I know Mardi Gras is a day to let loose and imbibe before heading into the sacrificial season of Lent, but for those who would rather save their indulgences for a cocktail or dessert I thought I’d offer up my healthy gumbo recipe. You’ll find a lot of the familiar flavors in this version, with healthy substitutions that dramatically reduce the amount of fat and number of calories.
True Cajun chefs will shun this recipe since I skip the traditional roux base. Because I don’t start this gumbo with this characteristic brown sauce made from oil and flour, the color and flavor differ from classic gumbo. However, I find the red in the healthified version more appetizing than the typical brown of the classic. I also prefer the flavor (perhaps because the thought of a flour/oil paste just sounds unappetizing to me) of the leaner version.
I’ve had to play with this recipe quite a bit to achieve a flavor and heat level that works for my whole family. Thus, this recipe is pretty mild for a gumbo and thus, kid-friendly. If you like it spicy, you’ll want to add some hot sauce.
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 pkg smoked turkey sausage, cut into slices
- 1 small onion
- 1 small green bell papper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (10 oz) pkg frozen okra
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb shrimp, cleaned, peeled, and deveined
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Prepare rice according to package directions.
- While rice is cooking, heat oil in large stockpot. Brown chicken and sausage in pot for 4-5 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes, chicken broth, okra, and spices. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for 5-6 minutes more (until shrimp is pink).
- Serve gumbo over rice in a bowl. Add hot sauce if desired.
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