As a continuation of my last post, this is the other half that completes mashed potatoes. The side dish that everybody has a strong opinion on. Some people take so much gravy their whole plate is drowning in it, some people take just a little to compliment their main dishes, and some people take none at all. In my mind, as a vegetarian, I was never able to eat gravy since it is normally made either from turkey drippings, or chicken broth, or beef broth or some sort of variation of that. All I knew was that growing up, I could eat the mashed potatoes whenever they were offered, but I needed to pass on the gravy.
When it came time to have our thanksgiving feast at home, I knew I needed to find a way to incorporate gravy into our meal. I always had to pass on it growing up, I was not about to miss the opportunity to include it in our own vegetarian/vegan feast. Whenever we would buy the vegan/vegetarian roasts from Whole Foods often they would include in the box a frozen pack of ready-made gravy to heat up and use. I may have used it the first year, but I never really liked the idea of using ready-made things unless absolutely necessary. I knew I needed to find a recipe that I could make on my own, that was easy but still satisfying. Like I mentioned in the last post, these days whenever I get together with my sister, either at my house in Florida or my parents house in New Jersey, mashed potatoes and gravy always make a guest appearance at least once during our reunions.
Now I can’t really tell you how this gravy compares to “real”, or should I say the more traditionally made gravy in terms of taste or even texture. As you know I’ve been vegetarian my entire life, which means I’ve never actually had any gravy that I have not made myself. What I can tell you, is that I’ve made this for many people, (some of which were not vegetarian) since that first time I made it, and I have never had anybody complain about it not measuring up.
So lets get started! First things first, you need to dice up half of a medium onion into small pieces.
Next, heat up some earth balance butter on the stove on medium/low heat and add the onions.
Mince some garlic into small pieces and add that to the onions as they are cooking.
Once the onions and garlic mixture begins to become translucent like this add the flour.
The goal here is to create a roux. If you do not know what a roux is, it’s basically flour cooked with some sort of fat (in this case the earth balance butter) and then a liquid is added. The purpose of the roux is the provide a thickening agent to the liquid. I don’t like to use more butter or oil than absolutely necessary so my roux’s are personally pretty dry, but typically, at least from what I have seen, they tend to be on the wetter side. Meaning that they end up looking more like a thinned out paste instead of a dry paste because there is much more “fat” to flour in the ratio. So far my technique has not failed me in practice, so I’d rather just use a little less butter if I can help it. So in this case, you want to cook the flour in the butter over the heat mixing it around often until you no longer smell the raw flour.
Once the flour is cooked add the water, bouillon cube, soy sauce, and dried thyme. I would also recommend adding some nutritional yeast, commonly known as “Nooch” within the vegan world (it’s a much more appealing name). It’s not required, you will still get a nice gravy without it, but Nutritional Yeast always manages to add that missing umami flavor to complete the dish. It doesn’t hurt that its jam-packed with beneficial vitamins. =) This is a very reputable brand of Nutrional Yeast – and on Amazon the 2 pack is way more economical than the 1 pack:Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast 4.5oz 2 Pack
For those of you who are not familiar with it, these are the bouillon cubes that I use. I would highly, highly recommend them. Anytime I am making a vegan dish equivalent to something originally made with meat I usually add one of these in there. It also manages to add a lot of flavor to the liquids in a different way than vegetable broth would. I always keep at least 2 boxes of this stuff in my kitchen and each box has 8 cubes. You should be able to find them at your local grocery store, but if not, you can find it on Amazon here:Not-Chick’n Edward & Sons Bouillon Cubes (Set of 2). I mean they used to carry this in the tiny organic section of my local grocery store in “middle of nowhere” Indiana. So it’s not too difficult to find generally speaking. But in a pinch, or if you’re just not comfortable using this, you can always use vegetable broth as a substitute. The flavor will be a little bit different, but it wont be bad in any way.
Once all your mix-ins have been added, the last easy step is just to bring it to a boil. You will notice as it starts to heat up that it will start to thicken pretty quickly. That is thanks to the roux that we made earlier. As soon as it has reached the thickness you desire, it is ready to use. I usually either make the gravy first (and keep it on the side to reheat when everything else is ready) or last for the feast since it’s super quick.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Be sure to let me know if you give it a try in the comments!
- 3 Tablespoons - Earth Balance Butter
- 1/2 - Medium Yellow Onion Finely Diced
- 3/8 cup - All Purpose Flour
- 4 Cups - Water
- 1 - Not Chik'n Bouillon Cube
- 1 Tablespoon - Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon - Dried Thyme (I usually do 2-3 generous pinches with my fingers)
- 2 Tablespoons - Nutritional Yeast "Nooch" (optional)
- Finely dice 1/2 of a medium yellow onion.
- Heat up the earth balance butter in a 2qt pot on medium/low heat, and once its mostly melted add the butter.
- While the onions are cooking, mince 2 cloves of garlic, once they are minced add them to the onions.
- Cook the onions and garlic until the onions begin to become translucent and soft. At that point add the AP Flour. Mix it in well with the butter and onion mixture and continue to cook on medium/low heat until the flour no longer smells raw (2-3 min). We are not trying to fry the flour or burn it, we just want the heat to take away the raw edge.
- Once the flour is done cooking, add the water, bouillon cube, soy sauce, dried thyme and nutritional yeast (if you are using it)
- Mix everything, bring it to a boil, and mix occasionally. Everything will begin to thicken as it heats up, cook until it reaches desired thickness.
- It's all ready! Serve warm =) Enjoy!!
- *This recipe make quite a bit of gravy, if you find that you end up with too much leftover, you can always half the recipe for next time. I usually like to have a lot more than I need so nobody feels like they need to take less, but thats just my own thing. You probably have enough for at least 10 people at the table with this recipe.
- *This recipe also reheats really nicely, just a bowl in the microwave is fine, or on the stove, either way it doesn't matter, I've tried both.
- *Even though the nutritional yeast is optional I would HIGHLY recommend it for the level of flavor it adds, not including all the good vitamins it also adds.
- *I have tried this recipe in the past with gluten free flour, it came out just as good, nobody noticed except our guests who had celiac because even they could enjoy it also! You may need to reduce the amount of flour though, I found I needed to add more water to the recipe with gluten free flour because it got too thick to fast.
- *Salt is not necessary in this recipe because it comes from the bouillon cube, vegan butter, and the soy sauce.
- *Real butter works just as well in the recipe, if you are only vegetarian and not vegan.
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