Amazing vegan gravy. Savoury, delicious, and totally meat free. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table!
So, I’ve been working on this recipe for approximately one million years.
Ok, that’s not true. But the perfect vegetarian gravy has been eluding me for an awfully long time.
I’m not sure if I ever really loved gravy way back when I ate the real thing, but for some reason perfecting a great vegetarian gravy has been a mission of mine. If we’re being honest, it’s probably more due to my love of poutine than anything else. And since I live in a nation void of poutine and I’m not above smuggling dairy products internationally (I’ve done it in both directions, taking the wonder that is Swedish butter into Canada, and the glory that is authentic Canadian cheese curds into Sweden) the only way to get it is to make it myself.
So I’ve been working hard on gravy. It’s gotta be the perfect savoury umami flavour. The right texture – not to thin and not too thick. And since we eat with our eyes, the colour is important too. And it can’t have any mushrooms in it, because in my universe mushrooms are the devil’s work and I won’t have my gravy sullied by them. No thanks.
I’ve learned a lot of things in my gravy exploration. Life lessons in brown sauce, if you will. This gravy, I’d say, is proper gravy. It’s pour on yer mashed potatoes Thanksgiving gravy. It’s soak up with a nice piece of crusty bread gravy. It’s the gravy you use for your moist maker. And yes, damn straight it’s poutine gravy.
The secret ingredient is yeast, two ways. First, the magical vegetarian pixie dust that is nutritional yeast, which adds a complex layer of flavour I think is missing in a lot of vegetarian gravies, and also contributes to the texture of the gravy. Then, a touch of Marmite, the dark brown salty yeast extract, is whisked in at the end. This adds flavour and saltiness, but also a rich brown colour. If you don’t have or don’t like Marmite then
we can’t be friends you can use a comparable amount of dark soy sauce instead.
Just what the heck is nutritional yeast? Also commonly referred to as food yeast, Engevita yeast, Red Star yeast, nooch, or vegetarian pixie dust, nutritional yeast is a dehydrated, inactive form of yeast – it won’t make bread rise. The yeast is grown on enriched molasses, and is an excellent source of B vitamins and protein. It is important to note that not all nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12. Only nooch that has been fortified contains this all important vitamin, so if you’re relying on nutritional yeast for your B12 intake, be sure to check the label. Nutritional yeast has a distinct cheese-like flavour. It can be enjoyed sprinkled on popcorn or salads, added to gravies, salad dressing, soups, casseroles, dips, and sauces. Nutritional yeast can be found at many health food stores, and can be found packaged under various brand names, and is also often found in dry bulk food sections of grocery stores. Small amounts of nutritional yeast can be stored at room temperature in a closed container. Larger amounts should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in a sealed package.
Four years ago: Winter Market Soup
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but all purpose or a gluten-free flour is fine too)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cups good quality vegetable broth, hot
- 1-2 tsp Marmite
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.
- When the oil begins to shimmer, whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes until the flour begins to smell a bit nutty.
- Add the nutritional yeast and continue to whisk for one more minute.
- Add ½ cup of the broth and whisk into the flour mixture so that it is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Add the remaining broth.
- Simmer the gravy, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken and is bubbling. This could take about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, and whisk in the dried thyme, some freshly cracked black pepper, and 1 tsp of Marmite.
- Taste your gravy and decide whether you want to add a bit more Marmite, and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
- Transfer to a gravy boat, and serve hot!
-Leftover gravy will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.
-Gravy freezes and reheats well, so you can freeze the leftovers for another time. Or you can make your gravy ahead of time so there's one less thing to do on your holiday dinner day.