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This Paleo Gumbo recipe is ridiculously easy, filling, and healthy! Packed with a paleo roux plus chicken, sausage, shrimp, vegetables, herbs, and a kick of spice, you’ll be left wanting more. This dish is perfect for cooler temperatures to warm you up! This gluten-free gumbo is Whole30 friendly!

Three bowls of paleo gumbo on a table with parsley.

I’ve managed to visit New Orleans a few times and I always have a bowl of seafood gumbo when I’m there. It’s so filling, flavorful, delicious, and super comforting. It’s so homey!

The magical thing about Gumbo is that, because of its many origins, it can be made with all kinds of ingredients and flavors. Some use different veggies, some have shellfish, and some use different spices. My challenge was to create an as-close-to-authentic tasting gumbo as I could get. In the UK we lack certain creole foods – okra, and gumbo filé powder to name a couple.

⚜️ Gumbo’s Origins

Gumbo is a hearty soup or stew from southern Louisiana consisting of meat and/or shellfish, an exceptionally flavored, thickened stock, and three vegetables: celery, bell peppers, and onions which are known as the Holy Trinity. Other vegetables which often appear are okra and tomatoes. Gumbo is a combination of many cuisines and cultures common in Louisiana, including Choctaw, German, French, Spanish and African. It’s traditionally served over white rice, but for paleo, you can substitute cauliflower rice or just eat it as it is!

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy: This one-pot recipe is really easy to throw together, and really easy to clean later as well because it’s all made in one pot!
  • Tastes amazing: I managed to get all the cajun flavors in there without adding commercial cajun seasoning and it tastes like the real deal!
  • Meal planning: This is one of those recipes that tastes even better the next day! Make a double batch for easy lunches throughout the week, or freeze half for later.
  • Perfect for the family: This is a great recipe all of your family members will enjoy. I go easy on the chili powder for my son, but add it and some hot sauce to my own bowl. I also serve his with regular white rice but use cauliflower rice for myself.

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

The roux:

  • Tapioca starch: Also known as cassava flour, this is a great alternative to regular flour. The roux turns a lovely rich color much quicker and it gives the paleo gumbo a perfectly thick consistency.
  • Ghee: Traditional gumbo recipes use lard, oil, or bacon drippings. I chose to use ghee as I prefer the taste, however, light olive oil, avocado oil, or bacon drippings are great substitutes.

The rest:

  • Chicken: I diced up some chicken thighs. I love how juicy they are. Chicken breast is also a
  • Sausage: Real gumbo contains andouille sausage which tends to have wheat (breadcrumbs) in it here in the UK. Instead of adding that I made my own sausage mix. I usually make a large batch and turn the extra sausage meat into patties. You can use commercial paleo-friendly sausage if desired.
  • Shrimp: Deveined and peeled shrimp are ideal! I find mine in the frozen section of my grocery store, and they can be cooked either thawed or frozen.
  • Holy trinity: Green bell pepper, celery stalks, and onion are known as the “Holy Trinity” when it comes to Louisiana cooking. Use any color of onion (I chose red this time).
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds a ton of flavor. Not to be skipped!
  • Spices & seasoning: I skipped the pre-packaged cajun seasoning and added individual spices instead. Salt, black pepper, cumin, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, ginger, allspice, and chili powder. Together they create the perfect flavor for this sausage stew!
  • Chicken broth: You can use homemade or paleo-friendly store-bought chicken stock or bone broth.

🥣 How to make Paleo Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo

Make the paleo roux:

  1. Add the ghee to a large pot or large dutch oven and allow it to melt over medium heat.
  2. Add the tapioca to the melted ghee or oil and mix well.
  3. Simmer on medium-low heat until it begins to turn a golden color, about 10 minutes.

On the stovetop:

  1. Meanwhile, chop & prepare your veggies.
  2. If you want to make your own sausage with the recipe on the recipe card, mix those ingredients together and form it into meatballs. If you’re using store-bought paleo sausage, slice it into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Dice the chicken thighs. 
  4. Add the spices to the roux for a couple of minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  5. Add the onion, celery, green peppers, and garlic for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften.
  6. Pour in the chicken broth and stir well.
  7. Add the chicken and sausage, and cook on medium-high heat until it is simmering.
  8. Reduce the meat to medium-low to continue simmering for 40 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Make sure you scrape the bottom when you stir. The tapioca sometimes sticks.
  9. Add the shrimp and allow it to cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent.
  10. Serve as it is or over cauliflower rice.

