How to make Garden Gumbo

Hello everyone, I’m Alex! I’m a new member of the Garden, and look forward to meeting everyone. One of my passions is cooking, and so I figured that for my inaugural post, I would share a recipe with y’all.

With fall in full swing and chilly weather coming, there are few things heartier than a good gumbo. Now, you may be saying to yourself “self, this is true, but what does this have to with the IU Hilltop garden?” I will tell you what: you can use food that you’ve helped to grow and nurture and harvest to make for some incredibly good gumbo!

Vegetarian Garden Gumbo (Serves 8)
Prep time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours


½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup flour

3-8 cloves of garlic

6-8 cups garden vegetables, including, but not limited to

  • Swiss chard
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Leeks

1 tablespoon italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme)

1 teaspoon powdered sage (if you want to use fresh sage, that’s fine; just add an additional ½ teaspoon)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

5 cups vegetable stock

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the flour and oil in an oven-proof container, like so:


2) Stir the mixture (roux) until no lumps remain


3) Bake the roux at 350 F for 90 minutes. While the roux is cooking, dice your vegetables and mix them thoroughly. We used garden tomatoes, okra (not from the garden, sadly), mushrooms (ditto), green peppers (garden), and leeks (garden).


4) Mix spices separately.


5) When the roux is done, it should be a nice, deep brown. Don’t forget to wear oven mitts when taking the pot out.


6) Add the vegetables to the roux and cook on the stove at medium heat for about five minutes.


7) Add the spices, mix, and cook for an additional minute.


8) Add the vegetable broth and mix thoroughly. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.


9) Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Gumbo is usually served with a starch of some kind, the most well-known being rice. Other suggestions include cornbread (especially jalapeño-cheddar cornbread!) and potato salad. Honestly, though, it’s great on its own.

And while there isn’t any meat in this dish, you can certainly add your own. Just cook it before starting, use the fat instead of vegetable oil for the roux, and then add it with the rest of the ingredients at step 8.


Thumb on the left belongs to photographer/lovely hostess Amita.

Oh, and one more thing! You know those peels, seeds, cores, and scraps that are always such a pain? Don’t throw them away! Bring them back to the garden to compost or save them for use in vegetable stock!

waste not, want not

Based on a recipe found here:


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