If I were to pick my top three favorite foods in the whole wide world they would be: pasta in pesto sauce, baked potatoes with butter and cheddar cheese, and… gravy.
There are few things I find more irresistible at a dinner table than a creamy, simmering boat of fresh gravy. At Thanksgiving I cover my entire plate in it until the lower contents can no longer be seen. At family reunions my grandma makes poutine with extra gravy because she knows I won’t rest until each french fry is individually saturated in the stuff. I legit had a dream that I swam in a pool of gravy one time. No joke — I have a serious gravy problem.
As you can probably tell, when I can get it, I make exceptions for real MEATY gravy. But, like fish, it’s one of those things I’ll eat when I’m out, but won’t cook on my own. The thought of manhandling some poultry or beef parts to get a goopy, sloggy stew just disgusts me. I’d rather turn a blind eye to the process and just have the finished product served in heaping ladle-fulls across my plate. If it doesn’t look like meat, I can momentarily pretend it’s not, right?
Well, seeing as le boyfriend and I are addicted to vegetarian bangers and mash, we’ve been trying to find a vegetarian recipe we can make quickly at home that stacks up to the real stuff.
After many, many tries, we found one — an amazingly simple and flavorful mushroom gravy, but one day, le boyfriend started making it, only to realize we didn’t have mushrooms. Not wanting to give up on the prospect of bangers and mash for dinner, he improvised and subbed in lentils instead.
The finished product blew us away! It had a great texture, a smooth taste, not to mention an extra protein kick…who knew lentils packed that much flavor?! I’m calling in a solid 10 on the yum-o-meter.
So far as I can tell, this is the closest thing you can get to real deal meat gravy — perfecto for Thanksgiving, poutine, or (if you’re Two Veggies and eat ’em weekly) bangers & mash.
Vegetarian Lentil Gravy
- 3/4 cup lentils, rinsed
- 1 small yellow or white onion, minced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and add onion and lentils. Sautee for just a minute or two over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and soy sauce. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a simmer or a low boil, then reduce heat.
- Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring consistently. Allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly, until gravy thickens and lentils are cooked through, adding more broth if necessary to thin out the sauce.