Of all my recipes, this vegan mushroom etouffee is in the top 5 for all time favorites! It is rich, flavorful, full of meaty texture, and hearty. I love making this for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to wow my non-vegan guests. But this étouffée is easy enough to make any day of the week!
I first published this recipe in my cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul. I grew up eating étouffée made with Zatarain’s spice mix, and for some reason I’ve always missed it. Perhaps because it was one of only a few dishes my mom would cook. Or maybe because étouffée served over steamed white rice is the ultimate savory comfort food. Whatever the reason for my attachment, I knew when I wrote a cookbook I’d have to veganize this childhood favorite.
What is etouffee?
If you’ve never tried my recipe, etouffee is about to become one of your favorite meals. In French the word étouffée means smothered. Étouffée is a luscious roux-based stew traditionally made with shellfish––most often crawfish or shrimp. It’s a staple in both Cajun and Creole cuisine, but folks as far away as Georgia––like me––also love it 🙂 I make my étouffée with a “blond roux” to give it a subtle nutty flavor and a silky broth. Other cooks may make it with a dark or brown roux for a stronger flavor.
Making the roux
When I first learned how to cook Creole food I was intimidated by the roux. I was worried I’d burn the flour and end up with a bitter mess. But it turns out, a blond roux, like the one needed for this recipe, is very easy to make. Just don’t walk away and forget about it!
To make a roux you heat vegan butter or oil in a skillet. Once hot, an equal amount of white flour is added to the fat. The flour quickly toasts, turns golden brown, and makes your kitchen smell amazing. This golden goodness will add more flavor to your étouffée and add body to the gravy. You cannot make étouffée without it.
For a gluten-free version, use chickpea flour or rice flour. I have also heard that an all-purpose gluten free flour blend could work, but I haven’t tried this myself.
The star ingredients of this Étouffée
The roux is a requirement, but it isn’t the only superstar ingredient!
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are the best replacement for shellfish in étouffée. They have an amazing texture and fabulous flavor. Use a variety of “fancy” shrooms, rather than baby bella and portobello. I recommend using a mix of oyster, king oyster, and maittake mushrooms. Any fancy mushrooms will do.
- Holy trinity: In Creole and Cajun cooking most savory dishes start with The Holy Trinity––onion, green bell pepper, and celery. These aromatics are sautéed right after making the roux, and give this dish so much flavor.
- Old Bay and Dulse: To give vegan étouffée the essence of the ocean, Old Bay seasoning and dulse seaweed are a must. Old Bay is salty, spicy, and somehow seafood-y. Dulse is a very briny sea vegetable. Use dulse flakes in this recipe.
- Creole seasoning: I make my own creole seasoning using the recipe in my cookbook. If you want to buy one at the store, I recommend Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.
Yummy Étouffée Pairings
Oyster Mushroom Étouffée
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery stalks diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (about 1 cup)
- 2-1/2 cups water plus 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dulse seaweed flakes
- 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
- 3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning plus more to taste
- 1 pound fresh oyster mushrooms roughly chopped (about 2 cups), or an assortment of mushrooms
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Preheat large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Add oil, then sprinkle in flour when oil is hot. (Test the oil by dropping a pinch of flour in the oil; if it simmers, it is hot enough.) Toast flour in the oil, stirring for a few minutes until it turns golden brown.
- Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and salt and stir. Saute on medium heat until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, dulse, Creole seasoning and Old Bay seasoning. Stir well and bring the pot to a simmer.
- Add mushrooms and continue to simmer for 20 minutes until they become tender.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over rice with a squeeze of lemon juice and garnished with parsley.
Domonique / January 2, 2023 at 5:27 pm /
I made this today, I’ve been dying to try it and just never made the time. Well after making greens, hoppin john, and cornbread all from the book (which was my first and favorite vegan cookbook), I figured let’s go for 4. Even my meat eating partner was like oh wow, the soup alone was singing. I paired it with basmati rice cooked and kept separately It’s a new favorite going in rotation. Thank you for this.
Now to see if it freezes well
Annette Heller / December 27, 2022 at 7:53 pm /
I just made this for dinner and it was a big hit! I couldn’t find oyster mushroom so I substituted shitake mushrooms, and it was delicious. I also used the entire can of diced tomatoes, it was an accident but it turned out fantastic. We loved the seasonings and dulce flakes, my husband asked if there was seafood in it.
I’ll definitely be making this one again!!
Ann / December 13, 2022 at 11:40 am /
If I want to include a protein in this dish what would you recommend that would keep it reflecting its creole origin?
Laurie Miller / September 7, 2022 at 12:29 pm /
I’m excited about making this for a dinner party Sunday evening!
There will be eight people – do I need to double the recipe?
(I can’t see where it says the number of servings).
Al / May 10, 2022 at 4:12 pm /
This is one of my favorite recipes from your cookbook. I grew up with Old Bay seasoning, and it’s so nostalgic to have a vegan dish with that flavor. I’m lucky enough to live near a forest where wild oyster mushrooms grow, which makes this recipe even more special. Thank you, Jenne!
Kimberley / May 7, 2022 at 8:15 am /
I’ve made this dish several times and my family loves it. I’ve always skipped the dulse or used whatever seaweed product I have around. It’s still great. You can also substitute some eggplant or zucchini if you’re low on mushrooms.
Cynthia / March 12, 2022 at 8:07 pm /
I decided to do this recipe today. I substituted Kombu for dulse flakes and baby Bellas for oyster mushrooms. I cooked it for 15 minutes longer to have a thicker consistency. It was absolutely superb with your Southern Collard Greens… like I died and went to vegan foodie heaven!
Lisa D / March 6, 2022 at 6:54 pm /
Excellent recipe yet again. I didn’t even have to tweak the seasonings. Thanks for sharing.
Cynthia / February 9, 2022 at 2:54 pm /
What’s the best substitute for dulse?
Anthony / January 15, 2022 at 8:14 pm /
Made this today using Impossible sausage I had in my freezer instead of mushrooms and it came out amazing! Thank you!
Jenne / January 24, 2022 at 7:45 pm /
Bet it did! Yum
Adrienne Butler / January 10, 2022 at 6:50 pm /
This is so very tasty and even more so the next day. 5+ stars!
Mary Jacowski / December 29, 2021 at 8:32 pm /
I made this today. I followed the recipe to a T. I think it’s really good!
Gwendolyn / December 23, 2021 at 2:26 pm /
Yum! Tried this last night and it was delicious. I am not a fan of tomatoes in some of my dishes, but it works in this one. I did make one change, I used whole wheat pastry flour which I think made the roux nice and silky smooth. Will be making this again and again.
Ketah Doty / December 19, 2021 at 5:54 pm /
I had some baby bellas that I needed to do something with and I opened my email and found this wonderful recipe. I made a few adjustments, because I lacked the needed ingredients. I used Furikake seasoning in place of the Dulse. I used a pre-made Cajun seasoning. I also took out about a cup of so and pureed it using my immersion blender and then added it back to get more of a gravy consistency. The flavors are deep and impressive. It taste amazing! I am adding this to my rotation. Thank you!