I’ve spent too many Thanksgivings eating too much mashed potatoes. After skipping the family dinner one year to cook a Tofurky with a friend, I realized what my meals had been missing: flavor. Thus, I’ve spent the last couple Thanksgivings trying to perfect gravy— both vegetarian and gluten-free.
The trick to vegan wheat-free gravy lies in a couple of things: good flour choices and something savory to saute your veggie butter in, like portobello mushrooms and shallots. A splash of red wine or cooking sherry will help as well.
As for flour, I’ve tried a few different kinds. Arrowroot flour has a good flavor, but can turn rather gelatinous. White rice flour is also good, but tends to be runny. This year, I tried something new, and was really happy with the results: a mix of brown rice flour and chickpea flour. The chickpea flour gave it a nice protein heft, and the brown rice flour a rich brown color.
Baked tempeh slices seem more festive than tofu— also, tempeh is less processed. Make sure your tempeh is gluten-free (West Soy has gluten in some of their tempehs.) I used tempeh made by the Ypsilanti Food Co-op. And yes, both Tofurky and other vegetarian options, like Gardein’s, tend to be full of wheat.
1/2 lb of tempeh (or more, depending on how many folks you’re feeding!)
1 to 2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste
- If the tempeh is frozen, let thaw on the counter for a few hours.
- Once tempeh is thawed, remove from package and slice into 1” rectangles.
- Put the tempeh into a baking dish, and fill until just covered with vegetable stock. Stir in sage, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Let soak for at least one hour.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Tempeh doesn’t need a lot of time to cook; these steps are to make sure the tempeh is moist and flavorful. (Tempeh tends to be a bit dry on its own.)
- Let cool, and then remove from the stock.
2 cups baby portobello bell mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tbsp brown rice flour
1 table spoon vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
- Saute the mushrooms, onions and seasonings (sage, rosemary and thyme) in olive oil until brown.
- Put the vegetable stock in a pan, and put the heat on low. (It’s easier to add warm stock to the flour and butter.)
- While the mushrooms are browning, measure and mix your flours together.
- Add the vegan butter, and let melt.
- Add 1 1/2 tbsp of the flour to the pan. Stir it in quickly.
- Keep stirring the flour until it begins to brown. It’s easy to burn the flour at this point, so be careful.
- Once the flour starts to brown, add 1/2 cup of the stock. Stir thoroughly.
- Slowly, add the rest of the stock, whisking to make sure no lumps form.
- Add the rest of the flour, whisking constantly. This is a good time to taste and make sure you added enough seasonings.
- When the gravy starts to solidify, take it off the heat.
- Top your tempeh with gravy and enjoy!