If you asked me as a kid what my favorite food was I had one answer - mashed potatoes...well, any gravy - does that count as two foods? My grandmother made them all the time (likely at my demand - I was a brat) and I happily piled them on my plate, using my spoon to make a well in the center and slowly poured rich brown gravy into the divot until it began to volcano over the sides. Okay - my mouth is watering, I love this dish, and I miss my grandma - so this vegan version (of which the gravy is the star, not the potatoes) is dedicated to her. My grandma - everything she did and said was full of grace - but sadly, in her later years she suffered from Chrone's disease so I'd like to think that if she were still here she would be proud of my pursuit to share food that heals.
Enough with the anecdote - this gravy is likely one of the best you'll ever have, vegan or not. I am not saying that because I am cocky but because I literally have to hide it from my carnivorous S.O if I want any. Mushrooms, caramelized onions, a good blender and a little bit of time is all this recipe really needs. You won't believe it but there is no cornstarch, no rue and NO oil. It can be as thick or thin as you wish to make it, just add more or less water/stock. It can be as spicy or mild as you wish to make it - just add more or less spice. It is really a "to taste" type of recipe but below I have shared just how I like it - rich, creamy with a delicious umami flavor. I think it has the same flavor and texture as you'd come to expect from your traditional animal based gravy - but think about that for a second those recipes use animal drippings, oil and flour and this one uses only healthy, plant based goodness.
Now, the potatoes make the perfect compliment but any range of veggies would work wonders under this rich, savory gravy. They are light, fluffy and seasoned with fresh herbs - and like the gravy this recipe is oil free. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to making the best oil-free vegan mashed potatoes so scroll down to see the recipe.
Make this for your next holiday feast - it is absolutely a recipe your friends and family will never guess is healthy and plant based.
As I said above, it's really the gravy is the star of this dish, and thats because you can put it on everything not just potatoes - but they really do make such a nice pair. This gravy is thick, rich, savory and spicy and it is totally carnivore approved. It does take a little bit of time to make but it's totally worth it.
Serves: Apx. 6• Active Time: 40 min
CREAMY MUSHROOM GRAVY
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3-4 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped (I used bolete and crimini but portobello would also be nice...anything with a meaty flavor)
- 8-10 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- 2-3 tbsp fresh herb like rosemary or sage, chopped
- 4 cups water or low sodium veggie stock, overall
- 1 low-sodium veggie bouillon (if not using stock)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. First caramelize your onions and garlic. You can do this oil free - slice your onion very thin and add to a large. Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Turn on high heat, stirring occasionally. The water will begin to evaporate and the onions will become soft, once the water is gone, add a bit more, and repeat until you have soft, golden brown onions. This should take around 10 minutes and 4 rounds of adding water.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms, dried mushrooms and and sage to the pot. Let them cook down slightly. Once slightly soft, add 2 -3 cups water/stock/bouillon. Let it come to a rapid boil.
3. Add the tomato paste, dijon and salt/pepper and cover the pot - stirring occasionally. After about 10-15 minutes, the broth will have reduced a bit - taste it now, it should be very flavorful.
4. Turn off the heat and add in the nutritional yeast. Allow the gravy to cool in the pot for for about ten minutes.
NOTE: If you like a chunky gravy, you could stop here or reduce the gravy a bit more with the lid off. Or you could blend half the gravy and keep the other half chunky - I like that idea - OPTIONS.
5. Add the slightly cooled gravy to a high speed blender, you'll probably want to add a bit more water here but asses the texture as you go. Blend until the mixture is rich, creamy and totally smooth.
6. Reheat on the stove if you wish to serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container to save for later.
HERBED MASH POTATOES
Not giving exact measurements here as this is more of a method vs. a recipe...but for 6 people, I'd use 1-1.5 potatoes per person, the seasoning amounts are totally up to you.
- Gold potatoes, chopped and peeled
NOTE: I would definitely only recommend using golden potatoes - they have the best texture for vegan mash and a natural 'buttery' flavor that helps the overall flavor of the dish
- Reserved cooking liquid from the potatoes after they've been boiled
- Unsweetened original plant based milk
- Rosemary, sage, parsley, etc.
- Nutritional yeast
- Garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. Boil your chopped potatoes until very tender (about 10 minutes or so)
2. Drain the excess liquid, reserving some in a container
3. Add the potatoes back to the pan and the pot back on the heat - allow the heat of the stove to help all excess water on the potatoes evaporate.
PRO-TIP: DON'T skip the step above, this will ensure light, creamy potatoes every time. I totally owe that one to my Food Network friends.
4. Once the water has fully evaporated, begin mashing the potatoes together with herbs and spices. As you go add small amounts of plant milk and cooking liquid, switching from one to the other until you meet your desired consistency.
ANOTHER PRO-TIP: Mashed potatoes dry out a bit as they sit, so you may want to make them with a bit more liquid than you think