One-Pot Bean Gumbo

Hi, Comrades in Food!

Here’s a Mark Bittman recipe that I’ve made twice now in two different versions. Both times, it turned out really tasty, with plenty leftover for subsequent lunches. The recipe comes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and the version I’ve written up here is the more involved one (which features more of the vegetables we grow).

Part of what I like about this recipe is that it really showcases the natural flavor of the black-eyed peas. I think it probably helped that I had good quality black-eyed peas both of the times I made this. In any case, it’s yummy and filling and nutritionally balanced … and how much can ya really ask from one pot, eh?

Here’s the deal:

Serves: 6 – 8 servings. (Yeah, this really does make a whole pot full of food.)
Time: 2 1/2 hours, largely unattended


  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, washed and soaked (if you like)
  • 2 quarts vegetables stock or water
  • 1 brick (about 14 oz) of smoked tofu*
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped (or canned) tomato
  • 1 cup chopped okra
  • 1/2 cup minced bell pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • * About the smoked tofu: I’ve never used smoked tofu when I’ve made this recipe. Both times, I’ve faked the smoked tofu by opening up a package (a brick) of tofu, pouring out the water, and marinating the tofu with a mixture of soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce) and liquid smoke. Use 1 – 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke. If you use soy sauce, use about 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts water. If you use a pre-made teriyaki sauce, just cover the tofu in the sauce. Both ways turned out great. When you’re ready to add the tofu to the pot, just pour the marinade in the pot along with the tofu.


    1) Put the black-eyed peas, stock, tofu, onions, and garlic in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so it bubbles steadily but not violently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender but not mushy — approximately 1 to 2 hours. (The beans may be made ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before proceeding.)

    2) When the beans are ready, make sure you have about 3 cups of liquid. If not, add more or spoon some out to make 3 cups. Add the tomato and the okra. Stir in the rice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes or so.

    3) Remove the lid. If any water remains, turn the heat to high for a minute or two to boil it off. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice, beans, and tofu. Stir in the bell pepper, if you are using it. Add a dash or two of Tabasco if you like, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Put the lid back on and let the dish rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 15 minutes before serving.

    Voila! A complete meal for several people, all in one pot!

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