Friday, July 29, 2016

Crave-y Gravy ~ Non-fat Vegetarian Gravy

Sometimes I just crave gravy.
Gravy on mashed potatoes.
Gravy on rice.
Gravy on bread.
But I'm vegetarian.  Gravy is a big no-no.

Like most folks, I was raised as an omnivore.  Becoming vegetarian was a matter of medical necessity, not a personal choice; so sometimes I still miss the flavors I grew up enjoying.  Gravy is right at the top of the list.

There are a couple of ways of making fake gravy.  One is to brown flour and add butter, seasonings, and hot water.  But I didn't have the butter for that yesterday, so I settled on bean gravy instead.  It's actually healthy stuff:  no added fats, and it has lots of protein.

I'm not gonna give you an exact recipe here; this is a fly-by-the-seat of your pants kinda thing--it's more about method than exactness.  And probably you already know all about simple recipes like this anyhow.

Rinse and sort about a cup of small red beans.  Put them in a slow-cooker (Crock Pot, whatever) with about 3 cups of water, and allow to cook until fairly soft--about 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature setting you choose (I used the high setting on my simple two-setting flea-market-find cooker).  The beans don't have to be all mushy, just cooked until fairly soft.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.  Process the beans in the food processor, adding the reserved liquid a little at a time until the consistency becomes gravy-like.  Flavor as you wish--use poultry seasoning or sage or a veggie boullion cube.  I like to use the Instant Soup Stock that I made from a recipe I found on the Root Simple blog--it's lovely stuff for adding amazing flavor. 

Upside:    Tastes satisfying.  No fat.  Few ingredients.  Easy to make.
Downside:  Cleaning the slow-cooker and the food processor. 
Overall:  Huge win.

Now I am sure that other types of beans would work well with this recipe (especially pintos) but I haven't experimented with them yet.....eventually I will; I just happen to like the hearty flavor of red beans.

By the way, keep the rest of the reserved bean liquid.  Use it when cooking rice to add color and flavor and protein.  It makes the rice turn a pretty pinky-red, too. 

Next time you're gravy crave-y, just get cooking!

(If you are so inclined, you can read more about living Veggie in this post:  Vegetarianism & Protein Combining.) 

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