Thanksgiving is coming!! I can’t wait! I love a holiday dedicated to food, especially comfort food. A necessary addition to any Thanksgiving table is gravy. Creamy, umami filled, and delightfully full of vegetables it is the perfect addition to your table, Thanksgiving or otherwise.
Some people think that gravy can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. It can me a simple process, and one that is easily adapted to various dietary needs such as vegan or gluten free. It is also something that is so very quick to make and delivers flavor as if you have been slaving for hours. When we have just odds and ends in the house I’ll make gravy to top biscuits for breakfast, or to finish potatoes or other fall vegetables for a quick and hearty dinner.
Easy Vegan Gravy
4 TBL olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour, or garbanzo bean flour if gluten free
1 1/2 cup water or veggie broth
3/4 cup non-dairy milk or more vegetable broth
a few teaspoons of dried herbs and spices: thyme, sage and black pepper rule my standard gravy
2 TBL nutritional yeast for an earthy flavor (optional)
1-2 tsp of lemon juice or Dijon mustard for a little acidity and balance
0-4 cups cooked vegetables (otional) My favorite combination is onions, mushrooms, and kale
0-2 cups lentils, garbanzo beans, or fake meat (optional)
Heat oil in a large skillet.
Whisk in flour and cook while stirring until it starts to brown and become fragrent.
Quickly whisk in the vegetable broth and milk and cook about 5 minutes to thicken. If too thick add more milk or water.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and cook 3-4 more minutes to heat everything through.
Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
What is important for successful gravy?
I I like to think of gravy as a beautiful vegetable filled umami bomb. It is a versatile vehicle for bringing vegetables and protein, a way to round out a meal, and the perfect sauce. It is an easy process to make gravy and you can easily change things up to fit your mood and your pantry.
How Does It All Work?
Balancing ingredients for the proper texture.
The ratio of flour to liquid above has worked well for me, however, feel free to adjust it to your preference. The ratio will also be slightly different if you are using different flour such as garbanzo bean flour. Start with the ratio I have listed, then add more flour to make it thicker, or more liquid to thin it out. Make sure to cook the gravy before attempting to make it thicker as cooking with thicken the texture.
To incorporate the flour you can either mix it with cold liquid until smooth, then whisk into the hot pan, or you can sprinkle the flour into hot fat, suck as oil (equal parts flour and fat) and cook while whisking until it starts to brown and begins to smell fragrant. Then add liquid.
Vegetables are optional, so are beans. The will affect the overall texture so think about how you want them cooked before adding them.
Optional additions for flavor
I pretty much always use a mixture of non-dairy milk and vegetable broth (or water and vegetable broth powder), however, I have used just water when I’m out of milk. The balance of these will affect the flavor. Just water makes it a little less cream and less rich. More milk can make it taste more like the milk you are using, just be sure to have a type of milk you want to eat in gravy. If you use sweetened vanilla almond milk it will taste like a nasty vanilla flavored gravy,
Herbs are your friend. If you are using dried herbs, add them in the beginning. If you are using fresh, add them at the end. I love thyme, sage, and black pepper for a fall gravy. I might leave out the sage and add smoked paprika and vegan sausage for a breakfast gravy, or just salt and pepper with lots of vegetable broth for a lighter version.
Nutritional yeast, lemon, and Dijon mustard are some of my favorite other additions to boost flavor.
The vegetables you choose to add in will also affect the flavor. I nearly always use onions, often mushrooms and kale. Celery, onions, and carrots would lean toward a more traditional chickeny flavor.
Don’t forget the salt!
More flavor, more texture, and all the fun
Your gravy can be as simple as the vegetable broth that has been thickened and a few herbs and spices, but feel free to add anything else you like.
Protein- I love adding cooked brown lentils to my gravy. The texture is fun and it adds a big punch of nutrients. Other options are garbanzo beans which I like to mash a bit and/or pre-made veggies sausage or other fake meat products.
Vegetables- as in this recipe I usually use onions, mushrooms, and kale. The combination is delicious. Other options are anything in your fridge. I do a breakfast gravy with carrots, celery, red peppers and lentils. My daughter loves the addition of peas. Try things out as you have them available.
