New Orleans-style recipes with a healthy twist!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

Who needs Fat Tuesday? Be a saint and enjoy some spicy, lean Mardi Gras cuisine. My guilt-free gumbo is sinfully delicious and only half the calories and fat of traditional New Orleans gumbo. Instead of butter, I make the base with heart-healthy canola oil. Smoked turkey sausage, shrimp, and lots of okra and bell pepper jazz up the flavor and give the gumbo an authentic Cajun flair. Ladle it over a bowl of brown rice and let the festivities begin! For more of my favorite Marid Gras recipes, be sure to try my New Orleans Shrimp Creole, Cajun Meatloaf, and Jambalaya. They’re also on my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals which you can download at iTunes or Goggle Play.

Guilt-Free Gumbo

Serves 8


Prep Time =15 minutes

Cook Time =1 hour and 15 minutes


5 tablespoons canola oil, divided use

½ cup all-purpose flour

5 cups fat-free, low-sodium beef broth, divided use

2 cups finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium celery stalks, diced

1 (14 ½ ounce) can unsalted, diced tomatoes

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen cut okra (no need to thaw)

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

8 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cooked brown rice for serving


  1. Heat large skillet over low heat; add ¼ cup canola oil. Cook 2 minutes, swirling to coat pan. Gradually add flour to hot oil, stirring constantly with whisk until smooth. Continue to cook stirring frequently for about 8 minutes or until flour mixture reaches a chestnut-color. Slowly add 3 cups of beef broth, stirring until smooth. Off heat; set stock aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch over medium heat. Add onion, Creole seasoning, garlic, celery, and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add stock mixture to vegetables along with remaining broth, canned tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to boil; reduce heat, simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add okra, hot sauce, turkey sausage, and shrimp; simmer 15 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked brown rice.

Nutritional Information per Serving (1 cup gumbo without rice): 255 calories, 18 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 1.5 grams fiber, 1,308 milligrams sodium

Note: Recipe developed for FitStudio.

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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