In a slow cooker:

  1. Make the roux, and add the spices to the roux for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add everything except the shrimp to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.
  3. Add the shrimp and allow it to cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent.

🫙 Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in a pot on the stove or the microwave until piping hot.
  • Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Try adding different meats: I used sausage, shrimp, and chicken, but you could add ham and other shellfish. 
  • Make it vegan: Skip the meat and add more veggies. Gumbo Z’herbes is a gumbo made with slow-cooked greens.
  • Skip the instant pot: I tried making this in the instant pot initially and it gave me a burn warning because the tapioca got stuck to the bottom.
  • Add extra heat: I like to add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to my bowl after it is served.

😋 More Paleo Recipes you will love:

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📖 Recipe

A bowl of paleo gumbo on a table with parsley.

Easy Paleo Gumbo Recipe

Bethany Galloway
This Paleo Gumbo recipe is ridiculously easy, filling, and healthy! Packed with a paleo roux plus chicken, sausage, shrimp, vegetables, herbs, and a kick of spice, you’ll be left wanting more. This dish is perfect for cooler temperatures to warm you up! This gluten-free gumbo is Whole30-friendly!
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Paleo
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 8 servings
Calories 505 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup of bacon drippings ghee or neutral tasting oil
  • 650 g chicken thighs diced
  • 300 g paleo compliant sausage sliced or rolled into meatballs (see below for homemade ingredients and instructions)
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp paprika sweet or hot
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 200 g raw shrimp or jumbo prawns peeled and deveined

Paleo Sausage (optional)

  • 300 g ground pork or beef or a mix of both
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions
 

Make the paleo roux:

  • Add the bacon drippings, ghee, or oil to a large pot or large dutch oven and allow it to melt over medium heat.
  • Add the tapioca flour and mix well.
  • Simmer on medium-low heat until it begins to turn a golden color, about 10 minutes.

On the stovetop:

  • Meanwhile, chop & prepare your veggies.
  • If you want to make your own sausage with the recipe on the recipe card, mix those ingredients together and form it into meatballs. If you're using store-bought paleo sausage, slice it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Dice the chicken thighs. 
  • Add the spices to the roux for a couple of minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  • Add the onion, celery, green peppers, and garlic for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and stir well.
  • Add the chicken and sausage, and cook on medium-high heat until it is simmering.
  • Reduce the meat to medium-low to continue simmering for 40 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Make sure you scrape the bottom when you stir. The tapioca sometimes sticks.
  • Add the shrimp and allow it to cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent.
  • Serve as it is or over cauliflower rice.

In a slow cooker:

  • Make the roux as above, and add the spices to the roux for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add everything except the shrimp to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.
  • Add the shrimp and allow it to cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent.

Notes

  • Try adding different meats: I used sausage, shrimp, and chicken, but you could add ham and other shellfish. 
  • Make it vegan: Skip the meat and add more veggies. Gumbo Z’herbes is a gumbo made with slow-cooked greens.
  • Skip the instant pot: I tried making this in the instant pot initially and it gave me a burn warning because the tapioca got stuck to the bottom.
  • Add extra heat: I like to add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to my bowl after it is served.
  • Make keto gumbo: You can easily adapt this to the keto diet by making the roux with 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum instead of tapioca flour. The rest of the ingredients are all keto-friendly anyway!

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 22.4gProtein: 43.4gFat: 26.1gSaturated Fat: 13.1gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 1177mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 2.9g
Keyword cajun, creole, dairy free, gluten free, gumbo, low carb, paleo, whole30
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 Comments

  1. This paleo gumbo recipe is delicious! It’s great to be able to make a roux out of paleo ingredients instead of regular flour (which I can’t have). Thank you so much, this will become a regular for us!

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks for the comment! SO glad you enjoyed it. I can’t have regular flour either – was so glad to be able to make some kind of a roux with gluten-free ingredients =]

      Cheers,
      Bethany

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