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?
- Creamy texture
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.