A basic vegan gravy made with a mirepoix, splash of white wine, and vegetable broth, this gravy is ideal with any cosy vegan meal (think bean balls, potatoes, lentil loaf, and so on) and it’s lighter than many other options. I make it all the time to have with oven potatoes and sometimes with veg cheese as a kind of vegan poutine.
This recipe is adapted from the Boon Burger gravy recipe, my favourite veg restaurant that used to be in Winnipeg, Canada (they made a great poutine). They’ve since closed down all the locations in Manitoba but were excellent.
With ingredient similar to vegetable broth, it’s a very simple and inexpensive way to make homemade vegetarian gravy. While I also love mushroom and onion gravies, this is a nice recipe using basic ingredients – remember you can use tomato paste in place of wine – and goes well with just about any dish. Pictured is served over my dairy-free mashed potatoes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Broth: the broth will come through in the gravy, so use on you like. Homemade vegetable broth is of course a good option, but more time consuming.
- Wine: use a dry white wine. If you don’t use wine or would prefer not to include it, there’s an alternative in the recipe to use tomato paste instead.
- Celery: if you can’t get celery, swiss chard stems are a very good substitute.
- Cornstarch: substitute 1.5 times the amount of tapioca starch (noted in the recipe card) if preferred. I haven’t tested this with arrowroot or another type of starch, and note that the amounts needed will vary slightly.
- Thyme: substitute rosemary if you’d like.
Step by Step
Step 1: sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: add the thyme and spices.
Step 3: deglaze with the wine, then reduce the wine by about half.
Step 4: add the broth and cook for another 30 minutes with the lid tipped. Thicken with starch.
Step 5: strain the gravy through a fine sieve.
Step 6: serve gravy over potatoes or any other dish you’d like.
You don’t need to discard a cooked mirepoix (the celery, carrot, and onion mixture). Add the strained vegetables to soups, stews, or even pasta sauce as a good way to use it up rather than composting. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a day before adding to another meal.
This is a fairly light-tasting, more neutral type of gravy, and it doesn’t have an overwhelmingly umami flavour. It’s a good sauce but won’t overtake the dish you’re serving it with – but do note that it’s meant to be that way, and won’t carry a huge punch.
The recipe is fairly time-consuming, but it’s mostly inactive time and needed to get a good gravy. Browning is key here and you won’t get that with a quick cook.
I don’t know how much wine costs in other places these days, but I can currently get a standard bottle of organic wine for 6 euro in most parts of Western Europe. If wine is very expensive where you live, simply do the tomato paste substitute.
How to Store
Storage: keep vegan gravy in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat on the stove top.
Freezing: transfer cooled gravy to an airtight container and freeze up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as usual.
- Season to taste: the salt levels in broth will vary widely, so it’s a good idea to take the salt amount in the recipe card as a suggestion. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt as needed to suit your tastes.
- Cook down the wine: for the best overall flavour, and to prevent watery gravy, make sure to cook the wine down by about half before adding the broth. It cooks down very quickly so this only takes a few minutes.
- Use a good broth: stock cubes will work in a pinch, but a good rich homemade broth will make a difference here. If you want a better gravy, use your own broth.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 2-3 stalks celery diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves *
- 100 ml dry white wine or tomato paste**
- 450 ml vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Heat a saucepan over low-medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, 2-3 stalks celery, 2 cloves garlic
- Stir in the thyme, then add the wine. This will deglaze the pot, helping to lift anything that might have stuck to the bottom. The wine will immediately hit a high simmer, and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes to reduce by half.2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves *, 100 ml dry white wine
- Add the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid cracked to let steam escape.450 ml vegetable broth, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, whisking well with a fork to break up any lumps.1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Increase the heat to bring the gravy back up a low boil, then stir in the cornstarch mixture. Let the gravy simmer for another five minutes to thicken, then strain through a fine sieve.
- Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve hot.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.