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NEW LIGHT: Bobby Deen’s Gumbo Recipe

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Paula Deen is known for her southern home cooking but after announcing she has type two diabetes last year, she's now eating healthier and making diabetes friendly recipes for everyone to try.

Her son, Bobby came by the studio to cook up a vegetarian gumbo.

The restaurant manager and TV cook was in Des Moines Saturday for the Hy-Vee Whole Health Experience.

For more on the Deen family's diabetes drive, visit their website.

Vegetarian Gumbo in a new light

The new recipe is adapted from Paula’s original Gumbo recipe

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Medium


2 tablespoons canola oil

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

8 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced

3 tablespoons garlic, chopped

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium diced tomatoes, with juice

6 ounces vegetarian spicy sausage

1 cup okra (fresh or thawed frozen), chopped

1/2 cup roasted red pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

Black pepper, to taste

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Hot sauce, for serving


Heat oil in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until flour turns golden-brown and smells toasty, about 5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, sausage, okra, roasted red peppers, Cajun seasoning and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gumbo begins to thicken and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Stir in the green onions and parsley. Pass hot sauce at the table.

Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. You might try whole grain (brown) rice or barley. Making it lighter:

  • Replaced the meat and seafood with mushrooms and veggie sausage to reduce saturated fat and calories.
  • Used low-sodium vegetable broth and low-sodium chopped tomatoes to lower sodium.
  • Replaced high-sodium Worcestershire sauce with roasted red bell peppers which add a smoky flavor.

What’s the difference?

Vegetarian Gumbo in a new light cuts out 180 calories, 13 g fat, and 600 mg sodium from the original.