Creamy, dreamy plant-based mushroom gravy because we all deserve the decadence and comfort and this special recipe encourages guilt-free liberal smothering of everything on your plate.
No debate, I love gravy. I’ve even engaged in momentary tunnel vision in a world where there’s only me, my mashed potatoes and gravy. There’s a reason why we have a tradition of biscuits and gravy on a holiday morning. We start talking about it at least a week in advance with big eyes focused in anticipation. And the ‘big meal’ of the day? Not sure, but I’ll make sure there’s more gravy for that one too.
Mushroom gravy special
This plant-based mushroom gravy will have a few aspects that are familiar. We’ll saute onion, add minced garlic and then add mushrooms to the pot. You’ll want to give the mushrooms about 5 minutes because mushrooms have a lot of moisture. That’s a bit of bonus if you cook without oil, because as they release their moisture, mushrooms naturally help deglaze your pan. Admittedly, I didn’t leave it entirely to the mushrooms, I added a bit of veggie broth to ensure a full force deglaze.
Is you ever indulge yourself with cooking programs (I’m a bit hooked, I admit), chances are you’ll witness with immense animation and technical precision, not to mention heroic background music, the process of deglazing. Great TV moments, but with all due respect to all those chefs, wannabe chefs, little kid chefs, dog chefs, whatever, deglazing is not close to a big deal. If you’ve cooked beyond your microwave or paying the takeout person (you’ve used a pan) you’ve deglazed. Whenever you add liquid or as I contend a moisture laden ingredient, that allows the caramelized bits stuck in the bottom of the pan to be released, that’s deglazing.
Besides, getting to announce to the cat ‘now I deglaze’ as you host the best cooking program ever, right in your kitchen, deglazing adds flavor. The caramelized bits of onion, garlic and other aromatics (the usual suspects) contain tons of flavor. In fact, these caramelized bits are so important they have their own culinary term ‘fond’. And we be ‘fond of fond’.
What can we use to deglaze?
The concept of deglazing is pretty simple: liquid added, stir the bottom of the pan, pick up the fond (of course, we’re using our new word). The liquid you use to deglaze is entirely up to you and ultimately, depends on the flavor you are developing. That can range from wine, beer Balsamic vinegar or another vinegar and other super flavorful liquids to broth and even water. It all depends on what you’re after.
Sometimes you might be after using up that last of the wine in bottle that’s been opened since…if you can’t remember, either you drank most of it yourself or it has become cooking wine. That’s usually the stuff I keep around for loaded tempeh stew or sweet potato Shepherd’s pie. But quite often, I’m either not willing to open a fresh bottle of wine or the wine rack is empty (hummm….), so I use veggie broth and maybe a glop of balsamic. And water, we’ve always got water.
The agents of gravy thickening
Flour, cornstarch, and secret agents. You need them to thicken gravy. Sometimes you even need more than one. Flour, the thickener most associated with gravy, works best if you create a slurry (here we go, another cooking term), which is just means you take a little dish or jar and mix 2 tablespoons of flour per 1 cup of liquid and then add it to your gravy pot. This minimizes lumpiness. Use the same idea if you use cornstarch except you only want to use 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of liquid.
My personal preference for everyday gravy thickeners is arrowroot. Aside from the fact that it’s gluten free and all natural, it’s basically flavorless. Maybe that because you don’t need a lot for thickening. Your slurry is equal amounts of arrowroot to liquid and you usually measure it in teaspoons, rather than tablespoons. If you’ve ever made the mistake of using too much flour in a gravy, you’ll understand what I mean by my own culinary term ‘overfloured gravy’. That’s when it starts tasting a lot more like paste and a lot less than gravy (and usually, it’s still not thick). Other thickeners you may run into include tapioca (from the cassava root), potato starch and even pureed vegetables.
Creamy mushroom gravy – secrets revealed
And here’s a top-secret thickening agent: beans and legumes. If you’ve tried my lentil gravy, that should speak for itself, but way back when I used red beans to help thicken the sauce for my red beans and rice, it occurred to me that beans might be a wonder way to make a thick, creamy gravy. Why not? I had what I’d consider major success with lentil gravy (of biscuit fame). Now it occurred to me that white beans (I used cannellini) with their mellow, unobtrusive flavor, would be worth a try. My aim was a creamy texture with a decadent mushroom gravy flavor, so my only concern was that it would end up being a bit too ‘beany’, or to use another of my made-up culinary terms ‘overbeaned’.
Textured for creamy
Turns out that 1 can of white beans did the trick. No ovebeaned here. Once you add the white beans and let them simmer along with the veggie broth and the rest of the gravy ingredients, the creamy factor rises significantly on the scale once you blend everything up. I used an immersion (or stick) blender for this purpose, but you can also transfer your gravy to a blender for the same results. Whatever gets the job done and gives you the texture you want.
Ah, the comfort of mushroom gravy, the pure joy and indulgence. You can mutter all the cool culinary terms (real or imagined), recite any incantations you have at your disposal and even pull off a deglaze that would make the chef masters proud, it’s all good as long as you end up with a great tasting finale. The great thing about cooking is that you know your desired outcome. How you get there, even what you call the steps or the dish you create, that’s all subjective. The objective: it delivers the flavor we craved, we feel better for eating it and we’re happy to keep repeating the process. It’s one loop we should all be so lucky to get stuck in. Peace.Print
Creamy plant-based mushroom gravy
Decadent and creamy plant-based mushroom gravy with my secret white bean hack for making easy, lump-free, delicious and perfect gravy every time.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- Category: On the Side
- Cuisine: American
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (used button, or a combination of your favorite mushrooms)
- 1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (we use Henderson’s relish)
- 2 tsp. arrowroot, flour or chickpea flour
- 1- 15 oz. can cannelloni or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth or vegan mushroom broth
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a small saucepan to medium and add the onions. Brown the onions for 5-8 minutes, stirring them frequently. You will be deglazing the pan, but if they do start to stick too much, add a tablespoon of vegetable broth.
- Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms, tamari and Worcestershire sauce and allow the mushrooms to cook down and release their moisture (about 10 minutes).
- Next, add ½ cup of the vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to grab up all the stuck-on bits from the bottom of the saucepan.
- Clear a space in the bottom of the pan. At this point, make sure the pan is solidly at medium and not too hot. Mix in the arrowroot using a small whisk or fork. With such a small amount, you don’t need to premix it first, just make sure it’s blended in and there are no lumps.
- Add the beans, dried thyme and the remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth. Stir well and allow the gravy to simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove saucepan from the heat and puree the gravy using an immersion blender or transfer it to a regular blender. Blend until you have your desired consistency.
- Taste and add ground pepper if desired.
- Reheat the gravy if needed and serve.
- Makes about 3 cups.
- I used brown mushrooms, but you can use white button, wild mushrooms or a mix. A few Shiitake mushrooms will give your gravy an earthy flavor.
- If you can’t find or don’t have vegan Worcestershire sauce, you can add ½ tsp. of red wine vinegar and another ½ tsp. tamari as a substitute.
Keywords: plant-based mushroom gravy