Basic Vegan Gravy Recipe

Brown sauce being ladled out of saucepan, close up
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: about 1 cup gravy (serves 8)
Ratings (28)

This is a basic homemade vegetarian and vegan gravy recipe. What exactly is gravy, and why isn't it vegetarian? Gravy is traditionally made from the fat which drips off of meat when cooking with little more than a thickener added. Vegetarian gravy, however, adds flavor with a few seasonings and uses vegan margarine or a non-dairy vegan butter substitute as a fat. Along with margarine (or, use butter if you prefer and you aren't cooking for vegans), this vegetarian gravy recipe calls for onion, flour, garlic, and soy sauce. 

Many vegetarian gravy recipes call for mushrooms, which add a great "meaty" flavor, but this one does not, so it's perfect for people who hate mushrooms, Want to add a little more flavor? Add a touch of liquid smoke while you stir it all up. 

Making a vegetarian gravy can be a bit more of an art than an exact science, as timing, stirring and heat are everything, just like when making a meat-based gravy. You'll need to stir plenty in order to avoid those pesky lumps, just like when using the fat drippings from meat. So, stay close to your gravy while it's stove-top and don't be afraid to stir quite a bit, and, feel free to add more or less liquid as needed, but remember, your vegetarian gravy will thicken slightly as it cools just like a non-vegetarian gravy.

Use your homemade vegetarian and vegan to top off a homemade vegetarian lentil loaf, a pile of mashed potatoes or to accompany your vegan turkey at a vegetarian Thanksgiving.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp. vegan margarine or butter substitute (make sure it's vegan margarine if you need this recipe to be vegan)
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Optional: 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

How to Make It

  1. First, heat the vegan margarine or butter substitute over medium heat in a large skillet and sautée the onion for 2 minutes. Next, add in the flour and the garlic salt and sautée together for about 5 more minutes, stirring often to prevent the flour from burning.
  2. Add in the vegetable broth and the cornstarch, stirring to mix the cornstarch well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer over low or medium-low heat, stirring frequently to make sure no clumps are formed. Continue to stir as the gravy begins to thicken. 
  1. Add in the nutritional yeast and the soy sauce or tamari and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for one more minute, stirring. You can now add a little bit more liquid if needed, but do keep in mind that your vegetarian gravy will thicken up a bit as it cools. 

Enjoy your vegetarian gravy!

Recipe note:
Need this gravy to be gluten-free? Use a little extra corn starch instead of the flour, or, swap out the flour for a gluten-free flour, and be sure to omit the soy sauce and use tamari instead. 

Looking for more vegetarian gravy recipes to try? You might want to try this basic vegetarian gravy with mushrooms for something with a bit more texture, or, try this super creamy homemade vegetarian gravy recipe with miso