Clean Eats Recipe: Maw Maw's Gumbo

Today, we are witnessing the greatest revolution in nutritional science. It’s the idea that food is not just calories, food is information. The food we eat is literally telling our bodies which gene switches to turn on or off. As a cardiologist, I take this insight seriously. I often see patients at my home, so after their consultation I always take them to my kitchen. I show them inside my fridge and teach them the important role food plays in their health. If we have time, we even make a few simple recipes together. Right before they leave, I tell them something very important. I tell them that the path to vibrant health starts in the kitchen

I see the kitchen as the main pharmacy in my medical practice and the most important tool in my medical toolbox. When we fuel our bodies with the kinds of foods and recipes we’ve created in Clean Eats, we begin to give our body what it needs to repair and thrive.

Maw Maw's Gumbo

Makes: 1⁄2 gallon

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour

This traditional soup from New Orleans is perfect anytime of the year but best when fresh tomatoes are in season. Although our version ideally contains chicken, you can adjust the ingredients for any dietary need and make it vegetarian with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, or eggplant. Fish works just as well in this zesty soup: use whitefish or salmon.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds fresh okra, sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes (or 2 48-ounce cans), roughly chopped 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons gumbo filé (easily found in spice aisles of any market)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound pasture-raised chicken, sweet potatoes, or whitefish (your choice), cubed 4 cups cooked brown rice

Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic for about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the okra followed by the tomatoes, oregano, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and gumbo filé. Allow the liquid to start get- ting bubbly, then add the water. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer it for 15 minutes, remembering to stir it occasionally. At this point add the chicken, sweet potatoes, or fish. Continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes before adjusting the seasoning.

Serve over steamed brown rice.

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Alejandro Junger, M.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of Clean and Clean Gut. He completed his training in internal medicine at New York University Downtown Hospital and his fellowship in cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital. After his medical training, he studied eastern medicine in India. Dr. Junger is also the founder of Clean, a wellness company that helps people live healthier lives by guiding them through targeted programs. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children. Visit him online at

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