Red onion gravy

I love gravy! To me it’s a key part of any roast dinner, but particularly Christmas dinner. I think it’s so key that I’m giving you two versions as part of my Sensitive Foodie Advent Calendar (spoilers!). For day 16, I bring you a delicious red onion version.

If you’ve not made gravy from scratch before, particularly a meat-free version, you’ll be glad to know it’s not difficult. It does tastes different from shop-bought or instant versions (which often contain added extras you may want to avoid like gluten or yeast), and takes a little time. But you’ll be glad to know it is not too labour intensive and not only do you know what’s in it, it tastes gorgeous too!

Red onion is the key ingredient. Giving a slightly sweeter flavour than white, it gives a rich, caramelised flavour when cooked down. That’s the key to the depth of flavour which is why it’s worth giving it a little time to brew.

Red onions also have some extra nutritional properties that can benefit your health; the red pigment contains flavonoids, phytonutrients that can help reduce inflammation and are particularly good for people with allergies and asthma, a bonus for the sensitive eater. Eating red onion raw provides the best amounts, but if you cook slowly on a low heat like this gravy, much of the beneficial properties remain. Horray!

I make this plant-based gravy throughout the year, but for Christmas I’ve added a little extra sweetness by including some of my homemade rosemary jelly. Shop-bought recurrent jelly or something similar works just as well.

So if you need a gravy that’s tasty but safe to eat, then give this a go. But if you’re not an onion lover, don’t fret – there’s another option to come!

Red onion gravy

  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Sprig of rosemary or thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1-2 tablespoons rosemary or redcurrant jelly
  • salt and pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons of stock in the bottom of a large pan. Add the onions, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and sauté on a low heat until soft and caramelised. Stir from time to time to make sure they don’t burn. Add a little extra stock if needed and make sure you scrape up any caramelised bit from the bottom of the pan.  Once they are super soft, turn off the heat, pour in 250ml of stock then leave to cool. Pop the mix into a blender and blend until smooth – remember to remove the bay leaf beforehand.

Pour the onion mix into a clean saucepan. Mix the cornflour with a little of the remaining stock. Pour the rest of the stock into the pan with the tamari, rosemary jelly, salt and pepper. Heat gently then once simmering, add the cornflour mix and stir continuously as it thickens and becomes glossy.

Taste and add more seasoning or jelly as needed. Serve piping hot, but remember to remove any whole herbs before hand.