This vegetarian gravy (with vegan option) is a favorite here in our house and with readers. It’s a shockingly easy, surprisingly delicious recipe that welcomes vegetarians (and vegans, with the vegan option) into the Thanksgiving fold.
Want to know something else cool? You can make this gravy today and freeze it for the big day! Anything to make Thanksgiving easier.
This 100% vegetarian onion gravy recipe – with a vegan option – is exactly what you’ve been missing on Thanksgiving. It’s so easy to whip up a batch of this stuff.
Just keep those saucy carnivorous mitts away from your gravy boat – meat eaters may prefer it over their own non-veggie-friendly gravy.
I can’t be the only vegetarian who’s suffered the lonely and tasteless holiday dinner fate of having to eat mashed potatoes with only a bit of salt and pepper and a sorry pat of butter. While everyone around you gleefully shoves down forkfuls of gravy-heavy potatoes… it’s horrible! Just horrible!
Okay, you know I’m exaggerating. But it does kind of suck a little. Gravy’s yummy, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it because of the whole meat thing.
That is… until now.
It all started on Thanksgiving when my guy’s awesome mom whipped me up a portion of my very own vegetarian white gravy for my potatoes. Yum!
And while we were stirring the meaty gravy meant for everyone else and talking about the whole affair, I came to the realization – why not do the roux thing and then add vegetable broth?
I know, total duh moment. I decided to do it one better and make it a vegetarian onion gravy. (Note: I’ve since added soy sauce [or Tamari] to the mix for some additional umami oomph.)
How to Make Vegetarian Gravy
- First, cook the onions
- Then make the roux right with the onions
- Then, drizzle in your veggie broth, stir and cook until thickened, and add in additional flavorings (I keep it simple and just add soy sauce here). Done!
(Keep scrolling for the full recipe!)
This stuff is truly really really good. And way easier than I ever thought it would be. So of course, I have to share.
Psst: My carnivorous guy approves of this also – apparently it’s great on, well… meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this gluten-free?
I have not tried it myself, but I had one reader report that she used all-purpose gluten-free flour as a one-for-one substitute and it was successful.
If I want to make this vegan, do I have to use Earth Balance or can I use another vegan butter?
I’ve used Melt with success and also a 50/50 olive oil/vegan butter split. Both are great! I do not recommend only olive oil, however, the flavor just isn’t the greatest.
If you try this recipe, please leave a rating! And, if you find it share-worthy – which I hope you do – please share. Tag #kitchentreaty on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, and don’t forget to check out my other recipes!
Easy Vegetarian Onion Gravy
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes. If they start to turn brown, turn down the heat - you're looking for translucent and tender, not golden.
- Increase heat to medium. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for three minutes.
- Gradually stir in the vegetable broth and continue stirring, over medium heat, until thickened to a gravy consistency, about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Stir in Tamari or soy sauce if using. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Vegan option:Substitute Earth Balance for the butter. I also like to use half olive oil and half Earth Balance.
Recipe updates:11/17/2015: I've recently started adding a splash of Tamari to the mix, and I really like the additional flavor (and color) it adds! So I thought I'd revise the recipe to include that option. 11/13/2019: I've simplified the recipe by changing the instructions a bit. Before, I suggested sautéing the onion then removing them and setting them aside. The removal was to help keep the onions from getting too brown once they were cooked with the flour. I've since learned that simply sweating the onions and not letting them brown while cooking them means they don't overcook during the remainder of the process - so no need for removing them. Much simpler!
That looks and sounds like it is so yummy!
I’ll definitely have to try this one sometime!
when is the onion added back in?
Shawna, thank you so much for asking, and I’m so sorry I left that step out! Fixed the recipe.
Add it back in right after the gravy starts to thicken. I found it can burn if it’s left in during the roux step.
I never really thought about it but I always have done my onion gravy vegetarian, even though we aren’t vegetarian. Onion gravy is really big here in the UK, we have it with our Sunday Roast dinners. And I always have veggie stock cubes on hand so I just used that. One thing I like to do is caramelize my onions first. Then I add it like you do, when the gravy is thickening.
