gumbo in bowl

If you are a fan of Southern cuisine, you know that you can’t just go to a restaurant and order gumbo anywhere, which is a little upsetting if you ask us. Since it’s not always readily available, sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands and fix up a nice pot of gumbo yourself. The task may seem daunting, but this soup is surprisingly easy to make. Another plus is that the dish is hearty and delicious, and it’s filling enough for a main meal. As you can see from the title, this delightful dish boasts shrimp and okra, making you feel good about what you are putting into your body.

Recipe developer Hayley MacLean came up with this delicious gumbo recipe, and its inherently comforting flavors and aroma will draw you right in. "What I like most about this recipe are the deep, rich flavors provided by the holy trinity of veggies (bell pepper, onion, celery) and darkening the roux. It is so comforting, perfect for these cold winter nights," MacLean raves. We have to agree on all points! "For this, I used Argentinian pink shrimp as they are in season and abundant right now. However, any shrimp that is easily available and has been peeled and deveined will do," MacLean says. "I keep the tails on for the cooking process to help build even more flavor, but they can be tail-off as well." Let’s dive right in!

Gather the ingredients to make shrip and okra gumbo

ingredients for shrimp gumbo

Ready to get started on this wonderful recipe? If so, you will need to gather all of the necessary ingredients. Head to the grocery store and grab some olive oil, okra, butter, and all-purpose flour. Then, pop by the produce section to grab a yellow onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. The recipe also calls for a can of diced tomatoes and a few cups of chicken broth. In addition, you will need Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves.

What recipe wouldn’t be complete without a dash of salt and pepper? You will also need to load up on other spices including white pepper, cayenne pepper, filé powder, Cajun or creole seasoning, hot pepper sauce, dried thyme, and fresh parsley to add even more flavor. Then, get some peeled and deveined shrimp and a few scallions. That’s it!

Start by cooking the okra

okra in a pan

Now that you have all of the ingredients, it’s time to start cooking. Grab a nonstick skillet and toss in three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Turn the heat up to medium and then add in the okra. "Okra is traditional ingredient in many gumbos, so it was definitely needed in this dish," MacLean shares. "It adds a sweet, earthy flavor that balances the delicate flavor of the shrimp perfectly."

Cook the delicious green veggie for about 25 to 30 minutes, and be sure to stir it frequently to prevent it from burning. You can tell the okra is done cooking when it gets slightly browned and it’s no longer slimy. As you cook the okra, you can multi-task with the next step.

Heat the olive oil and flour

oil and flour in pan

While you cook the okra, grab a dutch oven or a large pot and place it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low and throw in the remainder of the vegetable oil and the butter. Next, add the flour and cook the three together for about 30 minutes. "The mixture of butter, oil, and flour cooked down and darkened is called a roux, and it is what makes the gumbo nice and thick and adds a nutty, smoky flavor to the dish. The longer it cooks, the darker it will get, and the deeper the flavor will be!" MacLean shares.

Again, you will want to constantly mix to keep things from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until it achieves a nice dark brown color.

Add the veggies and spices

soup in pot

In the same pot you mixed the butter and flour, toss in the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Remember that you should have chopped these ahead of time, so they are ready to go. Cook everything together for another five to eight minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute until the mixture turns fragrant.

Next, toss in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth. You can also add the sauce and spices like Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, filé powder, Cajun or creole seasoning, hot pepper sauce, and dried thyme. Last but not least, throw in the cooked okra. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.

Add the shrimp and parsley and enjoy

gumbo in bowls

The last few things that you need to add are the shrimp and parsley. Cook for another four to five minutes until the shrimp looks opaque and cooked through. Remove the bay leaves and serve the gumbo immediately. "Gumbo is traditionally served with rice and would be great with a fresh green salad and some cornbread or hush puppies on the side," MacLean says. "Potato salad would also be a great accompaniment, balancing the hot, hearty gumbo with cool, creamy texture."

Anything left? "Leftovers can be kept for 2-3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Due to the shrimp in it, it should not be made too far ahead of eating! It can also be frozen for up to 6 months and defrosted as needed," MacLean says. Now, enjoy!

  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound okra, sliced
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun or creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the okra and cook, stirring frequently, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and no longer slimy.
  2. While the okra is cooking, heat the remaining vegetable oil and the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook for 30 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a dark brown color.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the flour mix and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, filé powder, Cajun or creole seasoning, hot pepper sauce, dried thyme, and cooked okra. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Add the parsley and shrimp and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until opaque and cooked through. Remove the bay leaves. Serve immediately with rice and garnish with sliced scallions.