I love gumbo, but since it would be impossible to have a lectin-free gumbo in a restaurant, I tried to make my seafood and okra gumbo. I was not disappointed.
It is not that difficult to make it plant paradox compliant. I replaced the rice with sorghum, skipped the tomatoes and bell pepper, added Hungarian paprika, and used a fabulous gumbo spice mix I found in Central Market in Dallas.
Southern comfort but healthy
I didn’t know much about gumbo before moving to Texas. But I loved a few things about gumbo besides taste: the texture and the okra. I know not all the gumbo recipes have okra, but for me, gumbo without it is not gumbo. And that first part of the recipe, where I sautee the okra for 30 minutes, really gives this dish its signature flavor and adds to the texture.
This seafood and okra gumbo is comfort food at its best while being a super clean dish; quality seafood, vegetables, sorghum, water, and spices. It didn’t even need starch. I was prepared to use arrowroot powder if necessary to thicken it at the end, but it was already perfect due to the sorghum and okra. We don’t eat very spicy, but you can add cayenne pepper to the spices if you want. This is the sorghum I used, and you can find it on Amazon. You can also use the pearled white sorghum grains from Gundry MD.
Gundry MD Pearled White Sorghum
Gundry MD Pearled White Sorghum is a great-tasting alternative to couscous, quinoa, and pasta — without any of the lectins, added sugars, gluten, or extra calories. You can buy Gundry MD Pearled white sorghum here.
Okra gumbo spice mix
Now, about the gumbo spice mix I used. The ingredients are:
- gumbo filé
- black and white pepper
- yellow mustard
- cayenne pepper
- Greek oregano
- bay leaves
I’ve been looking online to see if I find something similar, but you usually find a creole seasoning mix with more or less the above ingredients minus the file powder.
I’d stay away from Gumbo base type of products because they are not just clean spices. So one way to do it is to get a clean Creole spice mix and separately get the Gumbo file powder, which is powdered sassafras leaves, an essential ingredient in Cajun cooking. This is what I found on Amazon:
NOTE: Some say gumbo file powder should only be added at the end of the cooking process, but most gumbo spice mixes come already combined with the powder, so they have to be added during cooking. If you manage to find gumbo file powder separately, add it at the end.
The bad news is that I did not find a compliant creole spice mix on Amazon. So if you don’t see it in your stores, make your own mix with black and white pepper, yellow mustard powder, cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper, greek oregano, and bay leaves, and add them to the dish along with gumbo file. I would use 1/4 teaspoon of each (black and white pepper together) and 1 teaspoon gumbo file.
This brings me to a frustrating point about spices. We need to carefully look at ingredients because spice mixes are usually not clean spices and have all kinds of fillers, anti-caking agents, and taste enhancers added. That’s why most of the time, I make my mixes.
I recommend tasting along the way and adjusting spices to your taste. If you want to give it a kick you can use a compliant hot sauce.
How to make a lectin-light seafood gumbo
While I was certainly trying to recreate a dish as close as possible to a traditional gumbo, the steps of making this dish are quite different.
Firstly, we skip the roux part. While it is possible to use a compliant flour (like sorghum), roux is tough on digestion. Anything made with roux gives me terrible heartburn, so I never use this method in cooking.
- I already mentioned how much I love the okra flavor and texture in gumbo. So the first step in making this dish is to sautee the okra for about 30 minutes. If you didn’t know, okra has anti-lectin properties, so even more reasons to use it.
- The next step is to add the aromatics: onions, celery, and garlic. We skip the peppers here but replace them with paprika. Then add all the spices. If you have gumbo file powder, leave it for the end.
- Now it’s time to add the sorghum and water, as the sorghum needs at least 45 minutes to cook. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, lower the heat and stir every 10 or 15 minutes.
- After 45 minutes add the seafood. It’s very important you use shelled seafood, as that will give the broth a lot of flavors.
- To not overcook the seafood, take it out and continue the cooking process. In the meantime, deshell the seafood and chop. Only add it back at the end, with the chopped green onions. Note: you can use another type of seafood if you don’t have access to what I used.
- If you prefer a thicker texture, mix one or two teaspoons of tapioca or arrowroot powder with cold water and add it to the pot.
Serve the seafood and okra gumbo with a side of cornbread
Serve the okra gumbo with a side of cornbread. Check out my Lectin-Free Cornbread with Millet and Walnuts.
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Seafood and Okra Gumbo with Sorghum
A healthy and lectin-free version of the much-loved gumbo.
- 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 0.650 lbs okra, chopped into half-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 big garlic cloves
- 2 big green onions (more if you have the small ones)
- 3 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons sorghum (not cooked)
- 1/2 lbs wild shrimps, peeled and deveined (adding a couple with head and skin on would give more flavor to the broth)
- 1 fresh Maine lobster tail
- 1 large fresh Stone Crab claw
- Spices: 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika + 2 teaspoons gumbo spice mix (gumbo filé, black and white pepper, yellow mustard, cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper, Greek oregano, and bay leaves) + salt to taste.
Sauté okra in extra virgin olive oil for 30 mins, stirring often.
Add the chopped celery and onion and smashed garlic and saute for 10 more minutes.
Add paprika and continue to stir, adding a few tablespoons of water so the paprika doesn’t burn, stir for 5 more minutes and add the gumbo spice mix, salt, sorghum, and water (warm it in advance).
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, mixing every 10 or 15 minutes.
After 45 minutes add the crab claw and the lobster, simmer for 15 minutes, add the shrimps and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Take all the seafood out and leave the soup to continue to simmer. De-shell the lobster and crab and cut into small pieces, chop the shrimp into smaller pieces too (you can leave a few whole for decoration if you want). Put them back in the soup and add the chopped green onion.
Taste for salt. Add more gumbo spice if you want a stronger taste. If you use separate gumbo file powder, you can add it now.
Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Use a Dutch or French oven. I was limited by the size of mine but since this is a dish that is also good to serve the next day, I would make a bigger quantity. You can also add a compliant sausage if you have one (I would slice it and fry it first and add it with the seafood). You can add cayenne pepper to the spice mix if you love spicy food.