My vegetarian friends and family have inspired me over the years to come up with tasty, satisfying alternatives to meat-centric dishes.
Gravy*—a dish that’s commonly meat-centric—is the topic today. It’s one of the most critical parts about Thanksgiving dinner for me. I eat it with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, my stepmother’s corn pudding, my father-in-law’s green bean casserole, and whatever else it “accidentally touches” (say, buttered rolls).
*I’m using the word “gravy” to include both the thickened sauce we know and love, as well as the roasting juices from a Thanksgiving turkey.
Since turkey gravy doesn’t apply to everyone, I’ve worked out an apple cider and onion version that’s sweet, savory and comforting. The ingredient list is fairly short and it can be made up to a day ahead of your meal—just warm the gravy in a saucepan with a little extra cider before serving. I promise it’ll be delicious with whatever it “accidentally touches”.
Textured with sweet yellow onions and thyme, this vegetarian apple cider gravy pairs just as beautifully with sweet dishes as it does savory. Try it with roasted vegetables, hearty greens, or my Mushroom and Leek Stuffing. If you’d like to make the gravy ahead of time, keep a little extra cider on hand to bring it back to life.
Vegetarian Apple Cider Gravy
makes about 2 cups
4 tbsp salted butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 tightly packed cup)
3 cups apple cider, plus more for reheating the gravy
1/4 tsp dry thyme
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and thyme to the pan. Sauté in the butter for about 15 minutes, until the onions are wilted, golden and beginning to crisp up at the edges.
- Meanwhile, heat the apple cider in a small saucepan.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions. Combine with the butter and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the flour mixture becomes lightly golden.
- Pour the warmed apple cider into the flour mixture in 1/4-cup increments, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will seize up at first, but it will continue to loosen as you add more cider.
- After you have added the first cup of cider, you can begin pouring it in by the half cup. Continue stirring until all of the cider has been added.
- Simmer and stir the gravy for 5-10 minutes, or until it has reached your desired consistency. The longer you simmer it, the more it will thicken.
- Serve the gravy warm.
- To reheat leftover gravy, place in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in additional apple cider a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep whisking and adding cider until the gravy has reached your desired consistency.