I love the holidays. LOVE them. I like the camaraderie, the pretty lights, the goody bags that suddenly appear on your desk while no one is looking, the chaos, the dysfunctional get-togethers - all of it. So it made sense to me that I would host a holiday dinner this year, a decision that took me on a teensy roller coaster of emotions as I simultaneously excited over cooking a great meal for the people I love, and agonized over how to make our non-vegetarian, and REALLY non-vegetarian guests, still like me afterward.
The simplest solution to me was to make things as traditional as possible, substituting the non vegetarian ingredients for vegetarian ones, not skimping on flavor, using fresh ingredients, and making sure that there was enough variety and quantity for people to pile their plates, fill their bellies, and have pangs of regret as they searched for a pair of sweatpants to put on.
The only thing that really concerned me was the gravy, a staple at any holiday dinner and typically made from pan drippings - hard to substitute. But after a little research and a few test runs, I came up with something that everyone really enjoyed - vegetarian or not. It goes great with mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and pretty much everything else. Check it out below!
Start by sauteing the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil until translucent, probably around 5min. Mix in the flour, then the soy sauce to make a paste. You don't want the flour to burn, so make sure not to let it sit too long before adding the soy sauce. Gradually mix in the vegetable broth, stirring constantly. Add in the sage, salt and pepper. Let it come to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency.
That's it! Super easy. You may end up using more or less broth depending on how thick it turns out. It should be smooth and pour easily off the end of your cooking spoon. Also, it's best to make the gravy right before putting it on the table, so chopping and measuring everything out ahead of time is really helpful.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour (depending)
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth (depending)
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Servings: about 2 cups
Enjoy the gravy, and I hope all of you out there have a safe and joyous holiday season!
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