Sweet Potato Gumbo

The last few weeks have been insane with snow. In response, the MBTA has cancelled or severely limited service for days at a time. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time waiting for the T out in the cold.

When I finally get home, all I want to do is curl up under a blanket, drink hot tea, and eat comfort food. The dish I made last night, Sweet Potato Gumbo, was perfect for cold, snowy winter nights. It was very hearty and satisfying thanks to the addition of sweet potatoes and rice to the stew, and very healthy thanks to all the veggies and beans. So much flavor and texture.


This recipe takes a bit of time to make but yields about 5 or 6 servings. Feel free to double it so you’ll have leftovers for the whole week!

Start by cooking your rice. Place 1 cup of rice and 2-3 cups of water in a pot (based on package directions). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 40 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and chop up 3 cups of sweet potatoes and coat with 1 Tbsp of olive oil.


Spread sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.


While the rice and sweet potatoes are cooking, chop up all the veggies: onions, garlic, scallions, celery, and green pepper.



Drain and rinse kidney beans. Measure out kidney beans, vegetable stock, and diced tomatoes. Get out spices.

Heat some oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.


Reduce heat to medium. Add kidney beans, thyme, paprika, sea salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir to coat with spices.


Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, and vegetable stock. Stir to combine.


Add bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.


Dissolve arrowroot powder (or corn starch) in water. Add sweet potatoes and arrowroot mixture to the soup. Cook for 2 more minutes.


Remove bay leaves. Add rice and scallions to gumbo and stir to combine.


Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Here is the recipe, modified from Connoisserus Veg:


  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice or brown rice
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ cup chopped scallions


  1. Place rice and water in pot or rice cooker. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed (about 40 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Fluff with wooden spoon when cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Peel and chop up sweet potatoes. Coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until caramelized and soft (time will vary depending on size of cubes). Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. While the rice and sweet potatoes are cooking, chop up veggies and prep remaining ingredients.
  4. In large pot over medium-high heat, brown onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper in remaining tablespoon olive oil until soft (3 minutes).
  5. Reduce heat to medium, add kidney beans, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne and stir.
  6. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and vegetable stock and stir to combine all ingredients.
  7. Submerge bay leaves and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add roasted sweet potatoes to soup and stir in dissolved arrowroot. Simmer 2 minutes longer, then remove from heat. Discard bay leaves.
  9. Add rice and scallions to soup and stir to combine.

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