Instructables

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

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Even vegetarians love the mashed potatoes part of Thanksgiving, but what are mashed potatoes without gravy? Through trial and error I've learned to make excellent mushroom gravy for my sister the vegetarian. It's so good that I usually put turkey gravy on the turkey and save my mashed potatoes for the mushroom gravy.

Plus, I have finally learned the secret to avoiding lumpy gravy, and lumpy sauces in general. Fat first!

I first started making mushroom gravy with canida, but she's less vegetarian now, so she's only documented meaty gravy. I decided to fix the lack of vegetarian instructable when my sister called me for tips last weekend.
 
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
You'll need a few ingredients:

Critical items:
  • onions (at least one)
  • mushrooms (portabella or baby bella are best)
  • about 4 Tbsp butter (olive oil would probably work, but I've never tried)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sherry or marsala (other flavored liquids would work, but these have the best flavor here)
  • 2 - 4 cups liquid (ideally vegetable broth)

Extra bonus items:
  • garlic (as much as you like)
  • thyme, dried or fresh
  • paprika
  • fresh parsley

You'll need two pans. First you saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in one. Then make the roux in the second. Then add the first pan to the second pan.
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ErinnM made it!15 days ago

I used hard apple cider with soy sauce instead of Sherry or Marsala. I also added a pinch of nutmeg. It was lovely and went well with my husband's stuffed pork chops and the garlic mashed baby reds I made. Delicious!

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fantastic recipe! I am making it right now.
Lovely Instructable - I've always wanted to make vegetarian gravy. Any tips on making a decent vegetarian broth? In exchange, I'll give you two gravy-making tips of my own: - If you have a cold, and don't notice the aroma of your cooking roux, you can tell it is finished because the color is identical to that of peanut butter. I have always made gravy by sight, not smell, and the peanut butter color is most reliable. It works even if you use olive oil (which works very well and adds a nutty flavor of its own) Butter tastes better, but burns easily. A 50:50 mixture of butter to olive oil has the best characteristics of both. - I put the liquid into the hot roux gradually, beating the mixture until the roux has incorporated the liquid and become smooth and silky looking again. This prevents lumps and allows me to keep a tight control over the consistency of my gravy. It also prevents that scary mushroom cloud (no pun intended) of steam, which is dangerous as hell when you have a house full of holiday revelers milling about. If you can keep everyone out of the kitchen during that part of gravy making, perhaps you could write another Instructable. I know that I'd appreciate it! Once again, thank you for such a great instructable. I have made hundreds of gallons of gravy over the years, and I think that people who do this from scratch are disappearing. It's hard for me to understand why - gravy making only takes a few minutes more work, and the return is amazing.
jforbess (author)  SlothOnSpeed6 years ago
Wow. Thanks for the extra information. Gradually mixing in the liquid does sound smart. And I'm glad for external confirmation about the olive oil. I will have to try that next. Sadly, I haven't made my own vegetable broth. I'm a fan of Cook's Illustrated, though, so if I were going to start with a recipe, I'd start there. (I used Better than Bouillon No Chicken base, and it was fine, though still too salty.) I hope that I've made it sound easy. Six steps doesn't sound like the easiest thing in the world, but once you figure out the process it's really straightforward. But of course, a lot of cooking is easy once you've done it twice.
Any gluten-free options for a roux? looks great!!!
jforbess (author)  momonkey19972 years ago
I'm not an expert on gluten free cooking, but couldn't you use rice flour or cornstarch? This is where I would look to a gluten free cookbook to suggest the standard substitution for flour in any roux.

Here's what one of my favorite food sites says about gluten free roux:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/01/gluten-free-tuesday-roux-rice-flour.html
thanks!!!
Eacon2 years ago
If you do it with olive oil instead of butter (it totally works!) it's even vegan!
Plus, the smoky-bitter flavour works great with the earthy tones of the mushrooms. I also like to add some soy sauce instead of salt (finer flavour and adds colour, yay!)
triplecity2 years ago
Can you make the vegetarian gravy a day ahead?
I personally find it to be even better when heated up again (just like chili or rattatouille).
jforbess (author)  triplecity2 years ago
Definitely.
Great gravy!!!! I used beer to deglaze though and added salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper until it tasted just right though.

Thanks for giving me one more reason to go vegetarian :)
jforbess (author)  rrichardson72 years ago
Yes, salt and fresh ground pepper are critical, but I almost never think about them until the end.

