Thanksgiving for vegetarians, and specifically vegans, can be a tricky affair, but it needn’t be! There are so many vegetables and plant-based sides to choose from, almost everyone around the table should be happy.
Be careful. You might want to make more of this gravy than you think you need because once vegans and omnivores alike taste it, you will want to lick your plate clean.
How to Make Vegan Gravy With Mushrooms
Oven-roasted onions and cremini mushrooms (also called baby bellas because they are actually baby Portobello mushrooms) give the gravy a fantastic depth of flavor. Roasting actually intensifies the flavor of most vegetables, and mushrooms are no exception.
You could get fancy and add a mix of mushroom varieties like shiitake or oyster mushrooms, but if you want to keep it simple, cremini are the way to go. Miso and soy sauce add umami to the gravy, imparting another layer of flavor.
If you have homemade mushroom or vegetable stock on hand, this is the time to use it, but no need to stress about it. Store-bought broth offers great results.
Troubleshooting Vegan Gravy
I get a lot of calls from friends about rescuing gravy over the holidays, but the main advice is: Do not stress. These are easy fixes! You know how you like your gravy, so trust in that.
- Too thick? Gradually whisk in stock, a little at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Too thin? Whisk together a slurry of flour or cornstarch and cold water (strain it if it has lumps). It should be soupy, not thick. Then whisk a small amount—about one tablespoon—into the simmering gravy. Stir and simmer the gravy for a couple of minutes to cook the starch. Repeat the process until the gravy achieves the consistency you like.
How to Get the Best Gravy Texture
You have two good options for this gravy. Once it comes together, you could serve it as is with the mushroom slices intact, or if you want smooth gravy, puree it in a blender or with an immersion blender.
The gravy tends to thicken if you puree it, so you will probably need to add more stock to bring it to the consistency you prefer.
How to Store and Freeze Vegan Gravy
The gravy will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for up to three months. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, or simply reheat it from frozen over low heat in a saucepan. It may look curdled at first, so give it a good workout with a whisk when it is hot, and it will smooth out.
The Best Mushrooms for Vegan Gravy
The cremini mushrooms called for in this gravy have more of a savory flavor, and their brown color — along with the soy sauce in this recipe — helps to give it a familiar color. White mushrooms would work, but wouldn't be as appealing.
You could use a wild mushroom mix, but in this recipe their flavor will be more clouded, so you wouldn't get a good bang for the buck.
When shopping for cremini mushrooms, also look for them under the name baby bella. They're the same thing. Look for mushrooms that are smooth, firm, and dry. If the mushrooms are slimy, soft, spotty, or have an off smell, don't buy them. They've started to go bad.
What to Serve with Vegan Mushroom Gravy
Vegan Mushroom Gravy
Miso adds extra depth of savory flavor to this vegan gravy, but it's okay to skip it if you don't have it on hand.
If soy is an issue, look for soy-free soy sauce and soy-free miso (such as chickpea miso), but avoid coconut aminos — a frequent substitution for soy sauce —because of its coconut aroma and flavor.
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 medium onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups unsalted vegetable or mushroom stock
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red, yellow, or white miso, optional
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roast the mushrooms and onions:
On the baking sheet, mound the mushrooms in one pile and the onions in another, keeping the piles separate from one another. Sprinkle with the oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat them.
Spread into an even layer on the baking sheet, still keeping the onions and the mushrooms separate, and sprinkle with thyme.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until deep brown. If the mushrooms are done before the onions, remove them from the pan, return the pan to the oven, and continue to bake until the onions are golden brown.
Finish cooking the gravy:
Transfer the mushrooms and onions to a saucepan. Over medium heat, add the flour and cook while stirring for 2 to 3 minutes or until the flour browns lightly.
Add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until you’ve used 3 cups of the stock. Stir well after each 1/2 cup addition. Whisk in the soy sauce and miso (if using). Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Adjust the consistency by adding more stock if it is thicker than you like. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste. (If you’re not using miso, you’ll need to season the gravy more heavily with salt.)
Gravy can be served as is or pureed in a blender. The gravy will thicken slightly when you puree it. After it is smooth, add more stock until the gravy reaches your preferred consistency.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|