November 19, 2020. We tend to put a good amount of gravy on our Thanksgiving plates, so it was a good thing when I came up with a recipe for a healthier gravy that even our turkey eaters choose for their only T-Day gravy. Not to mention, this vegan gravy is much easier to make than turkey gravy in that you don’t have to wrestle with a large bird carcass in the process.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Get Your Stuff Out
- 2 tablespoons canola or other oil
- 2 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or Poultry Seasoning- no poultry was harmed in the making of this spice, it’s just a mixture of herbs and spices commonly used to season poultry, like sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and nutmeg
- 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, or a mixture of mushrooms- half minced and half sliced
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth or mushroom broth
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
- finish with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cook and Play
Play Gravy Train by Mark Knopfler, and get on that Gravy Train.
- Preheat a large stainless steel (not non stick!) saucepan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of canola oil, onion, salt, pepper and Poultry Seasoning and sauté until the onion starts to take on some color, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the oil, vegan butter and mushrooms to the pandand sear mushrooms, adjusting the heat as necessary, until most of the flavorless water is out of the mushrooms and everything is a delicious golden brown color, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste and then flour. Let the tomato paste and flour toast a bit, a few minutes, with a few stirs as you go.
- Stir in wine, scraping up any tasty brown bits as you stir, and let that simmer a few minutes to cook off the sharp, alcohol flavor- it will be on the thick side, so stir it a bit, until you add the broth.
- Stir in 4 cups broth and simmer to thicken, adding more broth as needed, 10 minutes, but it’s even better if you let it go longer- taste as it simmers to decide.
- Mix half of the soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast and red wine vinegar into the gravy. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so, taste and add some or all of the remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Optional: If you prefer a smoother consistency, puree some of gravy with a stick or other blender.
Browning the Mushrooms is Key. The key to a flavorful gravy is being sure to get the mushrooms into direct contact with the hot pan and searing them long enough so they are seriously golden brown. If the mushrooms don’t fit comfortably in a single layer in your pan, please cook them in batches.
Optional or Additional Vegan Flavor Power: This recipe has a good amount of savory Vegan Flavor Power (“VFP”), which is perfect for fall and winter dishes/sauces- pan browned mushrooms, red wine, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast and red wine vinegar- but you will benefit from exploring these and other VFP ingredients further after you make this gravy a few times. Taste often as you cook and let your taste be your guide to adjust the amount of VFP ingredients in the recipe (not naming names, but one of you girls and your friends really like a lot of red wine in the gravy). You could also add or substituting an ingredient or two from the long list of other savory VFP ingredients for a gravy/sauce: miso of any color (the darker the more pungent), dried vegetables (sun dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, etc), roasted and pureed vegetables (shallots, garlic, etc), vinegars/pickle juice, olives, smoked salt or smoky spices, fermented black beans, truffle oil (don’t get chopped!), marmite, umeboshi paste, pomegranate molasses and a variety of dried sea vegetables, to name more than a few. Careful, many VFP ingredients can be salty, so balance your flavors accordingly. As a side note, proper “brown producing” cooking techniques, like the serious pan browning of the mushrooms in this recipe, along with roasting, caramelizing and grilling, also ramp up the VFP.
From Side Dish to Main Course. You can even turn this gravy into a main course- what!? Yes! Just cook another pound of chopped, browned mushrooms into the sauce and: 1.) serve over soft polenta with a vegan green egg; 2.) add some cooked barley and more broth for mushroom barley soup; or 3.) mix a bit of vegan cashew/sour cream into the sauce and serve it over noodles for a stroganoff.
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