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Green Gator Gumbo

Gumbo is known for its classic comfort and rich flavors.

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When I think of southern food, particularly bayou-themed, gumbo is the first to come to mind. This classic southern dish is time-honored and defines regional cuisine. Just as paella defines Spanish food, gumbo defines southern comfort food. My Green Gator Gumbo has actual alligator meat in it, and no, you don’t need to be Crocodile Dundee to get some gator meat as it’s typically available at your butcher shop.

Alligator meat is traditional to Louisiana Creole cooking, particularly in gumbo. Alligator meat has a kind of flavor that might remind you of chicken, and if gator meat is just too hard to find or too hard to fathom, chicken is a great alternative. Other than the alligator meat, this gumbo recipe should feel very familiar. Okra, andouille sausage, and a southern spice blend pay homage to a classic gumbo.

What makes this Green Gator Gumbo green? Green bell peppers, jalapeño, okra, celery, parsley, and Swiss chard…the alligator, too, counts as “green.” Let’s talk about that last “green” – the alligator. It is the star of the show and needs to get ready for its debut. I season the meat with cajun spice and give it a quick sear. The meat is transferred to a side dish and diced into chunks. It waits in the wings until its ready to be “on stage.”

A roux is the foundation of flavor in a good gumbo. A roux is a mixture of oil and flour. The roux takes time, so low and slow and a lot of stirring are involved to achieve a roux with a rich caramel brown color. This roux is the magic that makes the gumbo so good.

Making a gumbo is kind of like a three-act play. Act One is the making of the roux and all of it’s richness. Act Two is the alligator, well seasoned and beautifully seared to ensure tenderness and good flavor. Act Three is the building of the gumbo. In this final act, the rest of the green elements along with the broth and more seasonings go into a big pot where the gumbo begins to complete its epic story. The end is an artful food-drama, one that is rich in flavor, texture, and comforting goodness.

This Green Gator Gumbo met to rave reviews at our backyard southern feast and its sure to enjoy a good run over the summer months, or any time you want to share and enjoy some really good food with family and friends.

Green Gator Gumbo is best enjoyed with Creole Coleslaw, Fried Oyster Po’Boy, Cajun Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Dipping Sauce, and Strawberry Rhubarb Beignets.

Yield(s): Serves 6-8

15m prep time

1h cook time

Rated 4.5 out of 5
Rated by 2 reviewers
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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 lb. alligator steak
  • 2 large yellow onions, medium dice
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 lbs Swiss chard, stem removed & leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Crystal Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 cups okra, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, over low heat, stir together the vegetable oil and flour until a smooth mixture has formed.
  2. Cook roux for 18 - 20 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning. We’re going for a deep golden roux for the most flavor in our gumbo.
  3. Preheat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, and season alligator pieces with 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning.
  4. Sear alligator meat for 2 minutes on one side, and 1 1/2 minutes on the other side. Remove alligator and chop into 2-inch pieces.
  5. Turn the heat to high on the heavy-bottomed pot and add Andouille sausage, chopped onions, celery, green pepper, and jalapeño to the roux and stir to combine. Cook for 8 - 12 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  6. Add chopped garlic and continue cooking for an additional minute before adding chicken stock and cooked alligator to the gumbo. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce immediately to a simmer.
  7. Season gumbo with smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and fresh thyme.
  8. Add okra and Swiss chard to the gumbo, and let cook for an additional 25 - 30 minutes.
  9. Finish gumbo with fresh parsley, apple cider vinegar, and Crystal Louisiana hot sauce (optional). Taste for seasoning. Enjoy!