Caramelized Onion Gravy

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At Moosewood, we love creating recipes that bring a whole new perspective to time-honored customs. Nothing is more traditionally American than mashed potatoes with gravy—songs have even been written about it—but unlike most gravies, this one, made with caramelized onions and vegetarian broth, is healthful, vegan, and versatile. Try it on dishes such as tofu burgers, grilled portabello mushrooms, or omelets, too.





Caramelized Onion Gravy
Recipe type: Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yields 3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Vidalia or Spanish onions
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (3/4 teaspoon fresh)
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram (1½ teaspoons fresh)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups commercial "no-chicken broth"*
  • ¼ cup dry sherry or Marsala
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onions are coated with oil.
  3. Stir in the salt, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and nutmeg.
  4. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring often, for about 25 minutes, until limp and browned.
  5. You should have a generous cup of caramelized onions.
  6. Add the soy sauce, 1¾ cups of the broth, and the sherry or Marsala to the onions
  7. Bring to a simmer.
  8. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining ¾ cup of broth and mix into the saucepan in a thin steady stream.
  9. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes, until the gravy is thickened.
  10. Add pepper to taste.

* Natural foods stores and gourmet supermarkets now carry delicious vegetarian mock chicken broths in the soup aisles, labeled "no-chicken" or "un-chicken." Imagine Foods produces a good one that we can recommend. It is sold in aseptic quart packages that, when opened, will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.