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Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

This deeply flavoured vegetarian onion gravy can be made with beef or chicken stock if you prefer but I often don’t bother to tell guests the difference.

Vegetarian Onion Gravy

Vegetarian Onion Gravy

Originally published March 11/2011.

We recently had a little dinner party to celebrate Spouse’s birthday.

We normally serve roast beef it with  a burgundy gravy. However. this time where we served a prime rib roast with this delicious vegetarian onion gravy instead.

Herb and Garlic Crusted Prime Rib Roast photo with title text for Pinterest

The secret to this gravy is the same as in the recently featured St. John’s Stout and Steak Soup.  That secret is slowly and carefully caramelized onions.

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

What the meat eating guests didn’t know was that their gravy was the same as the vegetarians. who particularly loved this rich, deeply flavoured gravy over crisp roasted potatoes.

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

As the 2 photos above show, the volume of the onions gets greatly reduced through the slow cooking processes. Thus, concentrating the flavor and bringing out the natural sweetness.

This gravy can be made with any kind of stock including vegetable stock for a vegetarian option. Beef or chicken stock can also be used to make excellent gravy for a Sunday roast dinner.

You might also like our collection of Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, which are also great at Christmas or at family dinners year round.

Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes photo collage with title text added for Pinterest


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Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

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Vegetarian Onion Gravy
Yield: 12 servings

Vegetarian Onion Gravy with a Carnivore Option

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Vegetarian Onion Gravy


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 quarts/liters low sodium or sodium free beef stock or chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds chopped Spanish onion
  • 2 large shallots chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to


  1. Begin by simmering the stock until it is almost reduced in volume by half.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan and add the garlic and onions.
  3. Cook until the onions soften, caramelize and turn golden brown, tossing constantly every 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. I reduce the heat several times during this process. This can take considerable time; a half hour or longer. The more you caramelize the onions the better the flavor of your gravy.
  5. Add the caramelized onion to the reduced vegetable (beef or chicken) stock along with the nutmeg & thyme.
  6. Simmer for only a few minutes before thickening the gravy by whisking in a slurry made from a couple of tablespoons of flour dissolved into 3/4 cup water.
  7. At this point you can serve the gravy with whole pieces of onion or if you prefer, you can blend it to a smoother consistency using an immersion blender or in small batches in a food processor.
  8. Makes about 2 liters nd freezes well in small airtight plastic containers.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 71Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 5mgSodium 113441mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 1g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Friday 13th of October 2017

Hi Barry,

I made this for Canadian Thanksgiving (I currently live in the US) using the Christmas cookbook. It turned out great and was delicious.

I made it the night before and on Thanksgiving simply re-heated it while the turkey was resting. On Thanksgiving, I reduced it down a bit further, then added the turkey drippings a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten it at the end.

The nutmeg was a great, but subtle flavour. I've never used nutmeg in gravy before, but I will do so again!

I have two minor quibbles: 1) In the cookbook, you didn't list the quart to litre conversion. From reading the recipe version, above, it appears to be almost 1:1 ratio. 2) The index of the cookbook is a little confusing. If you're looking for the gravy recipe, I think it should be categorized under 'G'. The recipe index seems to be organized alphabetically, but not necessarily by the main ingredient (e.g: lassie bread is under "L"; turkey is under "L" for "lemon sage butter roast turkey". The index isn't terribly long, so it wasn't a huge problem. But when I was looking for something quickly, it was never where I thought it should be categorized and it took me longer to find it. A small frustration, but something I hope you consider for future cookbooks!

I love your site, love your recipes!

Thanks, Nik


Sunday 16th of September 2012

I am a huge fan of caramelized onions. I put them on all kinds of dishes,from the traditional to pizza and nachos. I have tried all kinds of different frying pans but I have settled on the stainless steel, I used to stir somewhat frequently but I have changed that too. I have the pan on medium, and don't touch them until they start to brown (even burn a little). Only once that occurs do I stir. The paderno pans are notorious for sticking, so I add a little water from time to time. I do the same thing for garlic, a little trick I got from an Italian deli.


Saturday 19th of March 2011

I wonder how this one tastes. I am not really a big fan of onions but I must admit that they give a really nice flavor.

joyce lange

Sunday 16th of February 2020

OOnion gravy is great on steak.

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