The Secret Ingredient For Rich And Creamy Vegan Gravy

Ah, gravy. The smooth and savory combination of stock, flour, and roasted meat drippings that gently kisses a plate of food with a touch of richness. Some like 'em thick and hearty, especially in the United States, while others want their sauce to be thinner like French jus, per MasterClass.

To use pan drippings to make delicious sauces like creamy country gravy, add the juices from the pan into a measuring cup while storing the fat in a bowl. The pan should then be deglazed with some wine, stirred for a bit, and poured into the measuring cup. Put the fat back into said cooking vessel, heat it up, and then create a roux using flour and the mixture from the measuring cup. When the gravy becomes nice and thick, add some seasonings and relish in your restaurant-worthy cooking skills (via MasterClass).

But when it comes to making vegan gravy, you can't use drippings from roasted meat, meat-based stock, or in some cases, even wine. According to PETA, winemakers commonly use fining agents made from animal products, such as fish oil, gelatin, and bone marrow, to filter out unwanted particles and substances from the wine liquid. Vegan wines are available though.

Fortunately, cooking up a vegan gravy is possible, thanks to the use of vegetables, veggie stock, and maybe even some Marmite, per Jamie Oliver. But if you find it needs a boost of flavor and creaminess, add the following secret ingredient.

Why you should use lentils for vegan gravy

Who would've thought that lentils are borderline essential for delicious vegan gravy? The legumes can turn your sauce thick and creamy with lots of heartiness to it, per The Washington Post. That's because the magic of lentils, which come in several types, lies in how soft and mushy they get after being boiled; no blender is needed to break them down either — though you might want to use one if you want a smoother consistency (via Kitchn). 

A recipe from Going Vegan For Health suggests the key to great flavor in a vegan lentil gravy is cooking the seeds in vegetable broth. When the lentils have absorbed all the liquid, you can mix in other ingredients, such as almond milk and tamari, and seasonings like onion powder and garlic powder. If you want an even thicker and smoother gravy, you can stir in a mixture of water and cornstarch, then whip out an immersion blender and go to town.

Another recipe from The Washington Post also suggests incorporating some white miso into vegan gravy for a more umami-forward approach. As MasterClass explains, this ingredient can elevate a dish with its sweet and nutty notes but is mild enough to not overpower.

Next time a gravy recipe calls for a vegan spin, reach for some lentils. Packed with protein and fiber (per Healthline), they're perfect for that thick and creamy gravy texture we all know and love.