I try to go vegetarian at least once a week both for my wallet and my waistline. However, with these cold temperatures it’s hard to resist the urge to dive head first into a bowl of turkey chili or chicken soup. That’s why for this week’s Recipe Makeover I decided to take one of my favorite meat-based recipes and make it fit for a vegetarian!


Using this Chicken-and-Sausage Gumbo recipe, I made some super simple tweaks to not only make it meatless, but also up the fiber content so it will be sure to leave you just as satisfied as the original. Trust me on this one, you won’t miss the meat one bit!

Follow the substitutions below to spoon your way to a hearty, vegetarian gumbo!

  • 1 (3.5-oz.) bag boil-in-bag rice (Here I used 3.5 ounces of brown rice to increase the fiber in the recipe)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil (In place of the vegetable oil I used 1 tbsp. canola oil for even greater heart-health benefits)
  • 2 cups chopped roasted boneless, skinless chicken breasts; about 2 breasts (To make this meat-heavy dish vegetarian, I replaced the 2 cups of roasted chicken breast with a soy protein-based chicken such as Light Life Smart Cutlets)
  • 8 oz. turkey kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces (For this I used 8 oz. of meatless sausage (such as Trader Joe's sausageless sausage)
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (In place of the fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth I simply used a fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth)

With the very first spoonful I brought to my lips, I knew that this was going to be just as good as the classic. The soy protein-based, vegetarian substitutions did a great job of keeping the soup nice and hearty while also making it healthy and meatless! Even the carnivores in your life will have a hard time turning down a piping hot bowl of this stuff!