This looks extremely delicious!
What would be a yummy vegan sub for the butter? Olive oil?
I’ve tried olive oil with fairly dismal results, unfortunately. This recipe for vegan gravy from Oh She Glows looks pretty darn good, though! http://ohsheglows.com/2010/10/04/tick-tock-racing-against-the-clock/
We have used coconut oil with great results!
Can the gravy be frozen? My daughter is the vegetarian and she won’t use all of it so I thought I could maybe freeze it.
I tried freezing a different gravy recipe last fall and it worked really, really (surprisingly) well. It was pretty similar to this one so I say give it a try! At first after thawing the other one I looked at it and was all “what have I DONE!” but then once warmed in a pan over low heat it was good as ever.
I just tried this now. It was amazing! I haven’t had gravy in years, but I swear this is even better than non-vegetarian gravy. Thank you so much.
I feel the same way – so glad you like it too!
My go-to gravy recipe! I love this, thanks for sharing 🙂
I made this last year and it was a huge hit, even with non vegetarians. Will be repeating this thanksgiving. Thank you!
Wonderful! Love to hear it. I recently updated the recipe to include a bit of Tamari – not necessary, but I think it makes it extra delicious!
What does one tablespoon plus 4 tablespoons mean? Why not just 5 tablespoons? I’m not much of a cook, which probably explains why I don’t understand that. Thanks!
If you look on in the directions it should make sense. 🙂 You use the first tablespoon of butter to saute the onions, then melt the rest later on.
This came out delicious! I added closer to 2 tablespoons of tamari and added a little bit of garlic powder too. I used Rosemary olive oil also.
I could just eat this plain. Thanks for posting!
So glad you like it! 🙂 Rosemary olive oil sounds like a delicious addition.
This is fantastic! So easy to make and so delicious, thank you!
Thanks, Bri! So glad you like it! 🙂
OMG, hit me with a wet noodle for not trying this recipe over a year ago when I found it! I made this for the first time today for Christmas dinner. THANK YOU for providing the crucial missing part of a Holiday diner that I had not thought was missing. After 19 years together, my non-veg husband doesn’t actually eat a lot of meat anymore, and while he made a great turkey for himself and the kid, he would not have touched gravy made out of the drippings. I show up with a decanter full of this golden stuff, and he piled it on his turkey, vegetarian stuffing, and cheesy mashed potatoes. He has asked me to make it again, and we sure will.
Thanks for providing the perfect “gravy” for an excellent dinner.
Merry Christmas to you Kare, and your family.
Very good and so easy, thank you
I just made this gravy and heated some vegetarian meatballs in the gravy and served over egg noodles . That was awesome. Thanks for your recipe.
Just made this for vegan poutine. It needed salt but was otherwise delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
I was just thinking about vegan poutine! Do you use anything as a sub for cheese curds, or just omit that part?
I used Daiya shredded cheddar “cheese”. They are delicious and melt nicely. I put them on top of the fries first and pour the hot gravy over the cheese shreds.
I made vegan Italian Sausage today so I could have Bangers and Mash. I decided to make this onion gravy to top it. FREAKING AWESOME! Thanks bunches!
Yum! So glad you liked it. 🙂
I was searching for an easy and good vegetarian gravy, and this was perfect. It cooked up so easily, and tasted AMAZING. I already have plans to feed it to my meat-eating relatives at Thanksgiving. This recipe rocks, and so do you.
Yum this looks good. I wonder if your man has tried it on chicken breast? My hubby is generally vegetarian but we sometimes get a hot chook for dinner. He will only eat the bland breast meat and doesn’t like normal gravy so I was hoping to find something to make the dry breast meat a bit more appetising for him without adding more meaty flavour. Think this would work?
Do you think it would be possible to add some mushrooms to the gravy? I love the flavor of mushrooms in gravy, but I’m worried they might make it a bit watery.
Yes, I would saute them with the onion, drain any excess liquid, then add them back with the onion. Should be delicious! Be sure and report back if you try it!
