When I want something warm and comforting, I make biscuits and gravy. It feels like a hug or a fluffy blanket.
These are quick and easy cream biscuits. There is no need to carefully cut butter or shortening into the flour. You don’t even have to chill the biscuits before baking them.
The biscuits are topped with a vegetarian mushroom gravy that is luscious, creamy, and delicious without being too rich and heavy. Traditionally, the gravy is made with crumbled sausage; this recipe imitates that flavor by calling for seasonings typically found in sausage: crushed red pepper flakes, fennel, and fresh thyme.
Vegetarian biscuits and gravy are the ultimate indulgence and are only made better by sharing them with family or friends. If you start the gravy while the biscuits bake, you can have an easy meal on the table in about 30 minutes!
I love a good, buttery, flaky biscuit. However, I also like that this easy cream biscuit comes together so quickly. The inside is wonderfully moist, and the outside is just a bit crisp.
These biscuits are made with plenty of fresh thyme. You want to see little bits of thyme in the biscuit so don’t mince the herb into teeny tiny pieces. The herbs make the biscuits extra special, but they'll be wonderful without. The choice is yours.
The most important thing to remember is not to overwork the dough. Rather than kneading the dough, use your hands to gather the dough together and shape it into a flat circle—the dry bits will automatically come together.
The dough will be very sticky so make sure your kitchen counter and your cutter are generously floured. Once you cut out 3 biscuits, gently gather the scraps to cut out a few more biscuits. You’ll get 6 in total. The second set may not rise as high as the first set, but that’s okay.
A Few Words About Mushrooms
This recipe calls for a mix of cremini and white button mushrooms. Feel free to use whatever mushrooms you’d like. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms would work well.
When buying mushrooms, look for ones that are firm to the touch. Avoid mushrooms that are mushy, damp, or dried out.
There are a couple of ways to clean the mushrooms:
- The fastest way is to submerge them in water for a minute or two and then pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- The second way, my preferred method, is to peel the mushrooms. Admittedly, it’s not the fastest and it's a little fussy. After trimming the stem off, use a paring knife to grab the top layer from underneath the cap (where the top meets the part under the cap that looks like a skirt). Peel it towards the center and remove it. Repeat this process around the entire mushroom cap until the whole outer layer has been removed.
Make sure the mushrooms are dried well after cleaning and be sure the skillet is nice and hot. Cook the mushrooms before adding the rest of the ingredients to get good browning and to really bring out the flavor. Stir them frequently so they brown evenly.
Tips for Making Gravy
Making the gravy may be the trickiest part of this recipe, but if something goes wrong, there are ways to save it.
- When making the roux (flour plus butter), remember to stir, stir, stir! You don’t want the flour to burn. Once the milk is added to the roux, stir, stir, stir once again! Use a whisk to get all the lumps out and evenly incorporated into the gravy.
- Should the gravy get too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it out.
- Thin gravy can be thickened with a slurry made of 1 tablespoon each of water and cornstarch or flour. Slowly whisk it into the gravy over medium-low heat until it thickens.
Variations (Some Vegan!)
Baby spinach is added to the gravy for a bit of color. Plus, I think it makes it a complete meal—no need to make a veggie side (although this would be delicious.)
You can add other vegetables you like to the gravy. Vegetables that take longer to cook like carrots and broccoli should be cooked until tender-crisp before adding to the gravy.
Looking for a vegan version? Here is a recipe for wonderful vegan biscuits. To make the gravy, use equal amounts of vegan butter instead of butter, and use your favorite plant-based milk instead of whole milk.
Storing and Reheating Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy
The biscuits taste best on the first day, soon after they come out of the oven. That said, they are still delicious the next day when reheated in a 350°F oven for about 7 minutes.
For storing, wrap the biscuits in foil. The gravy should be stored in a lidded container. Refrigerate the gravy for up to 4 days and the biscuits for up to a week. The gravy reheats well in the microwave.
More Vegetarian Classics We Love
Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy
For the biscuits
2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
For the gravy
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces mushrooms (a mix of cremini and white button), thinly sliced
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup fresh baby spinach, tightly packed
Freshly ground black pepper, to serve (optional)
- 2-inch round cutter
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the dry ingredients:
Use a sifter or fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl to sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Add the thyme and heavy cream:
Sprinkle the thyme over the flour mixture. Drizzle in the heavy cream. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to combine the ingredients until the flour is moistened and the dough looks shaggy. It’s okay to have some loose flour. Do not overwork the dough because it will lead to dense biscuits.
Roll out the dough:
Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough onto it. Use your hands to gather the dough so that it comes together and form it into a circle that’s about 1 inch thick.
Form the biscuits:
Dip a 2-inch round cutter in a small bowl of flour. Cut the dough into rounds, pushing straight down and lifting straight up. Cut out 3 biscuits and place them on a large ungreased baking sheet. Gather the dough and gently form it into a 1-inch thick circle again. Try not to knead or overwork the dough. Cut out 3 more biscuits and place them on the baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each biscuit.
Bake the biscuits:
Bake the biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes, until they just start to show a bit of golden color on top. Remove the biscuits from the oven and set them aside. It’s okay to leave the biscuits on the baking sheet.
Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms:
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring to help the butter melt. Once the butter is fully melted, add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened and just begging to turn brown, stirring often. If the butter starts to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium heat.
Add the seasonings:
Add the shallots, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes (if using), and salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the shallots and garlic are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the butter, flour, and milk:
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir until the butter is melted. Sprinkle in the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir until fully combined, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the milk in a steady stream while stirring continuously. The gravy should begin to thicken.
Add the thyme and spinach:
Immediately stir in the thyme. Bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to medium-low heat. Stir in the spinach and cook until the gravy reaches your desired thickness, about 4 minutes. If it thickens too much, stir in a bit of milk.
Place a biscuit on a plate and spoon the gravy over it. Sprinkle a bit of freshly ground black pepper on top, if desired.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 41g||53%|
|Saturated Fat 22g||111%|
|Total Carbohydrate 51g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|Total Sugars 12g|
|Vitamin C 7mg||34%|
|*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.|