Many dishes that are “ok” can be elevated to “AMAZING” with good gravies. Meat eaters often think that going vegan means giving up gravies – nothing could be further from the truth. But instead of using meat drippings for gravies we use flavorful foods and bases such as veggie broth.
At VegansEatWhat? we know that when it comes to holiday meals the gravy can make or break the meal. So we have tested and tried many and offer our favorites to you. We think you will love them just as we do.
Southern Comfort Gravy
Adapted from the wonderful cookbook, Friendly Foods by Ron Pickarski
(Ten Speed Press, 1991)
- 1 medium onion, diced small*
- 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced*
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ C whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 2 Tablespoons powdered veggie soup base**
- 2 Cups water
- 1/8 C low-sodium soy sauce
- Optional: ½ lb mushrooms, sliced***
Sauté the onions and garlic (and mushrooms, if using) in the oil for 4 to 5 minutes on medium high heat. Stir in the flour, nutritional yeast, powdered soup base and mix well. Add ¼ cup of water and blend into a smooth paste. Continue to add water, a little at a time, and blend well, keeping the mixture smooth and breaking up any clumps that may appear. Add soy sauce after all the water has been added and the gravy is the consistency you desire. You may add more water for thinner gravy.
* For completely smooth gravy, substitute 2 Tablespoons of Onion Powder and 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder for the diced onion and minced garlic.
** We use Not Beef/Not Chicken powdered soup base from Dixie Diner Club as it has very little salt added. Try to find a powdered soup base with little or no salt or the gravy may be overly salty. If the soup base you use has salt, taste it before adding any soy sauce.
*** We love crimini mushrooms, but plain button mushrooms will work. Portabella (chopped) or shitakes would be great as well. Sauté the mushrooms in the pan in the first step, if you use them.
Navy Bean Gravy
From the popular cookbook, Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
(Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2009)
Makes about 2 cups.
1 T olive oil (or water)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T fresh thyme, chopped
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1 ½ c. vegetable broth
1/3 c. flour
1 15-oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
3 T soy sauce
¼ to ½ c. water
Salt to taste (if needed)
Preheat saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and black pepper (I like a lot of black pepper in this) and cook for 3 minutes more. While that is cooking, stir the flour into the broth until dissolved.
If you have an immersion blender, then add the beans, broth mixture and soy sauce to the saucepan. Blend immediately and lower the heat to medium. Stir the gravy for 10 minutes while it thickens.
If you are using a regular blender, add the beans, broth mixture and soy sauce to the blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the onion and the other stuff from the pan to the blender. Puree again until no big chunks of onion are left. Add back to the pot and stir often over medium heat to thicken.
Once the gravy thickens, reduce the heat to low. Now you can decide exactly how thick you want by adding splashes of water, anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup. Cook for about 20 minutes to let the flavors deepen, stirring occasionally. Add water as necessary and taste for salt. Keep gravy covered and warm until ready to serve.
– We prefer to use less black pepper than called for in the recipe.
– We double this recipe, particularly if serving with Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs (p. 129 in the same cookbook).
Serve over whole grain toast for breakfast (a la “biscuits and gravy”). Serve over baked potatoes (white, yams, etc.). Serve over grains (brown basmati rice, quinoa, or other whole unprocessed grains) for a protein powerhouse.
We love this nut gravy! You don’t need to use whole cashews – halves and pieces are much cheaper and work fine. Just make sure that the cashews are raw and unsalted. If you use a Vitamix or other heavy duty blender you don’t need to soak the cashews before using them (although we generally still do). If you don’t have a heavy duty blender, soak the cashews in enough water to cover (by on inch or two) for several hours or overnight, then rinse and drain prior to using.
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
4 cups warm water
¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp. onion powder (optional)
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for several minutes or until the mixture is very creamy. Pour into a pan and cook, stirring frequently on medium high heat until the gravy is bubbling. Simmer a minute or two longer to desired consistency.
Serve over brown rice or any cooked whole grain or simple toast points with steamed broccoli or other green vegetable. This gravy is also delicious over scrambled tofu, a plain baked potato and just about anything!