I just found this recipe on Pinterest and I wanted to add that I do a very similar recipe but I use a little onion and tons of mushrooms. I like the little baby Bella ones and I pulse them in the food processor then cook onions and the mushroom bits down and cook then do the rue and add a mix of milk and veggie broth. I season with thyme and sage and also a pinch of Hungarian paprika. You get little “meaty” bits and it’s just very flavorful and my carnivore husband eats it right up.
That sounds incredible!
We made this tonight as a sauce for vegetarian Swedish meatballs and it worked perfectly. We added lots of tamari and some ground sage and thyme. Very simple but delicious recipe, thank you!
Oh this sounds delicious! Thanks Aba!!
I made this yesterday as part of a vegan poutine. O M. G. My mom came over for lunch and I’m glad she did otherwise I feel like no one would believe just how amazing this gravy turned out. Like holy moly. I want to make this by the bucket and put it on all my food for the rest of my life.
I used a plant based ‘beef flavoured’ broth. I feel like that definitely aided to the over the top flavour. I also used extra tamari and passed on the salt.
And I didn’t take the onion out…I’m lazy… but it still turned out perfectly silky smooth.
I’m so happy you liked the recipe; great tweaks! Okay, tell me, I have to know – what do you use for the cheese curds for vegan poutine?
Delicious! Fast and simple. I also added crumbed bacons to the gravey and geez the nest things ever! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you!!! This is amazing gravy! I added mushrooms too. Delicious!
I primarily grew up in the South and was in charge of making turkey gravy from high school on. My mother never had the knack lol. Since becoming a vegetarian, I’ve found some really delicious vegetables gravy. I made your recipe the other night and fell on love. Last night, O used the leftover gravy and made rice and edamame. My daughter said it was like Thanksgiving dinner. As she got a second helping, she said is was just so good. As a teacher, in the summer (with no paycheck) it fit the bill on cost. (cheap). It was so good and the simplicity made it a totally awesome recipe. I had to review it because we loved you recipe so much. Thank you.
I remember my mom struggling with the turkey gravy too! 🙂 Luckily this recipe is much easier. I’m so happy you and your daughter love it; thank you so much for your nice comment and awesome review!
How well does this store? Like for thanksgiving could I make it a day in advance? Or that day?
Yup, you can make it a day ahead of time then reheat the day-of. You can actually make it now and freeze it too! Just warm it back up in a saucepan.
So glad you like it Miriam! 😀
Can this be made gluten free? I’m not gluten free but a family member is.
I just made it gluten free using all purpose gf flour . Equal measures. Delicious! I’m using it tomorrow those when guests are over. Can I reheat in microwave? My over heats the house up and we live in Fl where I hate using it.
I’ve reheated on the stovetop with success, I’m sure if you stir it often the microwave will work just fine! Love that the GF flour worked well, that will come in handy with our GF readers!
Can you tell me if there is anything else you can sub for the soy sauce/tamari? Maybe just some seasoning of some sort?
It’s completely delicious without the soy sauce/Tamari too, so I would just leave it out. Some add nutritional yeast for a bit of umami but I haven’t tried it yet.
This was very easy to make and turned out amazing! I will be making this again.
So glad you like the recipe! Thanks, Julia!
Thank you so much. Did it verbatim and it came out wonderful. Definitely better with the soy sauce. My 4 vegetarians coming for Thanksgiving dinner will be so very happy!!
can i use a different vegan butter?
Hi Nichole, I’ve only made it with Earth Balance but as long as the butter has a decent amount of oil I would think it would work. Please report back if you try it! Thanks!
Wow, I was just telling a friend how I missed gravy and am disappointed many places don’t have vegetarian friendly options. I never thought of making it until now and I see how easy it is! I decided to make this for thanksgiving tomorrow, so we weren’t left out of the gravy train (ha!). I made this recipe exactly and it is amazing! I will definitely do this again! It’s great as is, but after reading some reviews, I did sprinkle in some thyme because others mentioned it and I had some one had and it’s also great that way as well. Thank you so much, this recipe is great!!!
