Gravy is a delicious and essential part of many meals. It is often used to enhance the flavor of dishes such as mashed potatoes, roasted meats, and even vegetables. However, not everyone can enjoy traditional gravy due to dietary restrictions or preferences. Fortunately, there are many types of gravy substitutes that can be used as an alternative.
Why Use a Gravy Substitute?
There are many reasons one might consider using a gravy substitute. Some people may have dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming traditional gravy made with meat or flour. Others may prefer not to use animal products or desire a lower fat alternative. Additionally, some may simply want to experiment with different flavors and textures.
One popular gravy substitute is mushroom gravy, which is made with sautéed mushrooms, vegetable broth, and seasonings. This option is not only vegetarian and low in fat, but it also adds a rich umami flavor to dishes. Another alternative is using a roux made with gluten-free flour, such as rice flour or cornstarch, to thicken a vegetable-based gravy.
Using a gravy substitute can also be a great way to add variety to your meals. For example, a miso-based gravy can add a savory, Asian-inspired twist to roasted vegetables or tofu. A cashew cream gravy can provide a creamy, nutty flavor to mashed potatoes or roasted squash. The possibilities are endless!
Types of Gravy Substitutes
There are several types of gravy substitutes to consider, from homemade to store-bought. Homemade substitutes offer the opportunity to experiment with flavors and ingredients, while store-bought options are convenient and readily available.
One popular homemade gravy substitute is a roux-based gravy, which is made by cooking flour and fat together to create a thickening agent. This can be combined with broth or stock to create a flavorful gravy. Another option is a mushroom gravy, which is made by sautéing mushrooms and onions in butter and then adding broth and seasonings.
For those who prefer store-bought options, there are several types of gravy mixes available, including chicken, beef, and turkey flavors. These mixes can be prepared quickly and easily by adding water or broth and heating on the stove. Another option is to use canned gravy, which can be found in most grocery stores and is a convenient option for those who need a quick and easy substitute.
Homemade Gravy Substitutes
Homemade gravy substitutes can be made using a variety of ingredients. One of the most popular methods involves using a roux-based gravy, which is made by combining flour and fat and cooking until browned. Other alternatives may include using oat flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot to thicken the gravy.
Another option for homemade gravy substitutes is to use vegetable or chicken broth as a base. This can be thickened with a cornstarch slurry or a mixture of flour and water. Adding herbs and spices such as thyme, sage, or rosemary can enhance the flavor of the gravy. Additionally, for a vegan option, nutritional yeast can be added to the broth for a savory, umami flavor.
Store-Bought Gravy Substitutes
Store-bought gravy substitutes are widely available and offer a quick and easy alternative. Many grocery stores carry a variety of gravy mixes, ranging from traditional gravies to those with alternative flavors such as mushroom or onion.
When selecting a store-bought gravy substitute, it is important to read the ingredients list carefully. Some mixes may contain high levels of sodium or artificial flavors and preservatives. Additionally, some brands may use animal-based ingredients, making them unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans. It is always a good idea to check the label and choose a product that aligns with your dietary preferences and needs.
Gluten-Free Gravy Substitutes
For those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, finding a gluten-free gravy substitute is essential. Gravy can be thickened using a variety of flours, such as rice or potato flour, or with alternative thickeners such as cornstarch or tapioca starch.
Another option for gluten-free gravy is to use arrowroot powder as a thickener. Arrowroot is a starchy substance that comes from the root of the arrowroot plant and is a great alternative to wheat flour. To use arrowroot powder as a thickener, mix it with cold water before adding it to the gravy. It’s important to note that arrowroot powder thickens quickly, so it’s best to add it slowly and stir constantly to avoid clumping.
Vegan Gravy Substitutes
Vegan gravy substitutes can be made using plant-based ingredients such as mushrooms, onions, or vegetable broth. Vegan gravy can also be made by using nutritional yeast or miso paste to add flavor and richness.
Another great option for vegan gravy is using coconut milk or almond milk as a base. These non-dairy milks add a creamy texture and subtle sweetness to the gravy. Additionally, adding herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage can enhance the flavor profile of the gravy. Experimenting with different ingredients and seasonings can lead to delicious and unique vegan gravy recipes.
Low-Fat Gravy Substitutes
For those looking to reduce their fat consumption, low-fat gravy substitutes are available. Some options may include using low-fat milk or yogurt as a base, using vegetable broth instead of meat-based broths, or using alternative thickeners such as cornstarch or arrowroot.
Another option for low-fat gravy substitutes is to use pureed vegetables such as carrots, onions, or mushrooms to add flavor and thickness. These vegetables can be cooked and blended with a small amount of broth or water to create a flavorful and healthy gravy.
It’s important to note that while low-fat gravy substitutes can be a healthier option, they may not have the same rich flavor as traditional gravies. To enhance the flavor, consider adding herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, or garlic to your low-fat gravy substitute.
