Vegetable Gumbo

This is more of a meal than a soup. There are enough vegetables to stand a spoon up in it, and the okra thickens the broth to a silky-rich texture. You can vary the other vegetables according to what is available, and a knuckle of bacon or half a chicken can be added, if you are not making the soup for vegetarians.


  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz / 110 g okra, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 red or green pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 pt / 1.70 l vegetable or chicken stock
  • 8 oz / 230 g bobby beans, trimmed
  • 8 oz / 230 g courgettes, thickly sliced
  • kernels of 2–3 corn cobs or 6 oz / 170 g baby corn
  • 8 oz / 230 g chick peas or black-eyed beans, soaked and cooked, plus their cooking liquid
  • sprigs of coriander, thyme, parsley and bay leaves
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • finely chopped parsley or coriander


Fry the onion, tomatoes and celery in the oil until the onion and celery are translucent and the tomatoes collapsed. Add the sliced okra and pepper, together with the stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 20–30 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, the chick peas or black-eyed beans and their cooking liquid, and the herbs (tied together). Continue cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking. Remove the bundle of herbs, season the soup, and stir in the chopped parsley or coriander before serving. You might like to add a dash of hot pepper sauce.