So good! My housemate is coming to my family Thanksgiving, and bringing her own Tofurkey (since she is the only vegetarian). She never brings any gravy and it always looks so dry and so sad on her plate. I decided to make this for her! I took Christine’s advice and added mushrooms (just 1/2 cup) and pulsed them and the onions in the food processor to make them tiny before cooking. Used home-made veggie broth, and also added a few fresh sage leaves while sauteing the onions/mushrooms. WOW! It is so good. I nearly ate 1/2 a cup of it on it’s own. 🙂 The rest of it is bottled up and ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Highly recommend!
Followed this recipe exactly and it turned out so yummy. Exceeded my expectations, by far. This is better than any turkey gravy I’ve ever tried. Yum!
Yay, so glad you like the recipe as much as we do, Heather! Happy Holidays!
It probably tastes lively, but the colour would put me right off….looks like vomit!!
I can’t say I’ve ever seen vomit that looks like that but I guess it’s possible! 😉 If you include the soy sauce, that helps give it a richer color. Or use a homemade veggie broth made with onion skins for a nice dark, rich broth color; that would likely make a difference too.
Lovely not lively! I would have to put some gravy browning in it to give it a more acceptable colour I’m afraid!
Such a great recipe and easy to do. Very very yummy!! I used the Earth balance vegan sticks instead of butter and it was perfect
I loved it. If you substitute Tamari with Soy Sauce remember to use low sodium and if possible add some MSG if you are sane (i’m serious msg makes it taste a lot better). It was quick and easy, thanks.
This gravy is awesome..I have a family of meat esters this Thanksgiving we are getting together, and I have 4 vegetarians I am definitely going to serve this gravy., the meat eaters will love it, the only thing I did different it add 2 tablespoons of Tamari…
Hi Brenda, yes, I have started adding a bit of soy sauce or Tamari too – adds a nice bit of umami flavor!
Can I substitute milk for the broth to make it more of a creamy gravy?
I haven’t done that, but it might work well. Stir a lot to avoid scalding. The broth does add quite a bit of flavor, though, so keep that in mind. Maybe a half-and-half mix of milk and broth?
Yum I’m going to make it for my daughter and her boyfriend for thanksgiving🤗👍 thank you
Yay! I hope you love it as much as we do. 🙂
I came back to review this wonderful gravy recipe! I made it last year for Thanksgiving and everyone raved about the flavor. No one missed the giblets or even cared that it was vegetarian. It was just good! It will be our one gravy of choice again this year. Wishing your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for sharing.
Hi Nonny! Thank you so much for your glowing review. And thank you also for the Thanksgiving wishes! I wish your family the same. 🙂
Wow!!! I am so freaking excited. This turned out amazing, texture, taste, appearance A++++!!! Super easy to make. I can’t wait to present this on Thanksgiving, this week to the family. Thank you!
Woo hoo! So glad you like it! Happy Thanksgiving!
Oh my gosh!! Thank you so much for this!! I added vegan chick’n breast strips and served it for dinner tonight and none of my family even realised that it wasn’t normal gravy and meat until I started eating with them lol.
Ha! That’s funny. 🙂 So glad you liked it and thank you so much for the review!
I have to report back that this was the highlight of my Thanksgiving table. I have never made gravy before because, well, meat juice…but I saw this recipe and thought it sounded good so decided, with trepidation, to give it a go. It was easy to make! And most importantly, delicious! Even my picky, traditional -gravy-loving son went back for seconds! Thank you for such a great recipe.
Hi there! Thanks so much for the glowing review. I’m so happy everyone liked it! Happy holidays to you!
So yummy! I made it on Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it! In fact, they preferred it over the host’s gravy. So good!
Woo hoo! I love when this gravy ends up being everyones’ favorites! Thanks so much for your review. 🙂
This gravy was insanely delicious! I wanted to just keep eating it like a soup. I am a new veg and thought that I would really miss the packets of turkey and beef gravy but this is WAY better! 🙂 Thank you!
Thank you for this recipe. I made this last night with my “beef tips”. It was delicious and very easy to put together.