low calorie, heart healthy Comfort Food

May 02, 2016 @ Project Juice

Try this fun flavored, healthier twist on a Southern-based soul food gumbo – perfect for when you’re in need of some comfort food!  BONUS: This no fuss, calorie-friendly dish is completely vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and thoroughly delicious.

Yes, summer is approaching, clean eats and bikini bodies are on the mind. But sometimes we just crave a heartier meal! Rather than chowing down on the nearest high calorie foods within reach, we love this healthier indulgence that “feeds the need” while offering a balanced meal! 

As we might find with many other comfort foods, gumbos are traditionally packed with butter and white flour – but we’re subbing that out for coconut oil and gluten-free brown rice flour in this heart-healthier rendition! And in lieu of sausage and seafood, in observance of #MeatlessMonday, we love to include in chickpeas and (optional) dulse flakes instead. Not only does this superfood dulse seaweed add a ton of flavor, it also packs a punch of minerals like iron and potassium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin B-12 – all essentials of a balanced diet.

Chickpea & Greens Vegan Comfort Food Gumbo recipe

Total time: 35 minutes (Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes)

Serves 4-6


  • 3 tbs. coconut oil
  • ¼ c. brown rice flour (or other gluten-free flour)
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs. cajun seasoning (recipe below)
  • 4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 bunch chopped kale, about 2 cups
  • 1 bunch chopped collard greens, about 2 cups
  • ¼ c. chopped parsley
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbs. dulse flakes, optional
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving
  • Green onions, for garnish


In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. 

Add the brown rice flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until thoroughly combined and caramel in color.

Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until tender and fragrant. 

Add the bay leaves and cajun seasoning and stir for another 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil. 

Add the kale, collard greens, parsley, chickpeas, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Finally, add in the lime juice and dulse flakes and simmer for another minute.

Serve over brown rice, topped with green onions for garnish. Enjoy!

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Now, the cajun seasoning in this is what really adds that element of heat & spice, serving up some true Southern flavors!

We suggest you make a jar of this as you’ll want to sprinkle it on everything from grains to sweet potatoes to avocado toast – we’re not lying, its that good.

Cajun Seasoning

Makes about ¼ cup! 


  • 2 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. oregano
  • 1 tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. salt


Combine all spices in a jar and shake to combine. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed jar in the pantry.

Author: Project Juice

Co-Founder of Project Juice, Marra also holds a certification from Long Beach Dance Conditioning as a Pilates instructor, and is also a certified personal trainer from the Academy of Sports Medicine, a certified Gyrotonic instructor, a certified nutritional consultant and a Level 2 Reiki Practitioner. When she is not coaching people through Project Juice, she is a highly recommended personal trainer and Pilates instructor.