Once you taste this rich and creamy vegan gravy, your holiday table will never be the same. Say goodbye to those mild-flavored, one-note gravies that leave everyone underwhelmed.
And despite being indulgent, this mushroom gravy is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free! It’s so flavorful you and your guests will want to drink it.
It’s the perfect pairing for vegan mashed potatoes and a must-make for any traditional holiday dinner.
Why this recipe works
A serious umami bomb!
Traditionally, gravy is made with meat, which is naturally rich in umami. So a great vegan gravy also needs that deep savory, meaty quality if it’s going to be included among your vegan Thanksgiving recipes.
First, mushrooms. While many vegetarian gravy recipes use onions as the base, I think a holiday gravy needs something bolder and richer in flavor.
To amp up the natural umami found in mushrooms, this recipe adds soy sauce and miso paste. Both pack in some serious savoriness that salt alone can’t bring (trust me, I’ve tried!) and enhance the mushrooms’ meatiness.
Packed with herbs and aromatics
Many gravy recipes use dried spices and herbs (e.g., onion and garlic powder, dried sage or thyme). But for a serious-flavored gravy that will win over even meat lovers at the holiday table, the fresh stuff is a lot more powerful.
First, shallots are sauteed in vegan butter or olive oil, then the shrooms, followed by a generous amount of minced garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary. The result: herbaceous, garlicky notes that beautifully complement the mushrooms.
Yes, it takes a bit more time than using dried herbs and spices, but it’s worth it for the holidays. Plus, you can make this gravy a few days ahead of time (more details in the Tips section).
This recipe scoops out a cup of the gravy, blends it, and then folds it back into the remaining gravy. This naturally thickens the gravy and gives it a luxuriously creaminess (something I do often with soups and stews, like this Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale).
At the same time, blending just a portion retains some of the mushrooms, which gives the gravy a meatier vibe (and nicer presentation).
If you prefer a totally smooth gravy without mushroom pieces, you could blend all of the gravy. Or, if you love the gravy as is, keep it unblended.
Mushrooms. They’re the star here! I like using a mix of cremini (which are inexpensive) and shiitake, which are bold and meaty-flavored, but you can opt for just cremini. If using shiitake, remove the tough stems first.
Soy sauce and miso. A double hit of fermented soy products make for an umami-rich and maximally flavor vegan gravy.
Substitute: If you have a soy allergy, use (1) double the nutritional yeast and (2) a concentrated vegetable broth, like this vegan “chicken-flavored” broth seasoning or Better than Bouillion no-chicken base (affiliate links).
I don’t recommend coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce, as it has a slightly sweet taste.
Vegan butter. I like using it for that rich buttery flavor, but feel free to use extra virgin olive oil
Fresh herbs. Fresh thyme and rosemary add a lovely woodsy depth of flavor here.
Substitute: You can sub sage for either herb. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, use a teaspoon each of the dried herbs, but it won’t have the same flavor.
Tip: Near the holidays, many grocery stores sell packages of “poultry herbs,” which combine rosemary and thyme with sage or marjoram, so you don’t have to buy all the herbs separately.
Red wine. Red wine plays multifaceted roles in this vegan gravy.
First, the acidity cuts through some of the richness. Second, the compounds in wine bring an extra depth of flavor (think subtly earthy and fruity flavors) and enhance the meatiness of mushrooms. Finally, cooking the wine down adds a jammy, rich body.
Substitute: Don’t drink alcohol? Check out the FAQ section.
Nutritional yeast. A natural source of glutamate (e.g., umami), nooch adds to the overall savoriness of this gravy.
Balsamic vinegar. A tiny splash of good-quality balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar) brightens all the flavors. The acidity really awakens the rich flavors, especially if the gravy has been made in advance.
Heat half of the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots for 3 minutes until golden. Add the rest of the butter, followed by the mushrooms. Cook for 8-10 minutes until nicely browned and the water has been released.
Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the red wine, vegetable broth, and soy sauce. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the wine, whisking frequently.