Falafels are one of my favorite foods, when done correctly. They can easily be dry or tasteless, but when perfectly crunchy on the outside, light on the inside, and bursting with flavor they are delicious! The trick to perfect falafel is to used soaked, but not cooked, chickpeas. The texture is far superior to those falafels using cooked chickpeas. I also love the addition of lots of fresh herbs in this recipe. These flalafel are also surprisingly easy and quick as long as you remember to soak the chickpeas the night before and you use a food processor to bring everything together.
I suggest making a double batch if you plan to share.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour or chickpea flour if gluten free
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Pita bread or salad
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Using either salad or pita, top with flalafel and any garnishes of your choice.
This has been my go-to lunch throughout this pregnancy. It seems to be perfectly satisfying, and easy enough that I can make it even when I’m already hungry. I usually make just enough for one meal, which is what this recipe is for. Sometimes, when I’m feeling the need to do so, I will reduce the fat in this recipe by halving the mayo used and subbing in the same amount of aquafaba (liquid from the can of beans). The flavor is almost as good, and during this pregnancy the lower fat is better every now and again.
Vegan Garbanzo Bean “Tuna” Salad
Makes 1 serving
1/3 cooked garbanzo beans
1 TBL vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp each minced sweet onion and celery (optional)
Mash garbanzo beans in a small bowl with a fork.
Stir in the mayo, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Add the onion and celery if using and stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
Serve on bread, or with crackers, sliced veggies, or however you desire.
More vegetables for breakfast?! Well, yes. And it’s vegan and gluten free. This recipe is one that I found before children from the cookbook “The Vegan Slow Cooker” It is a lovely way to mix in some vegetables for breakfast, and it tastes delicious! It’s also perfect for when you have overnight guests, or know you will have a rushed morning. It smells wonderful and is done by the time you get up in the morning. Yes, my toddler loved this!
You don’t have to sweeten this at all, and can add what you like for toppings just before serving. Nuts, fruit, milk, sweetener, anything that sounds good will be a lovely addition.
Vegan Slow Cooker Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal
Originally from The Vegan Slow Cooker
1 cup steal cut oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 cup coconut water, or more non-dairy milk
3 small carrot, grated
1/2 medium zucchini, grated
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 TBL brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Combine everything except the pecans in the crock of your slow cooker.
Stir briefly and cook on low 6-8 hours (overnight).
In the morning stir in the chopped pecans and whatever else your heart desires.
So my lovely little baby is a picky eater. How did this happen? The good thing is she is picky like me. It isn’t green foods, or vegetables she avoids, no, it is some sort of structure that only she know. It is starting to get better, but until then I just keep making this oatmeal in huge batches because it is all she wants to eat. I shouldn’t complain since this is just about the healthiest thing I could get into her, but still.
You can mix and match what goes in here depending on what your toddler is into. Mine will only eat it if there are pieces of green that she can see. She turned up her nose and wouldn’t even try my apricot almond oatmeal the other. day. Whatever. I do try to mix it up a bit and add different grains, vegetables, and cheese on and off. I even put some chicken in one time and she ate that, as long as it was in the oatmeal. Not on it’s own, that just wouldn’t make sense.
If your little lovely doesn’t like vegetables you could hide them by using a white carrot and peeling the zucchini, just leave out the spinach. You could also make it sweet by swapping the broth for sweetener, maybe adding some cinnamon.
Good luck with your picky eater!
Toddler Superfood Oatmeal
1 cup water
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 small/medium zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp mushroom broth powder or mushroom bullion
1 TBL chia seeds
1 TBL hemp seeds
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 TBL nutritional yeast
1 TBL olive oil (optional)
1/4 cup cottage cheese (optional)
Put water, carrot, and zucchini in a small saucepan and bring water to a boil.
Once water is boiling stir in the oats.
Add chia and hemp seed and stir briefly.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water is almost absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
Add spinach and nutritional yeas, stir and cook until the oatmeal is the consistency you prefer.