Smothered tempeh with wheat-free mushroom gravy

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.


Ingredients (tempeh)

1/2 lb of tempeh (or more, depending on how many folks you’re feeding!)

1 to 2 cups vegetable stock

fresh rosemary

1 tsp sage

salt and pepper to taste

Frozen tempeh.

Frozen tempeh.

  1. If the tempeh is frozen, let thaw on the counter for a few hours.
  2. Once tempeh is thawed, remove from package and slice into 1” rectangles.
  3. Put the tempeh into a baking dish, and fill until just covered with vegetable stock. Stir in sage, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  4. Thawed, chopped and seasoned.

    Thawed, chopped and seasoned.

  5. Let soak for at least one hour.
  6. 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.)
  7. Let cool, and then remove from the stock.
Baked and awaiting gravy.

Baked and awaiting gravy.

Ingredients (gravy)

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)

olive oil

1 tsp sage

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme


  1. Saute the mushrooms, onions and seasonings (sage, rosemary and thyme) in olive oil until brown.
  2. 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.)

    Sauteing while the stock simmers.

    Sauteing while the stock simmers.

  3. While the mushrooms are browning, measure and mix your flours together.
  4. Add the vegan butter, and let melt.

    Melty butter.

    Melty butter.

  5. Add 1 1/2 tbsp of the flour to the pan. Stir it in quickly.
  6. Keep stirring the flour until it begins to brown. It’s easy to burn the flour at this point, so be careful.

    The flour is starting to brown...

    The flour is starting to brown…

  7. Once the flour starts to brown, add 1/2 cup of the stock. Stir thoroughly.
  8. Slowly, add the rest of the stock, whisking to make sure no lumps form.

    Flour and broth mixed...

    Flour and broth mixed…

  9. Add the rest of the flour, whisking constantly. This is a good time to taste and make sure you added enough seasonings.
  10. When the gravy starts to solidify, take it off the heat.

    And voila!

    And voila!

  11. Top your tempeh with gravy and enjoy!

2 responses to “Smothered tempeh with wheat-free mushroom gravy

  1. Sounds likes a great GF veg main. We’re planning on a lentil-grain loaf with mushroom sauce for ours. Somehow I never seem to be able to turn up a brand of tempeh that doesn’t warn about possible wheat cross-contamination. Maybe it’s still safe, but I usually stay away anyway. Sad, because I love it! Have a great Thanksgiving.

    • Oo, lentils are another favorite of mine. I was surprised how many tempeh companies have wheat issues. Thanks your comment— and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s