Next, add in your “roux” (nutritional yeast, plant milk, and cornstarch stirred together). Whisk constantly to combine. Add in the miso paste, stir well, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
If a thicker texture is desired, scoop out 1 cup of gravy and blend in a blender, then return to pan and stir to combine.
Tips for making this recipe
Make gravy ahead of time for a stress-free holiday!
The benefit of vegan gravy (in addition to being better for the animals!) is you can make it 1 to 3 day ahead of time (no need to wait until the turkey is being cooked). It tastes just as good on the day it was made.
Store it covered in the fridge and reheat on the big day. The gravy does thicken as it rests, so when reheating it, add a couple splashes of water or veggie broth to thin it out to your desired consistency.
This recipe uses low-sodium veg broth and just a couple pinches of salt because (1) you get a good amount of salty savoriness from both the soy sauce and miso, and (2) as the gravy simmers, the flavors will become concentrated.
Don’t season with too much salt early on. If needed, you can always season with a pinch or two of salt at the end.
Blend (or not) for your preferred texture. If you want a smooth gravy, you can blend all of the gravy. It will thicken quite a lot, so you can use less cornstarch or more broth.
If you want lots of mushroom pieces and not as creamy of a texture, skip the blending.
I like a happy medium: blend one cup of gravy to naturally thicken and mix it with the rest of the unblended gravy. You get creaminess but still retain some texture from the mushrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
With Mashed Potatoes, obviously! If you have my cookbook The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, it would be great over the Millet-Cauliflower Mash for something a little lighter than mashed potatoes, or over the Polenta for some crazy good rustic Italian comfort food.
It’s also amazing with my Vegan Wellington! That recipe has an easy vegan gravy, but this one would certainly take things over the top.
If you’re making biscuits for the holiday or a lentil/seitan “meatloaf,” this gravy will definitely jazz things up.
Yes, as long as you use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce! Many gravy recipes use flour to thicken, but since this one uses cornstarch, it works great for those on a gluten-free diet.
The most important rule is to pick a wine you wouldn’t mind drinking on its own. It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle though, just something drinkable. Just avoid bottles labeled “cooking wines.”
Any dry red wine should work here, but if you’re not sure, you can always choose a Pinot Noir, Malbec, or Merlot. You can use Barnivore.com to check that your wine is vegan-friendly.
The alcohol does cook off, but if you don’t drink any alcohol, you can try adding a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to deglaze, along with a little extra vegetable broth.
The gravy will have less complexity and body without the red wine, but it will still be good.
Store cooled gravy in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat, thinning out with a bit of vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.
That’s all you need to know about this luscious Vegan Mushroom Gravy! If you love it as much as I do, please be sure to rate and review it below :) Your feedback is super helpful for us!
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil, divided (I used vegan butter)
- 1 cup (120g) diced shallots (3-4 medium shallots)
- Kosher salt + freshly cracked black pepper
- 16 ounces (454g) cremini and/or shiitake mushrooms*, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) plant-based milk of choice (can sub veggie broth)
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Malbec, or Merlot)**
- 2 cups (480 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth, , at room temperature or warmed***
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (use tamari for GF)
- 1 tablespoon white miso (AKA shiro miso)
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vegan butter or olive oil. Once melted or hot, add the diced shallots with a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until translucent and golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or oil and the mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring only occasionally so they get some color, until the mushrooms release their liquid and are nicely browned.
- While mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the nutritional yeast, cornstarch and plant-based milk.
- Add the minced garlic, thyme, rosemary and season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and several cracks of black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until very fragrant.
- Add the red wine, vegetable broth, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently and allow to boil for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off the wine. Add the nutritional yeast roux to the pan, whisking constantly to make sure it dissolves and thickens, about 2 minutes. Then add in the miso paste and stir well to incorporate it into the gravy. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking very frequently, until the flavors have melded together.
- If you want a smoother and creamier consistency, scoop out 1 cup of gravy (about 2 ladles) into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the blended gravy back to the pan and mix together.
- Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and taste. Add salt or pepper to taste. Finish with chopped parsley, if using.