Are you looking for a hearty vegetarian gravy recipe without meat pan drippings? This gravy gets its flavor from butter, mushrooms, spices and a secret ingredient that gives it an extra yum-factor. Finally, a rich vegetarian mushroom gravy that’s delicious and easy to make! (Vegan version also included below)
Over decades of being a vegetarian, I’ve had time to experiment with thousands of recipe basics. Having grown up in the southern USA (southwest, really) one of those basics is gravy. Gravy is a staple in most southern kitchens, and not just during traditional holidays. Oh, no, in the south, gravy is poured on top of so many dishes and it takes many forms. From a basic white gravy to the unctuous gravies made with rich, fatty bird-pan drippings… at least one solid gravy recipe is a must for any self-respecting Southern cook. That’s why I depend on this perfect vegetarian mushroom gravy because it always turns out… perfect! 😀
One of my favorite foods for all time is mashed potatoes and to be honest… for me, mashed potatoes need gravy. And butter… but that’s obvious, isn’t it? So, it was necessary for me to create the best gravy recipe that would satisfy the gravy requirement for my mashed potato cravings.
I’m not really a fan of white gravy… its just too pasty and blah for my taste buds. So, when I started testing gravy recipes, I had to find something that would provide the robustness of meat-drippings gravy.
You might be a little surprised with my solution.
Let’s Make Some Yummy Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
I start first with the fresh mushrooms, which add a bit of weight and flavor depth to the gravy; some cut into slices, some chopped. I love mushrooms whatever way you want to prepare them… and they’re perfect in this gravy.
In fact, I could tend to get carried away with adding mushrooms into this gravy… but don’t! You need just a few for flavor. First, I add a bay leaf to melted butter in a small sauce pan, and when the bay leaf starts to sizzle, I add the mushrooms, then some onion powder, garlic powder and finely ground black pepper. I don’t add fresh onions or garlic because I want the gravy to be absolutely smooth, except for the mushrooms.
Next, I add some flour to start making a roux and enough vegetable stock or water to begin making a smooth paste. Then – here’s my secret ingredient – I add a bit of soy sauce! If you thought that soy sauce can only be used in Asian-inspired foods, think again! Soy sauce has some amazing applications, especially in vegetarian cooking and this is one of them. It’s umami quality (that elusive “fifth” taste) gives a rich, dense, brothy element to the gravy that takes it way out of the white gravy range and into the perfect vegetarian mushroom gravy range… you have to try it to believe it.
As the gravy thickens on the stove, I add more stock/water occasionally to make a thick and creamy gravy. It’s really that simple.
For finishing, I add a pinch or two of poultry seasoning (dry powder, nothing that has chicken stock in it – just the dry mix that contains thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, black pepper and nutmeg.
The second version of this vegetarian mushroom gravy is exactly the same, but if you want a creamier gravy, you add a bit of milk or sour cream just before serving – a little goes a long way. It’s also amazing like that.
As mentioned, I love this gravy on mashed potatoes, but it is also great as a stroganoff sauce (with more sour cream) or in casseroles, or whatever you can think of!
If you want a vegan version of this mushroom gravy, you can simply replace the butter with the oil of your choice, although I would avoid olive oil due to its strong taste that will not help this gravy. Even coconut oil (which I adore!) might be a tad too strong here. I’d opt for a simple sunflower or safflower oil, or if you have a specialty oil on hand, like avocado, hemp or walnut oil, those would add some delicious depth to the gravy.
This vegetarian mushroom gravy is perfect for vegetarian holiday dinners (or for vegetarians who might be guests at your holiday dinner table – they will love you if you make this easy gravy so they can indulge!) or for anytime! Have fun and enjoy!
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Perfect Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
- ¼ cup fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 TBSP flour
- 1 large bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon powdered poultry seasoning
- 1-2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce, to taste
- optional: sour cream, milk or cream
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat
- When butter is melted add bay leaf. Wait for the bay leaf to begin sizzling
- Add in onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and stir.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are cooked and all of their water has evaporated
- Remove mushrooms from pan and reserve in a small bowl, pressing to keep most of the butter in the sauce pan
- Return pan to burner and add flour, whisking to incorporate into a thick paste
- Add ½ teaspoon soy sauce and whisk into the paste
- Add vegetable stock or water and whisk, cooking on medium-low heat until the gravy begins to thicken
- Add additional stock/water if needed to make a thick sauce
- Add sautéd mushrooms back into the gravy and stir to distribute
- Check sauce for salt. If more soy sauce is needed, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste)
- You may opt to add a little salt instead of more soy, depending on the strength of your soy sauce and your preference
- Finish by adding a pinch or two of poultry seasoning and stirring to blend in
- For creamier gravy, stir in 1-2 teaspoons of sour cream, milk or cream just before serving