Top 10 Gravy Substitute Recipes to Try at Home
There are countless recipes for gravy substitutes that can be made at home. Some popular options include creamy mushroom gravy, onion gravy, vegetarian gravy, and turkey gravy made with vegetable broth.
Another great option for a gravy substitute is using a roux-based sauce. This involves cooking flour and butter together to create a thick paste, then slowly adding in broth or milk to create a smooth sauce. You can also add in herbs and spices to customize the flavor to your liking. Another unique option is using miso paste to create a savory umami flavor in your gravy substitute. Experiment with different ingredients and techniques to find the perfect gravy substitute for your next meal.
How to Make a Roux-Based Gravy Substitute
To make a roux-based gravy substitute, begin by heating a small amount of fat such as butter or oil in a skillet. Add an equal amount of flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns a golden brown color. Slowly whisk in your liquid of choice, such as broth or milk, until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
One variation of this recipe is to add finely chopped onions, garlic, and herbs to the skillet before adding the flour. This will add extra flavor to the roux-based gravy substitute.
Another tip is to use a mixture of different liquids to create a unique flavor profile. For example, you could use a combination of chicken broth and red wine to make a rich and flavorful gravy substitute that pairs well with roasted meats.
Thickening Agents for Gravy Substitutes
There are many alternative options for thickening gravy substitutes. Some popular options include cornstarch, arrowroot, oat flour, or potato starch. These thickeners should be mixed with a cold liquid and added to the gravy slowly to prevent clumping.
Another option for thickening gravy substitutes is using a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat. The flour is cooked in the fat until it turns a light brown color, and then it is added to the gravy. This method adds a rich flavor to the gravy and can be used in place of traditional thickeners.
It is important to note that some thickeners may alter the taste or texture of the gravy. For example, cornstarch can make the gravy glossy and slightly sweet, while arrowroot can make it slightly slimy. It is best to experiment with different thickeners to find the one that works best for your desired taste and texture.
Using Broth as a Gravy Substitute
Broth can be used as a quick and easy alternative to traditional gravy. Simply heat the broth in a saucepan and add a thickening agent such as cornstarch or flour to achieve the desired consistency. Add additional flavorings such as garlic, herbs, or onion to enhance the flavor.
One advantage of using broth as a gravy substitute is that it is a healthier option. Traditional gravy is often made with butter or cream, which can add a lot of calories and fat to a dish. Broth, on the other hand, is low in calories and fat, making it a great choice for those who are watching their weight or trying to eat healthier.
Another benefit of using broth as a gravy substitute is that it is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. In addition to using it as a gravy substitute, broth can be used as a base for soups, stews, and casseroles. It can also be used to cook rice or pasta, adding extra flavor and nutrients to these dishes.
Adding Flavor to Your Gravy Substitute
Flavoring your gravy substitute can be done in a variety of ways. Adding herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or sage can add depth and complexity to the flavor. Garlic, onions, or mushrooms can also be added for additional richness.
Another way to add flavor to your gravy substitute is by using different types of broth or stock. For example, using beef broth instead of chicken broth can give your gravy a heartier flavor. You can also experiment with vegetable broth or mushroom stock for a vegetarian or vegan option.
If you want to add a touch of sweetness to your gravy, try adding a splash of apple cider vinegar or a spoonful of honey. This can balance out the savory flavors and add a unique twist to your gravy substitute. Just be sure to taste as you go, as a little goes a long way with these ingredients.
How to Store and Reheat Your Gravy Substitute
Gravy substitutes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within three to four days. To reheat, simply heat in a skillet or saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until heated through.
It is important to note that gravy substitutes should not be frozen, as this can alter the texture and flavor. If you have leftover gravy substitute that you know you won’t be able to consume within the recommended timeframe, consider halving the recipe or sharing with friends and family.
For an extra boost of flavor, try adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a pinch of dried herbs to your reheated gravy substitute. This will give it a delicious, savory taste that pairs well with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and other classic comfort foods.
Tips for Perfecting Your Gravy Substitute Recipe
When making gravy substitutes at home, there are a few tips that can help ensure success. Be sure to use the correct ratio of flour to liquid to achieve the desired consistency. Whisk constantly to prevent lumps, and be careful not to overcook the mixture as it can become too thick or clumpy.
Experimenting with different gravy substitutes can be a fun and delicious way to add variety to your meals, while also accommodating dietary restrictions or preferences. Whether making your own homemade version or using a store-bought option, there are many alternatives to traditional gravy that can be just as tasty and satisfying.
One option for a gravy substitute is using vegetable broth or stock instead of meat-based broths. This can be a great option for vegetarians or those looking to reduce their meat intake. Another alternative is using coconut milk or cream for a creamy and flavorful gravy substitute that is also dairy-free.
When adding seasonings to your gravy substitute, be sure to taste as you go and adjust accordingly. Adding too much salt or other seasonings can quickly overpower the dish. Consider using fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for a fragrant and flavorful addition to your gravy substitute.