Biscuits & Gravy
Ah, Biscuits and Gravy, one of Ryan’s all-time favorite dishes. Before I stopped eating meat, I’d never had “real” biscuits and gravy. Being the picky eater that I was, the idea of blobby, white sausage gravy grossed me out. Gravy was definitely not something I ate as a kid, and even as an adult I wouldn’t eat gravy at Thanksgiving (probably the only time of the year it was on the table.)
It wasn’t until I started making vegan gravies that I actually liked the stuff. And lest you think, “Oh she likes them because she doesn’t know what gravy should taste like. I bet it tastes like weird vegan food,” we’ve served vegan gravy to many a meat-eater and they too have loved it.
Now, the part of the Biscuits and Gravy that I could always get behind was the biscuits! My favorite biscuit recipe is in the book How it All Vegan by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer. I’ve made these so many times that my book actually opens up to the page with “Easy Biscuits”, and the name is no lie. These are usually mixed and cut before the oven is even heated.
So vegan biscuits are the easy part – vegan sausage gravy? It hasn’t actually been hard, but it has taken some tweaking over time. I feel like I finally have it the way I like it, although it’s easy enough to alter the recipe if you like yours thicker or thinner than this version. You can also add whatever seasonings you like. I keep this pretty simple, but you certainly don’t have to. The main thing with this is that you want to use unsweetened non-dairy milk. Even the smallest amount of sweetener can make this gravy taste way too sweet once it’s cooked and reduced.
Vegan Sausage Gravy
about 1 Tablespoon + 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
1 package or 8 ounces vegan sausage, diced (see note)
1/2 cup All-Purpose unbleached flour
2 1/2 cups non-dairy unsweetened milk (I’ve used soy and almond)
fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Heat the canola oil (about 1 Tablespoon) in a large, deep skillet or sauce pan over medium to medium high heat. Saute the minced onion and a pinch of sea salt until the onions soften and become translucent. Add your vegan sausage and saute until heated through and slightly browned. Transfer the onion and sausage mixture into a small bowl, and return the pan to the heat.
Add 1/4 canola oil and the flour to the pan. Whisk together to make a thick roux, and cook until it bubbles and smells nutty. You just want to cook out the raw flour taste. Slowly add the non-dairy milk while whisking to dissolve the roux. Stir constantly over medium heat (or lower) to let the gravy thicken. (This is usually when I put the biscuits in the oven.)
Once it’s simmered and become the thickness that you like, add the sausage and onion mixture back to the pan. Stir everything together and add the seasonings. You’ll want to use a lot of pepper and plenty of salt.
This makes a pretty thick gravy. If you want it a bit thinner, just add a some non-dairy milk until you get the consistency you like. If it’s too thin for you, let it continue to reduce and simmer.
Note: Make sure to check that your sausage is vegan. I’ve used Morningstar Farms, and I could swear that it was vegan back in the day, but now it contains egg whites. (This link lists Morningstar’s vegan products.) It’s a good idea to always check the label – even on products you’ve used in the past. Companies often change the ingredients, and the only way to check this is to read the ingredient list. Tofurky Breakfast Links work well, and another good vegan sausage to try is Gimme Lean. If you’re up for it there are also lots of vegan sausage recipes on the web. They’re actually not too difficult to make, and the best part is that you can control exactly what goes into them!