Garden Gumbo

by on August 12, 2007
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Even the best cooks can’t work their magic without good ingredients. I like to think I know my way around a kitchen, but I can say with certainty that without fresh ingredients, my cooking would be pretty blah. In the summer, cooking becomes very simple for me: walk outside, see what’s ripe, and combine it with some of fresh herbs growing in the corners of the garden. Anyone can do it, anyone who’s lucky enough to have room to garden.

So I’d like to take a moment to thank the suppliers of two of the ingredients that went into today’s dish:

Japanese Eggplants

Next to my tomato plants, the hardest workers in my garden have been this Japanese eggplant bush and its 3 companions. They have kept my family eating eggplant 2 and 3 times a week, for which I, at least, am thankful. This is just the top of one plant, and you can count 4 developing eggplants as well as the flower at the top–it’ll be an eggplant soon. There were 4 more eggplants on the lower limbs of this plant and more on the other plants.

Okra Flower

I didn’t plant enough okra, but the ones I planted have been steadily producing enough for me to be able to toss a handful into soups and casseroles every few days. Next year I’ll plant more, just so I’ll have enough of the young, tender vegetables to make Roasted Okra. The plants have such pretty flowers that I’m actually considering filling the flower bed in front of the house with them. See the little okra in the background? It’s just the right size for roasting, but I’d need about 20 more that size in order to justify heating up the oven.

Today’s recipe is really just a modification of the Chickpea Gumbo I’ve been making for years, except I walked outside, saw eggplants that were getting too big, picked them, and threw ’em in the pot. I increased the amount of broth and seasonings I use just a little, and the results were so good that even E the Eggplant Hater loved it. (It probably didn’t hurt that she was in the kitchen helping cook this, which always increases her appetite for foods she says she hates.) But if you don’t have eggplant (or really don’t like it), don’t let that stop you from making this recipe. You can substitute any vegetable you want for the eggplant, and I’ve even heard of some people substituting for the okra, though I really don’t advise that. In my opinion, gumbo without okra is just soup!

Garden Gumbo

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy November 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for your wonderful website. I am not vegan; however, in my quest to be healthier, I use your vegan recipes for myself and my family. Thank you for the great pictures, too. THAT is one of the main reasons that sets your website apart from others. And i like your new design, as well! Take care!


2 Honey Jackson September 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

this is a great recipe the whole family liked it. You can serve it on rice or as a stew its good both ways. though I like to add a lot of cajain seasoning, and geeenbeens, its really good


3 Hand Picked Vegan August 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm

This looks amazing! Was looking for a eggplant recipes and you have so many! Well Done!


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