A smart way to turn inexpensive greens into an earthy, tasty addition to your soup repertoire!

Being from Louisiana I have tried many different types of gumbos. Everyone and their mamma has their own way of making this creole/cajun classic including my Mom, Uncles, Grandma, cousins, friends, neighbors..... you get the picture. There is more than one way to skin a cat and there is more than one way to make gumbo! Gumbo season usually starts for us after Thanksgiving and lasts all the way through Easter. I began this gluten/grain free gumbo journey a couple months ago and as I was thumbing through a John Besh cookbook I stumbled upon a recipe for Gumbo Z'herbz. If you are unfamiliar with John Besh he is the epitome of New Orleans cooking, especially the classics. As I researched more I found that recipes for Gumbo Z'Herbz vary but there is always a variety of smothered bitter greens (odd number of greens for good luck) along with a roux base adding that unmistakable gumbo depth of flavor.

This take on Gumbo Z'Herbz is gluten & grain free, earthy from the greens, and still packs a punch of slap your mamma goodness without the nightshades.

 I decided to opt out of making a roux for this gumbo...GASP (my cajun ancestors may be rolling over in their graves)....and use okra to thicken and add a different depth of flavor.  Being from Louisiana I had never heard nor tasted such gumbo. Gumbo Z'herbz is a Creole tradition that is eaten during the Lent season on Fridays when us Catholics give meat a break. John Besh's version and my version use animal products but it can be easily adapated to fit ones needs and I loved this idea so much that it is definitely being added to my soup rotation during the rest of the winter! 

Gumbo Z'herbz with Celery Root "Rice" (CEP, AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)

Prep Time  -  Cook Time  -  Total Time

 15 min        2 hrs 15 min    2 1/2 hrs         

Serves 8

Adapted from John Besh's Gumbo Z'Herbz recipe from his book "Besh Big Easy" 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes"


For the Gumbo: 

1 package U.S. Wellness Meats bacon ends or 6 slices uncured bacon 

2 leeks chopped 

2 celery stalks chopped 

4 Cups bone broth 

6 Cups filtered water 

3 lbs dark leafy greens (I used 1 lb Kale, 1 lb Swiss Chard, and 1 lb Collard greens)

1 lb okra (I used frozen since okra is not in season right now) 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp. salt  

1 tsp. dried thyme 

1 tsp. dried parsely 

1 tsp. garlic powder 

1 tsp. onion powder

1 bay leaf 

pinch of ground cloves 

pinch of ground mace 

For the Celery Root Rice: 

4 Cups riced celery root (2-3 large celery roots)

3 Tbsp. avocado oil or animal fat of choice (I love lard or bacon fat) 

1 tsp. sea salt 

2 tsp. garlic powder 

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. dried parsely 


1. Over Medium high heat start cooking down your bacon ends in a large stock pot. (If using U.S wellness meats bacon ends this should take about 15 minutes until they are nice and crispy). Once bacon is cooked remove from the pan leaving the bacon fat. 

2. Turn the heat to medium and cook the leeks, celery, and garlic until soft about 3-5 minutes-careful not to burn. 

3. Add the greens and all of your liquid. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

4. Lower the heat to a simmer and add in the okra, bay leaf, thyme, parsely, cloves, mace , garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. 

5. Cover the pot and cook slowly for 2 hours. 

6. While the gumbo is simmering, wash, peel, and cut your celery root into chunks 

7. Place your celery root chunks in batches in a high powered blender and pulse until it is a rice like consistency.

8. Heat your fat on medium high heat and add your celery root rice. Add your seasonings, lower the heat to medium and cook until soft, not mushy (about 10 minutes)

9. Set aside for later to serve with your gumbo.

10. Once your gumbo has simmered for 2 hours, remove the pot from the heat and adjust seasonings

11. Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup using a hand held immersion blender or high powered blender. 

12. Serve Gumbo with Celery root rice and chunks of bacon ends. 

Kellie is a wife, mamma, health coach, and recipe developer for MyCrazyJourney. Celiac disease, digestive issues and a plethora of food intolerances led her to AIP in 2014 and the CEP in 2017. She and her family have since adopted a modified version of these templates. Her goal is to inspire others to take their health into their own hands by cooking foods that are creative, fun, and contributive to health and wellness. Kellie's background is in art and education, but she has always had a passion for food and it's powerful healing properties. Many of her creations are inspired by her experiences and designed to be enjoyed by the entire family! You can find Kellie here at MyCrazyJourney writing guest posts and on Instagram.