This Chicken Gumbo Soup Recipe (with okra) is an easy, healthy, lighter and WW friendly version of Chicken Gumbo. It's a flavorful and hearty soup that's made with chicken breast and turkey pepperoni, with okra serving as the natural thickener.
This healthy gumbo recipe is especially popular in the fall and winter and pairs well with this Everything Bagel Cloud Bread Recipe.
Gumbo actually originated in West Africa, although most people associate it with New Orleans and Louisiana, where it was popularized. There are 2 types of gumbo: Creole and Cajun.
Creole gumbos often includes tomatoes, shellfish, dark roux, and often okra and filé powder, whereas Cajun gumbo usually contains chicken and no tomatoes. Both Creole and Cajun gumbos can include meats such as ham or sausage. My version of gumbo soup is a hybrid since it has tomatoes, chicken, okra, sausage (pepperoni), and no roux. It's not only healthy, but it's also quick and easy, whereas gumbos traditionally cook all day long.
Many gumbo recipes use a roux (a mixture of flour and fat) or gumbo filé, which is a spicy herb mix made from the dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree, to thicken it. I use okra because it's a natural thickener and lends a depth of flavor unlike anything else. I don't use a roux because it's unnecessary calories.
Celery, onions, and bell peppers are what is known as the "holy trinity" in gumbo.
For this gumbo recipe, you'll need:
- 2 lb chicken breast 4 breasts
- ⅓ lb turkey pepperoni about 5 sticks
- 1 whole green bell pepper chopped
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1.5 cups okra About ½ lb fresh okra
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken broth *I use chicken bouillon mixed with water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cajun seasoning
- ¼ tsp celery seed
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup instant rice (I use white rice)
*see recipe card for additional details
Prep: Spray a dutch oven or skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Alternatively, you could use a little olive oil.
Chop chicken and place in Dutch oven or pot
Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through- about 5 minutes
Add all remaining ingredients to pot with chicken (except rice)
Stir ingredients together.
Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15- 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft/tender, but not completely cooked through.
Add rice and bring to a boil once again.
Immediately turn down to simmer (medium - low), cover with lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until rice is cooked.
*Remove bay leaves before serving.
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Vegetarian - leave out the meat and use vegetable broth
- Spicy - add sriracha sauce or the hot sauce of your choice!
- Deluxe - add shrimp
- Celery seed - you can use actual celery instead but I don't recommend you use celery salt, as it will make it too salty
- Turkey pepperoni - you could use regular pepperoni, turkey sausage, regular sausage, or andouille sausage instead
- Chicken - you could use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded chicken, or chicken thighs
- Rice - you could use brown rice instead. You could also use regular short grain rice or long grain rice (not instant) but you'll need to put it in at the beginning (when you put in all the vegetables)
- Chicken broth - you can use store-bought or homemade chicken broth
- Onions - you could use white onion instead of green onion
🥗 Side Dishes
This gumbo soup goes well with salad or bread. Try it with the following:
I make this healthy chicken gumbo recipe in a large Dutch oven (I use a 6 quart) because you can brown the meat in the same pot as you cook the soup in (that's the beauty of a Dutch oven). Then it's a one-pot meal! However, you could use a skillet to brown the meat and a soup pot. Or cook in a slow cooker (affiliate links) on low for 2 hours.
I also LOVE my silicone trivets (affiliate link)! They are easy to clean (dishwasher safe) and rated to 600 degrees F (315 degrees C).
Store this gumbo soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. However, the longer it sits, the thicker it will get. You may want to add additional stock before serving, if it's been sitting for a couple of days.
You can freeze this soup for up to 3 months in airtight containers.
👪 Serving Size
This recipe makes 8 servings. However, you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust.
This easy recipe is very Weight Watchers friendly @ 2 WW points per serving! The turkey pepperoni and the rice are the only ingredients that have a point value. All the other ingredients are 0 points, if you use fat-free chicken broth.
Freezing leftover okra
You may have okra left over, so you'll want to preserve it. I recommend slicing it before you freeze. I have tried freezing it whole, but found that it gets too gooey to cut once it defrosts.
First, wash it and cut off the ends, then cut it into circles.
Next, spread it out in one layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Freeze for 4 hours.
Then transfer to a labeled/dated freezer bag and return to the freezer for up to 3 months
- Cook chicken breast to an internal minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Never leave cooking food unattended
If you are looking for an easy and healthy Chicken Gumbo soup recipe, you'll love this one!
📋 Chicken Gumbo Soup Recipe
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast 4 -5 breasts
- ¼ lb turkey pepperoni, chopped into circles about 4-5 sticks
- 1 whole green pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1.5 cups okra *about ½ lb fresh okra
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ cup instant rice
- Spray a dutch oven or skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Chop chicken and place in Dutch oven or pot
- cook over medium-high heat until cooked through- about 5 minutes
- Add all remaining ingredients to pot with chicken (except rice)
- Stir ingredients together
- Bring to a boil over hight heat, then immediately turn down to simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15- 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft/tender, but not completely cooked through.
- Add rice and bring to a boil once again.
- Immediately turn down to simmer (medium - low), cover with lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove each bay leaf before serving.