How to make Sausage and Pepper Gumbo (Gluten-Free)

Dec 18, 2019 | meat, Recipes

Late yesterday afternoon I found myself wandering the grocery store walking back and fourth down each aisle. As I walked I scanned the shelves for some kind of inspiration for dinner and for today’s blog post. After about an hour of this, I meandered over to the cookbook/cooking magazine section and started thumbing through pages hoping beyond hope that something would stand out to me. As I turned page after page of a book on casseroles something caught my eye. It was a chicken gumbo casserole. It looked terrible. But, it clicked something in my brain which led to the decision to make my own gumbo. So, today I’m going to show you how to make Sausage and Pepper Gumbo.

What is gumbo?

Gumbo is a thickened creole or cajun stew. It usually contains seafood like shrimp and crab along with smoked sausage and or chicken or wild game. Gumbo is typically thickened with a roux (which should be very, very dark), along with okra, or filé powder which is ground sassafras.

The Gumbo I’m going to show you today is made using a roux which I made with gluten-free flour. It’s important to note this. Generally, as I said above when making gumbo you want to make a very dark roux. It typically takes about 40 minutes of stirring and cooking to make and to get the desired colour. But, because I’m using gluten-free flour I didn’t let me roux get that dark. I think that gluten-free flour would just taste burnt if I let it get as dark as regular flour. If you are using regular flour, go for it.

Gumbo Origins

Gumbo comes from an amalgamation of three very distinct cultures which all came together in the Louisiana area of the US in the early 1700s. These are Native American, African, and European (mostly Spanish and French). Really, gumbo is like working-class food anywhere in the world. You use what you have, generally cheap ingredients, and you make it delicious using technique.

How to make Sausage and Pepper Gumbo

I’m making a sausage and pepper gumbo because I didn’t want chicken and I can’t use shellfish (because I’m allergic). I used two kinds of sausage to make this along with a few strips of bacon. Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot I am pretty confident that the gumbo I’m making isn’t something you would get if you went to the south. But, the technique is the same and it is really delicious (my wife and I both had three bowls of it).

Okay, like I was saying I used bacon, fresh sausage and smoked sausage. The fresh sausage was just a regular sausage nothing special about it but you could use Italian (hot or mild) or Andouli if you can find it. For my smoked sausage, I used a dry smoked salami, you could use chorizo or any other smoked sausage.

Building the foundation

To start we have to build the foundation of flavour which for gumbo is the roux. To make a roux we need fat, so I started with two strips of really thick-cut bacon. I put this in the pan and turned it on to medium-low heat. The idea is that I want to slowly cook the bacon rendering out as much of the fat as possible. Once the bacon was crisp on both sides I removed it.

Next up, I added the fresh sausages to the pan and cooked them for about 6-7 minutes. I just wanted to brown them and get some of the fat out of them as well. I removed them from the pan (not worrying about whether they were cooked through or not) and set them aside.

Now, at the bottom of my pan, I have bacon fat, sausage fat, and little bits of bacon and sausage. Time to move on.

The Roux

To the fat I add my flour and stir. And stir. And stir. All told I think stirred this non-stop for about 20-25 minutes. As I already said, if you are using regular flour you can cook this for 40 minutes.

Notice the change of colour in the roux. That colour change is giving depth to the flavour. The darker it gets the nuttier and more earthy it will taste.

The Holy Trinity

You’ve heard me talk and have seen me write about mirepoix before. It is the base of a lot of French soups and sauce and is onion, carrot and celery. Well, in Cajun cooking they have their own version which they call the holy trinity. It is onions, bell peppers, and celery. This not only makes up the second level of our foundation but also provides the bulk of the vegetables going in our gumbo.

Other Vegetables

Along with the holy trinity I used 4 okra, 4 cloves of garlic, and 2 Roma tomatoes.


Okay, with the roux ready to go it’s time to start building the gumbo. First up is the holy trinity. I used 2 medium onions, 1 celery stalk, 1 green pepper, and 1 orange pepper all diced about the same size. Just dump it all in on top of the roux and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to turn translucent. I also added the okra in with the onions, peppers, and celery. Also at this point season generously with salt and pepper. The salt is going to help draw moisture out of the vegetables which is what we want.

Next up goes the garlic and tomatoes which get cooked for 3-4 minutes before adding in the cajun seasoning, about 2 tbsp of it. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.


Now, it is time for the liquid. I used 1 1/2 L of water but you can use chicken stock. I just didn’t have any on hand last night. Once the water goes in, bring the pot to a boil making sure stir it so the roux doesn’t stick to the bottom.


While the water is coming to a boil chop up about 1 tbsp of fresh thyme and add that in along with 4-5 bay leaves.


Once the pot comes to a boil we can add in the meat. I took the bacon and sausage I cooked earlier, sliced them up and added them in along with our smoked sausage.


With everything in the pot, it is just a matter of time. I simmered the gumbo for about an hour though traditionalist will say it has to be at least 3 hours. Who has that kind of time? Again, make sure to stir the gumbo every 10 minutes or so so that it doesn’t stick.

Once it has simmered for about an hour give it a taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Sausage and Pepper Gumbo

While the sausage and pepper gumbo was simmering I made some rice then served it up with a side of hot sauce. Was it good? Like I said, my wife and I each had three bowls.

Give this a shot. There is some effort involved and this is not a quick meal but it is so worth it.

Sausage and Pepper Gumbo (Gluten-Free)

This recipe makes a rich and delicious seafood-free gumbo that also happens to be gluten-free.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, Gumbo, Sausage, Southern Food
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 2 Strips Thick Cut Bacon
  • 5 Sausages
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Smoked Sausage
  • 2 med Onions, Diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 5 Okra, Sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 4-5 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour You can use regular all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 L Water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Start by putting the bacon in a large log or skillet and cooking over medium-low heat. The idea is that you want to slowly render the fat of the bacon so that can be used to make the roux.
  • Once the bacon is cook remove it from the pan, add in the fresh sausage and brown on all sides.
  • Once the sausages are browned remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the flour to the fat that has accumulated in the pan and stir constantly for 15-20 minutes. You want to make a very dark roux but it's important that you keep stirring it so that it doesn't burn.
  • Once the roux is nice and dark you can add in the onion, peppers, celery and okra. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook until the onions start to turn translucent.
  • Now add in the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the cajun seasoning cook for 2 more minutes then add in the water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil making sure that it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Slice the fresh sausage and dice the bacon and add to the pan along with the smoked sausage, thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Bring the gumbo back to the boil, reduce the heat, put a lid on the pot and simmer for about an hour making sure to stir every 10 minutes or so, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Taste the gumbo and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Serve with steamed rice and hot sauce.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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