In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add ½ cup (75g) diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until semi-translucent.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon liquid smoke, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the spices are fragrant.
Add the cannellini beans to a medium bowl and mash until mostly smooth (a few lumps are okay). Then, add the mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, vital wheat gluten, and 2 tablespoons vegetable broth and mix well until combined. Use your hands to knead the mixture until cohesive, then begin to roll about a tablespoon at a time of the mixture into “meatballs”.
In the same large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the meatballs and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove the meatballs from the pot and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot, along with the flour. Stir the roux continuously with a wooden spoon for about 3-4 minutes, until the consistency resembles wet sand.
Add the remaining ½ cup (75g) diced onion, the celery, and the okra to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is semi-translucent.
Add the remaining 4 cloves of minced garlic and the green bell pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the remaining teaspoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon liquid smoke, 1 teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook for 4 more minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stir until combined. Then, add the red beans and add the remaining 3½ cups (840ml) vegetable broth and stir until well combined. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the gumbo has thickened.
Season with salt to taste. Then, add the meatballs and stir to incorporate.
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