Vegan Gravy for the Holidays

Over the past week or so, leading up to Thanksgiving here in Canada this coming weekend, we’ve been watching and absorbing all sorts of vegan holiday recipes from the likes of The Happy Pear and Avant-Garde Vegan (with a few non-vegan ideas from Food Wishes and Alex French Guy Cooking), and melded things together into this strong-flavoured, herbal vegan gravy fit to liven up those mashed potatoes and root vegetables.

We like it fairly rustic and don’t bother straining or blending it once cooked, but if you prefer a smoother, more velvety traditional gravy, feel free to do so once the garlic + onions have softened to your liking at the end of the simmering phase.


  • 1/2 medium-large onion, finely diced
  • 2-6 cloves of garlic, to taste, finely minced
  • Small handful of fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Small handful of fresh thyme leaves (no stems)
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped (no stems)
  • 1 dried bay laurel leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • Pinch to 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt (1/2 tsp. fine salt), to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. Vegetable broth powder
  • 2-5 tbsp. Nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp. Vegan butter or vegetable oil of choice
  • 2-4 tbsp. Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Maple syrup or sugar
  • ~1-2 cups water as needed
  • Cornstarch slurry or vegan milk to thicken as desired


  1. In a wide-bottomed saucepan, sautee the onion in vegan butter/oil with the kosher salt until translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sautee for about a minute or until soft, but not browned
  3. Add the fresh herbs + dried spices except nutritional yeast, along with the bay leaf, continue cooking for a minute or two to warm
  4. Add the liquid flavourings – soy sauce, Worcestershire, Balsamic and Maple syrup
  5. Add the vegetable broth powder + water first, then nutritional yeast
  6. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, 30 preferable, to extract the flavour from the bay leaf and continue softening the onions and garlic until extremely tender
  7. Discard bay leaf, and add cornstarch slurry or vegan milk if using, and reduce / thicken to desired consistency
  8. Check for salt + pepper and adjust if necessary
  9. (optional) Strain and/or blend to adjust texture to your liking