A savoury, full bodied and rich vegan onion gravy that you’ll want to pour over everything! This utterly delicious and flavourful brown gravy is perfect when you need a meat free option, that even meat eaters will love.
But here’s why you’re going to love this version
- It’s not only vegan and vegetarian friendly, it’s also gluten free, easily made oil free and a perfectly allergen friendly option.
- This onion gravy is very easy to make! Although it takes a bit of time to cook down the onions, the steps are simple and the ingredients are minimal. Plus, it uses items you probably already have in your fridge or pantry.
- Mega flavourful! Red wine gives this onion gravy so much body and depth, that you’ll never make gravy any other way.
Is it healthy?
Now gravy generally isn’t diet friendly, but this version uses FAR less butter or oil than your typical gravy sauces.
With only 1 tablespoon of butter (which you may omit), no meat drippings and wholesome ingredients, I think we can safely call this a healthier gravy.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather all your ingredients and then finely chop your onion. That’s as far as prep goes!
Now, melt the butter, if using, and then add the finely chopped onion to your sauce pot. (photo 1-2)
Cook the onions over medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to turn very golden, almost paste like, and ever so slightly brown. (photo 3)
Next, you’ll add your wine, if using. Cook that down for 2-3 minutes, until reduced by about half. (photos 4-6)
Then add all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the cornstarch slurry and simmer for about 10 minutes. (photo 7)
As the sauce is cooking, prepare your cornstarch slurry. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. (photos 8-9)
Once your gravy has simmered for about 10 minutes, you’ll then pour in the cornstarch slurry. (photos 10-11)
Whisk well and continue simmering for another 2-3 minutes to allow your onion gravy to thicken. (photos 12-13)
Serve your vegan onion gravy with mashed potatoes, or any of your favourite dishes.
How to thicken gravy
You may use cornstarch or flour to thicken gravy.
For this recipe, I’m using the cornstarch method, but if you need a corn free option, you may use flour instead.
Start by making a cornstarch slurry. Never add the cornstarch directly into your gravy, or you will end up with lumps.
To make the slurry, use a small bowl to combine two tablespoons of cornstarch and two tablespoons of cold water. Don’t use hot water or it will get lumpy!
Whisk the starch and water until completely smooth. Then pour the mixture (aka cornstarch slurry) into your simmering sauce, soup, or anything you wish to thicken.
Use a 1:1 ratio of starch and water, and as many tablespoons as needed to reach desired thickness. As a general rule of thumb, use one tablespoon of cornstarch for every cup of sauce or broth you want to thicken.
Similar to the cornstarch method, you want to make a slurry first. It’s best not to dump the flour into your hot liquids, as it will get lumpy.
Mix equal parts of flour (use gluten free if needed) and cold water. Stir the mixture into your sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes, or so, to cook out the raw flour taste.
The main difference between these two options is that flour requires about twice as much to get the same thickness as cornstarch.
So to make this onion gravy with flour, you’d use four tablespoons of flour and four tablespoons of water, instead of two.
How to store
If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If your vegan onion gravy gets too thick, thin it down with a little water or broth when reheating.
You may also freeze this onion gravy for up to 3 months. Be sure to let it completely cool first, and then freeze in an airtight container.
What substitutions can I make?
For oil free: omit the butter and use water or vegetable broth to cook down the onions. Make sure to add more as needed to prevent sticking.
To make it corn free: sub the cornstarch for white or whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten free flour. But make sure to double up the amount since cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour. (So use four tablespoons, not two.)
For wine free: you may simply omit this step entirely if you cannot consume wine or alcohol. No substitution is needed.
- Make sure to use LOW sodium vegetable broth. If you do not have low sodium broth, use only half the amount of tamari or soy sauce called for.
- Do not skip making the slurry. You don’t want to dump cornstarch (or flour) into your simmering gravy or it will get lumpy.
- Make sure to use cold water to make your slurry (NOT hot). Then pour the slurry into your simmering gravy to prevent lumps.
- For picky eaters, you may puree your vegan onion gravy once cooked, to make it smooth with no onion pieces.
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- 2 tablespoons vegan butter *skip for oil free, see notes
- 2 small yellow onions finely chopped
- ⅓ cup red wine
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
For the Slurry
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Melt the butter (if using) in a small sauce pot and add the finely chopped onions. Cook over medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the onions to be very golden, almost paste like and just starting to brown.
- Then add the red wine, if using, and cook for 2-3 minutes to reduce the wine by about half. Now add the broth, tamari, vinegar and all the seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Meanwhile, make your cornstarch slurry by whisking together the corn starch and water in a small bowl. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Then pour the slurry into your gravy and simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken the sauce.