If there’s a gravy you’ll want to eat by the spoonful, drink out of a thermos, or straight outta the stock pot like your favorite soup, let it be this vegetarian gravy.
Making gravy without drippings means vegetarians can enjoy plenty on top of mashed potatoes around the Thanksgiving table without worry. And even more so, it means you can easily make homemade gravy whenever the craving strikes. No need to roast a turkey or a chicken, and no need to wait for major holidays.
So, even if it’s a weeknight, grab that skillet and we’re making the best gravy ever, in just under 40 minutes on the stovetop!
The secret to making vegetarian gravy so flavorful, irresistibly good, and even better than the more traditional dipping version…is lots of fresh herbs.
Those are my go-to’s when it comes to fresh herbs in gravy. They DELIVER when it comes to flavor, and while I originally thought oregano would be optional after taste testing the side-by-side with and without it… the final verdict is it *definitely* adds so much to the final product!
You’ll also need yellow onion for flavor, the mild sweetness is ideal. If you have a white onion, you can also use it.
In addition to the fresh herbs and veggies, grab your most flavorful vegetable stock, and some vegetable bouillon. That’s secret number two; using a little extra adds more depth of flavor. Use it to make stock for this recipe too, instead of buying the boxes. It’s the most economical if you don’t have homemade available.
One more key ingredient that takes this gravy to the next level? Just a few drops of Worcestershire sauce for a well-rounded umami flavor. Be sure to grab a vegetarian version if you don’t eat fish, as its traditionally made with anchovies.
How to Make Vegetarian Gravy
It all starts by melting a stick of butter in a large skillet. Yes, a stick of butter, because if your gravy isn’t going to be indulgent, then what’s the point?! Saute diced yellow onion in the butter until it’s tender. This process releases so much flavor – and it’s gonna make your kitchen smell delectable!
Layer in the Flavor
Once tender, add smashed garlic and the sprigs of each herb. Smashed garlic is used for two reasons: one, it’s really stinkin’ easy. Peel, smash using the side of a knife and a good wack, and away you go. Crushing the garlic is also a wonderful way to infuse the gravy with lovely garlic flavor, without overpowering it.
And those entire sprigs of herbs? Yeah, that keeps things easy too. If you prefer, you can use a pouch with the herbs or tie them together.
After they bathe in the butter for a minute, move the sprigs of herbs aside to make it easier to whisk in the all-purpose flour. The flour will cook for a minute or two to remove any raw flour taste. Whisk frequently so it doesn’t burn.
Add the Liquid
In goes the remaining ingredients, slowly whisking in the vegetable stock until combined with the flour and onions. Make sure the bouillon is also completely stirred in the liquid, too.
Simmer away for about 15 minutes until thick. Be sure to taste test and add additional salt, and pepper if you desire. As the gravy cools slightly, the flavor continues to develop, which you’ll want to keep in mind so you don’t accidentally over-salt it.
Strain the Gravy
The final step in making meatless gravy into the smooth, luxurious, creamy sauce is to strain out the aromatics.
Use a bowl or a measuring cup with a fine mesh strainer resting on top to easily strain out the pieces of onion, garlic, and herbs. If your strainer isn’t fine enough, you can also line it with a cheesecloth before starting.
To make your life easier, remove the large sticks from the herbs using tongs before straining.
And be sure to get all the goodness squeezed out! Use the back of a spoon to gently press all of the gravy out of the bits and pieces. Now, it’s time to enjoy!
Time to Enjoy!
There’s no exaggeration when I tell you I licked the spatula and skillet clean once this gravy recipe was perfected! This means you can enjoy it in each and every way you can possibly think of, but here are some favorites:
- Over classic or rustic garlic mashed potatoes.
- Paired with Thanksgiving vegetarian dressing (…or stuffing).
- Or take stuffed Portobello mushrooms to the next level with a drizzle of gravy.
- I’ve also enjoyed it on breakfast strata – the ultimate breakfast for dinner!
- Speaking of, why not make vegetarian-friendly biscuits and gravy?!
Storage and Make Ahead Options
Place leftover gravy in an airtight container; I like to use a mason jar. Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop to enjoy again.
You can make this gravy ahead of time, and store it as just described. Or, to freeze, place it in a freezer-safe container with room for expansion – I highly recommend Souper Cubes for both preportioned measurements and safe freezing.
Thaw on the stovetop or in the microwave, and whisk until smooth.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Vegetarian Gravy with Fresh Herbs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
- 1 ½ cup yellow onion, diced, approx. 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary*
- ½ cup fresh thyme sprigs*
- ½ cup fresh sage sprigs*
- 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano*
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons Vegetable Bouillon
- 4 drops vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt, to taste
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, reducing the heat to medium-low if needed.½ cup unsalted butter, 1 ½ cup yellow onion
- Add the smashed garlic and the entire sprigs of herbs, stirring to coat in the butter and onion mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes.4 cloves garlic, 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary*, ½ cup fresh thyme sprigs*, ½ cup fresh sage sprigs*, 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano*
- Move the herbs to one side of the skillet (this makes whisking easier) and whisk the flour into the butter, cooking for 1-2 minutes while whisking to ensure it doesn't burn.¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock until the flour mixture is smoothly combined. Then, whisk in the bouillon and drops of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste test and add additional salt if needed.4 cups vegetable stock, 2 teaspoons Vegetable Bouillon, 4 drops vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, Kosher salt
- Use tongs to remove the large sprigs that remain (to make straining easier). Place a fine mesh sieve on the top of a bowl or glass measuring cup. Pour the gravy through to strain out the pieces of onion and herbs. Use the back of a spoon to press down to make sure you get every last drop. Discard the remnants and transfer the gravy to a gravy boat as desired.
- Enjoy over mashed potatoes or your favorite recipes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Yields approximately 2 cups of gravy. Easily double if needed (who doesn’t love more gravy?!).
- * Approximately 1/2 cup of each herb (1/2 ounce or 14 grams in weight).
- Make vegan using your favorite vegan butter.