Gumbo Z’Herbes (Green Vegetable Gumbo)



In colonial Catholic Louisiana, gumbo z’herbes, green vegetable gumbo, was often prepared meatless (maigre) and served on Fridays in Lent. To make this gumbo vegetarian, leave out the sausage, ham, chaurice, and brisket.


Makes 10-12 servings. Recipe is from Poppy Tooker, Host of “Louisiana Eats” on radio WRKF, adapted from a recipe by Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans.


1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch turnips

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch beet tops

1 bunch carrot tops

½ head lettuce

½ head cabbage

1 bunch spinach

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped


1 lb. smoked sausage

1 lb. smoked ham

1 lb. chaurice

1 lb. boneless brisket

5 tbls. oil

¼ cup flour

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1 tbl. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 tbls. file powder


1. Clean all greens thoroughly. Coarsely chop all vegetables. In a 12 quart stock pot, cover all vegetables with water. Boil together for 30 minutes.

2. While greens cook, cut all meats into bite sized pieces. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and brown all meats in batches.

3. Add the flour to the oil and meat drippings and cook until flour is lightly browned. Drain the vegetables and reserve all cooking liquid. Add browned meats and roux to the stock pot.

4. In a food processor, puree all greens together. Add to the stock pot with thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add 2 quarts of the reserved liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until brisket is tender, at least 40 minutes.

5. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat and whisk in the file powder. Serve at once over rice.