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What is vegetable gravy, how is it made, and how can I use it?
Before we answer these questions let’s get some of the basics right about stock, broth, and bouillon.
Stock is traditionally made using bones and meat, usually by boiling down leftover meat and bones from a carcass. Broth is made using primarily meat, no bones.
But for vegans and vegetarians, traditional animal derived stock and broth is a no go. What about vegetable stock?
Vegetable stock will have deep savoury notes – bay and celery are popular – as well as a sweetness, usually from onion and carrot.
If you are making your own soup at home, or cooking up a grain such as quinoa, pearl barley, or cous cous, you will want stock as a base.
Stock is also an important ingredient in stews, risottos, gratins and curries.
If you want to make your own vegetable stock, try adding onion, garlic, carrots, celery, sturdy greens such as chard or kale to a pan.
Add water to cover, along with salt and pepper, and freshly chopped parsley, thyme and rosemary, along with some whole bay leaves.
Stir in a few spoonfuls of nutritional yeast for a deeper flavour, and allow to simmer (not boil) for one hour.
Remove the skim with a spoon every five to ten minutes for the first half hour, then at fifteen minute intervals thereafter.
Makes sure to taste towards the end of your cooking time, and add extra salt, herbs or nutritional yeast if needed.
Try Engevita Organic Yeast Flakes in this recipe.
Many people are short on time and prefer cupboard alternatives, opting for stock powder rather than making their own vegetable stock and freezing or refrigerating that.
Vegetable stock or bouillon powders are dehydrated, dried vegetable broths which will keep in their jar for a long time.
Try Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder.
This ingredient has revolutionised cooking for many home cooks thanks to its long shelf life and easy availability.
Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder also makes a delicious hot drink – rather like a savoury, vegetarian Bovril.
You can also try Vecon Concentrated Vegetable Stock, which is a smooth concentrated paste.
It is great for sauces, where you don’t want to add in too much water, but still want the concentrated flavour.
Vegetable gravy is a delicious accompaniment to veggie sausages or simply poured over some crisp roast potatoes!
If you keep some in the freezer, you can easily whip up a fuss free dinner when you are all out of ideas (or energy) during the week.
So what goes into vegetable gravy? Most pre-prepared options will have added preservatives and additives. But you can make your own vegetable gravy using vegan or vegetarian stock.
If you want to make your own vegetable gravy, this recipe is vegan and will make a real impact, as a side, to a vegetarian feast!
This makes 6-8 portions.
Begin by chopping the vegetables, then frying them in the butter for about ten minutes. Then stir in the flour, and add marmite and vinegar, as well as the tomato puree if you are using this. Be aware that the tomato version does come out quite tomatoey. Although delicious it is some distance from the traditional meat gravy flavour!
Make the stock separately as per the instructions on the jar or tub.
Next, pour the liquid stock over the vegetables. Simmer everything together until the mixture thickens.
Finally taste test, and add salt and pepper to taste. A splash of soy sauce helps here too. Be careful not to use too much, as this can overpower the subtle flavours you’ve created.
Now you can enjoy your vegetable gravy with your dinner!
Many of our cooking sauces and pastes at Holland & Barrett are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Our cooking sauces come in a variety of flavours and are suitable with a variety of different meals from different countries and cultures. So whether it is pasta sauce or pesto you're looking for, we're sure we'll have the best cooking paste to enhance your meal.