Gravy is a sauce that is commonly used as a topping for meat dishes. It is typically made by thickening meat juices with flour or cornstarch. Although gravy is a delicious addition to any meal, it comes with a few health concerns. Additionally, vegans and vegetarians often prefer to avoid gravy since it is typically made with meat juices. In this article, we will explore various substitutes for gravy that you can use in your recipes.
Why look for a substitute for gravy?
While gravy is a classic sauce that has been popularized by many recipes, it can cause some health concerns when consumed in excess. Gravy is high in fat and sodium, both of which can lead to heart disease. Additionally, gravy can be difficult to digest for people who have digestive issues. If you want to avoid these health concerns but still enjoy the savory taste of gravy, then a substitute may be the right solution for you.
One great substitute for gravy is a mushroom sauce. This sauce is made from sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and herbs, and can be thickened with a bit of flour or cornstarch. It has a rich, savory flavor that is similar to gravy, but is much lower in fat and sodium. Additionally, mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and minerals, making this sauce a healthier option overall.
Another option for a gravy substitute is a vegetable-based sauce. This can be made from roasted vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery, that are pureed and seasoned with herbs and spices. This sauce is low in fat and sodium, and is a great way to add extra nutrients to your meal. It also has a unique, earthy flavor that pairs well with many different dishes.
What are the common ingredients in gravy?
The traditional ingredients in gravy are meat drippings, flour, and stock or water. Some recipes may also include seasonings like salt, pepper, and herbs for added flavor. Unfortunately, these ingredients can often pose a problem for people who are trying to avoid meat products or gluten.
For those who are avoiding meat products, there are vegetarian and vegan gravy options available. These gravies typically use vegetable stock or mushroom broth as a base, and may use ingredients like nutritional yeast or soy sauce to add a savory flavor.
For those who are avoiding gluten, there are also gluten-free gravy options available. These gravies typically use a gluten-free flour, such as rice flour or cornstarch, as a thickener. It’s important to check the labels of any pre-made gravies, as they may contain gluten or other allergens.
The health problems associated with using gravy
As mentioned earlier, gravy is high in fat and sodium, which can contribute to heart disease. Additionally, some people may experience digestive issues when consuming gravy in large amounts. These issues include bloating, gas, and indigestion.
Furthermore, consuming gravy on a regular basis can lead to weight gain and obesity. This is because gravy is often used as a topping or sauce for high-calorie foods such as mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and biscuits. Over time, the excess calories from gravy can add up and contribute to an unhealthy body weight. It is important to consume gravy in moderation and pair it with healthier food options to maintain a balanced diet.
Vegan and vegetarian substitutes for gravy
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you may want to avoid traditional gravy made with meat drippings. Luckily, there are several substitutes available that can provide a similar taste and texture. One popular vegan substitute for gravy is mushroom gravy, which is made with a mixture of mushrooms, vegetable broth, and herbs. Another option is to use a roux made from soy milk and flour as a base for the gravy.
For those who prefer a more savory flavor, nutritional yeast can be added to the mushroom gravy or roux to give it a cheesy taste. Additionally, vegetable bouillon cubes or miso paste can be used to add depth and richness to the gravy. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find the perfect vegan or vegetarian gravy for your next meal.
Quick and easy substitutes for gravy
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to make a homemade substitute, there are plenty of store-bought options available too. Many grocery stores carry instant gravy mixes that can be made in just a few minutes by adding hot water. These mixes come in a wide range of flavors and can be a convenient solution for a last-minute meal.
Another quick and easy substitute for gravy is to use a can of cream of mushroom soup. Simply heat the soup in a saucepan and add a little bit of milk or water to thin it out to your desired consistency. This method is especially delicious when served over mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional gravy, try making a vegetable-based gravy using ingredients like onions, carrots, and celery. Simply sauté the vegetables in a little bit of oil until they are soft and then add vegetable broth and seasonings like thyme and rosemary. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until it thickens and then blend it until it is smooth. This gravy is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients.
The best store-bought substitutes for gravy
If you’re looking for a high-quality store-bought gravy substitute, there are several options available. One popular brand is Better Than Gravy, which offers a variety of flavors that are suitable for different diets. Another option is Imagine Foods, which makes a delicious vegetable gravy that is gluten-free and vegan.
For those who prefer a more traditional taste, McCormick’s Brown Gravy Mix is a great option. It’s easy to prepare and has a rich, savory flavor that pairs well with mashed potatoes and roasted meats. Another brand to consider is Pacific Foods, which offers a range of organic and non-GMO gravies made with high-quality ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a vegan, gluten-free, or classic gravy option, there’s a store-bought substitute out there that will meet your needs.
How to make homemade substitutes for gravy
If you prefer to make your own substitutes at home, there are several recipes available online. For example, you can make a simple gravy substitute by mixing cornstarch, soy sauce, and vegetable broth. Another option is to make a roux from flour and vegan butter, and then add vegetable broth and seasonings to create a rich, savory sauce.
It’s important to note that homemade substitutes for gravy may require some experimentation to get the flavor and consistency just right. Don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe to your liking by adding more or less of certain ingredients. Additionally, some substitutes may not have the same texture or thickness as traditional gravy, but can still add a delicious flavor to your dishes.
Tips for using substitutes for gravy in your recipes
When using a gravy substitute in your recipes, you may need to make some adjustments to the flavor and texture. For example, if you’re using a store-bought mix, you may want to add extra herbs or seasonings to enhance the flavor. Additionally, if you’re using a homemade substitute, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid or thickener to achieve the right consistency.
Another tip for using substitutes for gravy in your recipes is to consider the type of dish you’re making. For example, if you’re making a beef stew, a red wine reduction can be a great substitute for traditional beef gravy. If you’re making a vegetarian dish, a mushroom-based gravy can add a rich, savory flavor. It’s important to choose a substitute that complements the other flavors in your dish and doesn’t overpower them.
Frequently asked questions about substitutes for gravy
Q: Are gravy substitutes healthy?
A: Many gravy substitutes are healthier than traditional gravy since they are made with less fat and sodium. However, it’s important to check the label or recipe to ensure that the ingredients are suitable for your dietary needs.
Q: Can I use a gravy substitute in any recipe?
A: Gravy substitutes can be used in most recipes that call for traditional gravy. However, you may need to make some adjustments to the recipe to achieve the right flavor and consistency.
Q: Will a gravy substitute taste as good as traditional gravy?
A: That depends on the specific substitute that you use and your personal taste preferences. Some substitutes may taste very similar to traditional gravy, while others may have a slightly different flavor.
In conclusion, there are plenty of substitutes available for traditional gravy that can provide a similar taste and texture. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for a healthier option, there are plenty of options available that can satisfy your cravings.
Q: What are some common substitutes for gravy?
A: Some common substitutes for gravy include mushroom gravy, onion gravy, tomato-based gravy, and vegetable-based gravy. These substitutes can be made with a variety of ingredients, such as mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and vegetable broth, and can be seasoned to taste.
Q: Can I make my own gravy substitute?
A: Yes, you can make your own gravy substitute using a variety of ingredients. For example, you can make a mushroom gravy substitute by sautéing mushrooms with garlic and onion, adding vegetable broth and flour to thicken, and seasoning to taste. Experiment with different ingredients and seasonings to find a substitute that works best for you.