The holiday season is almost up on us – or as I like to call it gravy season. Why is it gravy season? Because just about any holiday meal is made better with a little gravy!
Gravy isn’t just for holiday meals. It’s a terrific addition to cold weather comfort food dishes such as lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, and even breakfast biscuits.
Growing up, gravy was made with water and a powder that came a little packet. I had no idea that people made it from scratch! After going vegetarian, since I didn’t know how to cook it, I started buying Tofurky’s mushroom gravy for holidays. I still really love it.
This Cashew Mushroom Gravy is a little different from other gravy recipes in that it’s thickened with soaked raw cashews rather than the traditional flour. It was inspired by the first gravy recipe from scratch on my own, which came from a little recipe card that came in the mail from Peta many years ago. It’s creamier and thicker than your typical gravy, and the blended cashews make it quit lush.
I’ve used gravy browner to darken the color of this gravy. I hadn’t heard of it until I was recipe testing for a cookbook a few years ago. It does exactly what the name says – brown gravy. Without it, the color of this condiment would be a pale beige. It doesn’t affect the taste, so it’s totally optional. Kitchen Bouquet and Gravy Master are both vegan, and they can usually be found in the same grocery store aisle as those powdered gravy packets.
Preparing Thanksgiving and Christmas can be hectic, and often there isn’t much room on the stove. This Creamy Vegan Cashew Mushroom Gravy can be made ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to eat. It can even be frozen and defrosted on the day of your feast. If it gets too thick when reheated, add a little more water or vegetable stock.
This gravy is gluten-free, so it’s a great option for those at your holiday table who are wheat intolerant.
Creamy Vegan Cashew Mushroom Gravy
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- Pinch salt
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups vegetable stock, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 3 tablespoons tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon gravy browner, optional
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
Add the vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and cook until they begin to brown and become fragrant.
Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook until the mushrooms brown.
Add the red wine to deglaze then pan.
While the mushrooms are cooking, combine the cashews, stock, tamari, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and gravy browner, if using, in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time.
Transfer the mixture to the pan with the mushrooms, and stir in the thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and is heated throughout. If the gravy gets too thick, you can thin it with a little more vegetable stock or water.
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