Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Easy Vegan Shrimp Gumbo

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I have always loved Creole and Cajun food. I have spent huge portions of my life dreaming up ways to veganize old school Louisiana favorites like Beighnets, Po'Boys, Hush Puppies, Hoppin' John, Red Beans and Rice and Jambalaya. Hell - we even deep fried a Tofurky. So I guess I don't need to rave about how excited I was to make Betty's Shrimp Gumbo. Here's the thing...

Have you ever been making something and you get to a step in the recipe that makes you pause. Everything in you says - This recipe is perfect the way it is. If I do this - will it really be better? That moment when your heart says it's time to stop but you can't help but continue. There were 2 moments in this recipe where I wish I had the ability to turn back time :
  • I wish I had used May Wah's ridiculously yet awesomely named Shrimp Balls instead of their Large Vegan Prawns. The Shrimp Balls are just firmer and have more flavor. ( Is anyone else laughing right now?)
  • I wish I had added 1/2 Cup of vegetable broth or tomato sauce or even some diced tomatoes rather than the tomato paste. Yes Gumbo can be tomato-y and more people apparently like it tomato-y than spicy and roux-y. It lost a lot of kick when I added the tomato paste and became more of a sweeter tomato sauce than the spicy chowder with rice dish I personally love. But if you're not sure what you like or maybe are not the kind of person who orders the 5 pepper dishes at Thai restaurants - a medium salsa type - I suggest adding the tomato paste a little at a time till you like the flavor and thickness. 
Enough chatter - Let's start making this dish that is still so good it will make you smack your mama*... I mean Betty always brings it.

Easy Vegan Shrimp Gumbo
  • 1/4 Cup Margarine 
  • 2 Medium red Onions (sliced) 
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (diced) 
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (minced) 
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3 1/2 Cups Better Than Boullion - Vegan Beef (made per instructions on the package)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Hot Sauce 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Braggs 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Cut Frozen Okra
  • 1 Can Artichoke Hearts ( drained and quartered)
  • 3 Celery Stalks (diced)  
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste (6 oz can - Please see note above - You may want to add this a little at a time or replace with more Diced Tomatoes) 
  • 2 Cups Vegan Shrimp ( defrosted - Again see above. I would go with the Balls - yeah I said it. But the Prawns have that certain something) 
  • 1 Package Tofurky Italian Sausages  (cut into coins) 
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped) 
  • 3 Cups Brown Rice (cooked)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Dash of Beer (I suggest a Pale Ale)
  • Liquid Smoke
In your mon cher cast iron skillet, heat Olive Oil and Liquid Smoke on a medium heat. Once the Oil is hot, add Sausage Coins, Artichoke Hearts and Vegan Shrimp. Then add a dash of Beer. Stir occasionally and let simmer until the Sausage begins to brown. With a slotted spoon remove the Sausage and Shrimp from the skillet and set them aside.

Now add the Margarine and let it melt. Toss in the Red Onion, Green Bell Pepper and Garlic and let cook for 5 minutes. Then gradually stir in Flour. Cook over a medium heat until it begins to bubble. 

Now add the remaining ingredients except The Shrimp Mix, Rice and Parsley to the hot Oil and Beer and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the cooked Shrimp, Artichoke Hearts and Sausage over the Rice with the Sauce/Soup and Parsley over the top.You'll want to add enough Sauce/Soup that it well becomes a Soup. You'll mix it all up in your bowl before you eat... you may want to invest in some dipping bread too. Not that I would tell you what to do or anything.

*This is just a saying. The Shannons do not condone or endorse mama smacking.


  1. I love your blog! Recipes look delicious :)

  2. First time trying your recipe. It looks awesome. However, how much Liquid Smoke would you recommend? This is the first time I'm using it.

  3. Usually the liquid smoke bottles have special caps that let you add small dashes. I would go with one - MAYBE two if you like things smokey. The more you play around with it the more you'll get an idea how much you like.

    We're big fans - so we're kinda a three house. :)

    I hope you like the recipe! Send us a photo if you can and we'll add it to The Family Album on The Family Tree page.