. Whatever your taste, whatever your diet, I hope you’re hungry.
Spicy Gumbo With Andouille and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
I learned something new from Lauren Keating, at Healthy. Delicious.: They call roux “Cajun napalm.” (Not related to the full tablespoon of cayenne pepper in her recipe!) Her detailed write-up for this delicious gumbo recipe includes everything you need to know about making a roux. Her preferred color is akin to milk chocolate, as opposed to dark brown.
Okra Gumbo With Chickpeas & Kidney Beans (Vegan)
Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan recipe uses kidney and garbanzo beans in place of Andouille sausage or shellfish. After poring over recipes, Isa Chandra Moskowitz couldn’t really find a single unifying principle, other than this: “Gumbo is a thickened stew with Creole herbs and spices and lots of chunky stuff in it.”
Works for me!
Andouille, Crab, & Oyster Gumbo
Follow along with this step-by-step video recipe on Yummly Pro as Andrew Zimmern makes his decadent Creole-style gumbo, featuring schmaltz, clam juice, oysters, and crab meat in addition to the usual suspects.
Smoked Turkey and Andouille Gumbo
In this Saveur recipe — inspired by a dish from Café Vermilionville in Lafayette, Louisiana — smoked turkey wings and cubed smoked turkey breast provide the backbone of this gumbo while the extra-dark roux gives it some dramatic flair.
Chicken Chorizo Gumbo
In this Better Homes and Gardens recipe, chorizo stands in for Andouille sausage, and smoked paprika gives the dish a more Spanish flavor profile.
Prawn & Chorizo Gumbo
Chorizo guest-stars again in this 9kitchen recipe — alongside prawns, instead of chicken.
Chicken, Andouille, and Oyster Filé Gumbo
This authentic Deep South Dish recipe features a whole fryer chicken, a pound of Andouille sausage, a pint of fresh oysters — and filé powder for the table.
Tony Chachere's Easy Gumbo
I’d never heard of Tony Chachere until my college years when I moved in with a girl from Louisiana — and then his famous Creole seasoning became a pantry staple. Not surprisingly, this straightforward gumbo recipe uses Tony Chachere instant roux, Creole seasoning, and gumbo filé.
Slow Cooker Leftover Turkey and Andouille Gumbo
Like any versatile stew, gumbo benefits from slow cooking. This Serious Eats recipe leverages turkey leftovers and a slow cooker for an easy, day-after kind of meal.
The favorite recipe for gumbo on Yummly (with over 15,000 Yums) is this tasty version from Immaculate Bites. It must be the crab legs.
Alligator or Crocodile Gumbo
Because it’s the South, y’all.
Catfish Gumbo with Bacon and Venison Sausage
Catfish gumbo gets a little something extra with venison sausage in this recipe from Cajun Cooking Recipes.
There’s a lot going on in this gumbo recipe from Marwin Brown at Food Fidelity — cumin and cardamom evoke Morocco, curry from South Africa, coconut milk, served with pearl couscous instead of the traditional rice. Is it authentic? Nah. Is it delicious? Absolutely.
Greek Gumbo With Okra, Gnocchi & Chickpeas (Vegan)
When is a gumbo not a gumbo? Makos at The Hungry Bites admits that this Mediterranean-inspired tomato, chickpea and okra stew is not called gumbo in Greece, but the elements are all there. It's served over gnocchi, not rice, to differentiate it even more.
Fermented Black Bean Braised Tofu, Gumbo Style, with Roasted Okra
This is what happens when Cajun cooking goes Chinese.
Or even Korean! In this Real Simple recipe, Korean gojuchang is treated like tomato paste.
Coconut Curried Sausage & Veggie Gumbo
The Pig & Quill’s creative riff on gumbo is easily gluten-free, with the use of gluten-free flour from Trader Joe’s. She uses Penzey’s Vindaloo curry powder, but your favorite curry will do fine.
All Day Duck Gumbo
To be fair, I’m drawn to this recipe for the Tabasco bowl alone! While it’s called “All Day” gumbo, the test kitchen at Food52 thinks you should plan for two — one to roast the duck and sausages, and then another for the rest of the steps.
“One of the best things about gumbo is that it's a truly imaginative dish—one that can be made with whatever happens to be in your kitchen at any given time,” writes Saveur. I’m not the type that typically has oxtails on hand, but it’s worth the trip to the store.
Lamb and Sausage Gumbo
Lamb shoulder and Italian sausage make this gumbo recipe from Chocolate and Marrow distinct — and delicious.
Vegan Gumbo with Andouille Red Bean Meatballs
The red bean meatballs — or beanballs, if you will — make this vegan gumbo from Connoisseurus Veg feel extra hearty.
Whole30 Instant Pot Seafood Gumbo
Bone broth and ghee, the absence of roux, and the addition of cauliflower rice makes this a delicious Whole30 one-pot meal, made impossibly easy with the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Lentil Gumbo
The Instant Pot can also transform a cup of lentils into something deliciously Southern, in this recipe from the aptly-named blog Love Pulses.
Sweet Potato Gumbo
Wild rice and sweet potatoes give this vegan gumbo some texture and heft.
A Healthier, Gluten-Free Crawfish and Crab Gumbo
Jeanette, of Jeanette’s Healthy Living, makes a few smart choices that make this dish both lower-calorie and gluten-free. Among them: rice flour and using onion-garlic puree in place of some of the roux.
Gumbo Z’herbes (Louisiana Gumbo with Herbs)
Gumbo Z’herbes is basically the best name for a dish I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a classic dish from Acadiana, in Southern Louisiana, where the Catholic population often eschewed meat during Lent. This version features spinach, collard greens, parsley, swiss chard, and kale, but you can use whatever greens you like best.
Diversivore embraces some uncommon ingredients — like Jerusalem artichokes, golden beets, butternut squash, and sage — for its gumbo. “Call it Pacific Northwest Gumbo if you want to,” writes blogger Sean Bromilow.
Many gumbo recipes feature some 30+ ingredients and can take a couple hours (if not a couple days!) to cook. When you don’t have time for all that, there’s this easy recipe from Louisiana Cookin’. Some pre-work is involved — pre-made roux, frozen holy trinity, frozen white rice. But for gumbo on a random Wednesday night in a total time of 30 minutes, it’s worth it.
Want more Louisiana-style inspiration? Search Yummly's massive recipe database for one of these favorite recipes: