Nov 7, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving gravy

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m all about the gravy. Mashed potatoes just wouldn’t be the same without it. I can make a lowfat turkey gravy, but the others at the table want the real (fat) thing, so I’ve started making a separate vegetarian gravy instead. This healthy vegan gravy is as flavorful as the turkey version – maybe even more so – thanks to pureed roasted shallots and garlic and marsala wine (madeira would be a nice substitute.)

I find that a lot of vegan gravy recipes are overwhelmed by too much nutritional yeast, so I’ve just used a tablespoon here to add a subtle poultry-like flavor. I also tried using dried porcini mushrooms in this recipe, but preferred the milder flavor of fresh mushrooms.  I’ve also kept this fairly low in fat per serving. So feel free to pour it onto your mashed potatoes and stuffing with abandon. It’s Thanksgiving, after all!

Vegan Gravy

6 medium shallots, unpeeled
4-6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces cremini (a.k.a. baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup madeira wine (or dry port or marsala)
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
3 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Toss the shallots and garlic with a teaspoon of oil and place in a baking dish. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove garlic, but if shallots are not completely soft, roast for another 15 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool, then squeeze the soft insides out of the skin into a food processor. Deglaze the roasting pan with a tablespoon of water or additional marsala and add to the food processor. Puree until smooth. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms and thyme until mushrooms are very soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the marsala and mix well, then whisk in the vegetable broth. Add remaining ingredients, including the pureed shallots and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Note: if reheating later, you will need to add additional wine or vegetable broth to thin the gravy out.

Serves 6-8

See more recipes: Holiday recipes, Side dishes, Vegan


  • Janet Flemer

    SO good, I was a lucky lucky guinea pig for this.

  • Wow. This is going to make John so happy. I guess it’s time to break down and buy some nutritional yeast.!

  • That looks and sounds delicious! I am not vegetarian, much less vegan, but I do enjoy cooking and eating many animal-free meals.

  • Jenna

    This looks delicious! I’m going to use it with this tofurkey recipe :) :) :)

  • Britt

    I made this tonight. It’s the best vegan gravy I’ve made yet. Thanks!

  • amy

    is there a non alcocholic substitute for the wine? or just extra veg broth? thanks

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    The alcohol does cook off, but for a non-alcoholic version, I’d do veg broth plus maybe a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

  • Nuni

    I know many people will say nothing is better than meat gravy but I can’t stand the flavor of animal flesh. That said – let me tell you that my sister went crazy over this gravy and I feel it is the best ever. I didn’t make any substitutions, but I did vary a few quantities based on my flavor preferences and necessity. I caramelized the shallots instead of roasting just because I love shallots that way, but I I did roast the garlic as instructed because I wouldn’t have that any other way! I used double the mushrooms because I love a strong mushroom flavor, and I used an extra 1/2 cup of marsala because I was 1/2 cup short of vegetable broth. Wow!

  • This is the best gravy I have ever made/tasted! Thanks so much for the recipe :)

  • Noni


    I have been looking for a good vegetarian/vegan gravy forever. The recipes always looked so bland that I didn’t even bother, but the second I saw this one I knew I HAD to try it. So many flavor packed ingredients! Shallots, marsala, mustard…. <3

    I will definitely be making this for Thanksgiving!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Noni, I’m so glad you liked it! I agree, this is great stuff. I hope more people make this for Thanksgiving 2011.

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  • […] foods – but it’s easy to go a little overboard. Mix it up a bit with a batch of this vegan gravy, featuring wild mushrooms, wine and tamari. Or if you want to keep it traditional, check out […]

  • Brea

    I know this is an old post but I had to say, I made this gravy along with a meal I made for my boyfriend and holy crap. This is the best gravy I’ve ever had. Period. We literally fought and argued over who got the leftovers. So, so good. Endless thank yous!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Cool, I’m so happy you loved the gravy!!

  • Barbara

    Great vegan recipe. We have changed to a whole foods, plant based diet in the last 9 months and find it hard to try vegan versions of things we used to eat. This is great!!!! Thank you. I pureed mine in the blender once cooked, as I used 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms instread of the fresh cremini. We love mushrooms. I rehydrated them for quite a while in the marsala and some water that I later included in the veggie broth amount. Delicious.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Barbara, that’s great to hear. I’ll try it with dried mushrooms next time!

  • Im making this for Thanksgiving…sounds so yummy!!

  • emi k

    this gravy was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i subbed the marsala for dry white wine and it was delicious. YUM!!!

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  • Andrew

    Any thoughts about making this in the slow cooker? I’m imagining it would be a huge time-saver to do the roasting of garlic and shallots on Wednesday (Thanksgiving Eve, as we refer to it in my family), and then assemble the parts in the slow cooker on Thursday morning to simmer until dinner. I’ll need to leave out the mushrooms (food allergy), but otherwise make as is. Has anyone had any experience generating a slow cooker version of this? Thanks!

  • Hi. No experience with slow cookers, sorry! Having said that, mushrooms are a key part of the flavor here, so I’m not sure what this gravy will be like without them. As an alternate, you might try this gravy recipe instead: It’s really good, too!

  • Patti

    Re: Vegan Gravy

    Am I to pulverize the sliced mushrooms after they’ve cooked or leave them as-is in when I stir it all together at the end?

  • Hi Patti. I left the mushrooms as is!

  • tikky

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. I think I am going to try it tonight . I have a question to ask, do you know if it would make much different if I leave out the nutritional yeast since I don’t have any? Thanks.

  • Hi Tikky. I think it will still be good. Do you have any miso? A tablespoon of that would add flavor in place of the yeast. Let me know how it turns out!

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  • Misha

    This recipe has the best comments, so it’s my number one choice for Thanksgiving 2014. Do you have a recommendation for a gluten-free replacement for the AP flour, one that you’ve used? Since you can’t really strain this recipe due to the mushrooms, I want to avoid clumps. Thanks!

  • Hi Misha. Glad you’re going to try it. I haven’t experimented with gluten-free flours but I have high hopes!

  • I make this gravy every holiday, it’s so good! Getting ready for Thanksgiving :)

  • […] but obviously gravy is REQUIRED for the holidays. Here‘s how to make it animal […]

  • val

    Stumbled on this recipe searching for vegan gravy for thanksgiving. So glad I did. It is fantastic. So full of flavor. Will use this for the next 25 years. Thanks!

  • I made this for 20 carnivores this Thanksgiving and ALL loved it! Thanks!

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  • Ken

    Question, I’m a non oil vegan. If I delete the oil, will it still work or are there any substitutes that can replace the oil? Does look yummy!

  • Anne

    Don’t even think about it, just MAKE it. This is such a delicious gravy. I would suggest buying a better than average marsala. You don’t use much and it enhances the flavor, which is great to begin with. I use an immersion blender to smooth it out after it is completely assembled (good for those who maybe don’t like the texture of mushrooms). I discovered this recipe a few years ago and now make it year-round, freezing small batches of it. (October 2017)

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks so much, Anne!

  • colleen

    does this recipe freeze well?

  • Anne

    Yes, it freezes beautifully. Doesn’t separate upon thawing. I do blend it thoroughly with an immersion blender, though, so that could help the freezing/thawing process.

  • Mish

    How much ahead of time can you make this and it still be tasty and fresh?

  • Anne

    The gravy I have made lasts quite well for three to four days, maybe more. I would like to add the shallots I use are from Trader Joe’s and they are large. The size of small apricots, and I use three or four. Ditto, the garlic is large. Roasting them thoroughly (shallots will take longer) per instructions until they are super soft is important and helps the taste mellow. Also, slicing the mushrooms paper thin (if you can) before sautéeing or using an immersion blender once the gravy is done adds to its toothsome appeal.

  • Anne

    Mish – I didn’t answer directly, it is even better made at least a day ahead. Gives the ingredients a chance to go out on a few dates and get married.

  • Whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks for everyone who is making this again this year. I made the Jamie Oliver vegan gravy recently, and I have to say, mine kicks Jamie’s butt :)

  • Donna Layton

    This made my Vegan heart happy! I had it for Thanksgiving and am making it again for Christmas!!

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