2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh eggplant, do not peel, small dice
3 cups sweet onion, small dice
1 cup celery, small dice
3 cups fresh white button mushrooms, sliced or wedge cut
2 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chop
10 oz frozen cut okra, thawed under hot water
1 cup green pepper, small dice
2 cups zucchini, small dice
1/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp filé powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaf
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup toasted 100% whole wheat flour
1/4 cup water

Coat the bottom of a baking sheet with 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Evenly spread out the diced eggplant on the pan and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove and reserve. In a cook pot, add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and diced onion, and sauté on low heat until golden. Add celery and mushrooms, and sauté on medium-low heat until mushrooms become tender, about 5 minutes. Push vegetables to the side; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil with the 2 tablespoons of garlic in an open area, spread and sauté until garlic just begins to turn a light golden color. Immediately add okra, green peppers, zucchini, eggplant, salt and pepper. Stir well and sauté 3 minutes. Add crushed tomato, vegetable stock, Worcestershire, filé, thyme, hot pepper sauce and bring to a simmer. Combine flour and water, stir with spatula to make smooth, lump-free slurry. Add slurry to gumbo bring to simmer for 5 minutes – serve with cooked brown rice or whole grains.

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