And beer sounds like a great idea. Maybe a porter for extra smokiness.
sbronson2 years ago
I want to make this, but I'm confused about something. The ingredients list calls for 2-4 cups of liquid, ideally veggie broth. At what point do I add that, and to which pan? Thanks!
jforbess (author)  sbronson2 years ago
It's in the last step. First you add the mushrooms to the roux and stir, and then add the veggie broth to thin it down. It's best to add part of the broth, stir to see how thick it is, and then add more veggie broth (or water) if you want it thinner.
Covo2 years ago
I HAVE to comment on this recipe... If anyone is thinking about vegetarian gravy or even gravy lovers that are looking for another recipe, this is the BEST recipe there is. I have been making this for about 3 years now and I get complements from Veggies and Carnivores alike, to the point that they ask for it. Not to mention it is SOOOO well written. Good Job jforbess... You have become a tradition in my family!!!
jforbess (author)  Covo2 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you have made it a tradition!
cgutierrez82 years ago
Can anyone tell me on average how many people 1 batch can serve?
jforbess (author)  cgutierrez82 years ago
If it is a bunch of vegetarians who might pour it all over their stuffing and mashed potatoes rather than just a smattering of flavor on their mashed potatoes, I wouldn't try to serve it to more than 6-8 people. But I really love it, so that's a pretty conservative estimate.
vcarr2 years ago
Wow! I am not a vegetarian but i do adore my vegetables, particularly mushrooms onions and garlic so this recipe is ideal for me. Absolutely delicious! Thank you very much :)
This is a brilliant recipe!
May I suggest a way to not only get all of the yummy mushroom & veggie bits from the sauté, but to also just use one fry pan for the sauté & making the roux:

* After the sauté, scoop the veggies & juices into your serving bowl.
* De-glaze the pan using about 1/2 cup of veggie broth, scraping up the tasty bits.
* In a small bowl, mix approximately 1/2 cup cold broth with the flour until fully mixed with no lumps.
* Stirring constantly, slowly pour the broth/flour mix into the boiling de-glazing stock in the pan & then slowly add the rest of the broth. In a minute or two, the flour will start to thicken the stock into gravy.
* Now add back the veggies & simmer for about two- three minutes,stirring frequently, to get the raw flavour out of the flour.
Just a quick note on the highly technical side...butter is only about 80% fat, the rest is mostly water, which quickly boils out of a roux. So in reality, you're only putting a little over 3 tablespoons of actual fat into this recipe. Which is fine, but if you ever try this with oil (like if you want to make your gravy vegan), you'll want to reduce the amount of fat slightly or it will cook up differently than you're used to.
jforbess (author)  middlenamefrank3 years ago
Thanks for the tip. Good point.
kevmalone3 years ago
This is excellent. We just made this and it will be on our table at Christmas and New Year for our Vegetarian friends (and me). Thanks jforbess.
For those wanting quantity guides: for 8 oz mushrooms: 3Tbsp flour, 3 oil*, 2 cups veg broth.
*Canola oil instead of butter works great throughout - so this is fine for Vegans too.
I SIMPLY CAN NOT WAIT TO TRY THIS!!
I am far from being a vegetarian but found you via a regular google search.  I just made this recipe and it kicked a$$.. Loved it!  I told her, get me a note card!
Kyle_S4 years ago
Being a vegetarian, I've made something like this for years, usually by ear.  Trust me, it beats the canned-mushroom gravy by miles, so it's great to see this instructible.

An FYI to anyone vegetarians reading, make a reasonable sized batch, even if you're the only vegetarian at the meal.  I've had more than a few meat-eaters scarf this up before the turkey-gravy.  It's a nice compliment to the cooking, but it's kindof sad not to get seconds (or sometimes firsts).

If you want a very smooth texture, you can use a stick blender on it, right after the extra liquid has been incorporated.  You loose the nice chunks of mushroom, but it gives you consistent results.  I dont' have a stick blender, so I usually blend it if I make it ahead of time, or when it's leftover.  It helps get back that good gravy consistency.
jforbess (author)  Kyle_S4 years ago
Agreed on the meat-eaters loving this.

And a stick blender sounds like a great idea. Especially if you scoop out a small bowl of mushrooms to keep as chunky before you blend.
Covo4 years ago
 After searching the web meticulously for veggie gravy, I was pleased and surprised that the one that looks the best and has the best instructions are on my favorite site.  Can't wait to make it!!!

One question...

What are your thoughts about making it ahead of time (a day or so) and reheating when needed?
jforbess (author)  Covo4 years ago
Making it ahead is fine. You might end up needing to add more liquid if you want it more like gravy than chunky sauce when you reheat. This is what extra liquid from potatoes is good for, like everyone who survived the Depression will tell you.
jforbess (author)  jforbess4 years ago
Funny, I just re-read my last step, and apparently it's been beaten into me to use that darn potato water. Can't stop repeating it.
minerug5 years ago
This is excellent! I tried it over steaks and, even though I dont like mushrooms much, I could easily eat more than I did.
darus676 years ago
Just reading this and looking at the pictures has made me hungry. Too bad my wife hates mushrooms. :(
dblev darus675 years ago
My wife does not like mushrooms either....I could not wait to make it. It turned out great.
Ariisi5 years ago
I just made this and I have to say it is incredible! I used a lot of paprika and wound up adding more sherry near the end to up the flavor even more. Now I want to try this over egg noodles. Good instructable and good recipe.
ffry5 years ago
this was great! made if for thanksgiving --> lost my old recipe and am glad I did! It worked out perfectly. These directions are really well detailed - thanks!
asnads16 years ago
this looks great, gonna try to make it tonight!
Holy crap that looks delicious! *puts this on the list for her next mashed potato night* My hubby and I don't eat a whole lot of meat (only once or twice a week), so this would be great for us.
good recipe. this can be made vegan, as well, if you sub vegan veggie spread for the butter/margarine. This stuff is great over egg noodles.
2shane26 years ago
Yummy - chicks that can cook..... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!! Can I lick your bowl?
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