My Favourite Thick and Creamy Mushroom Gravy with Shallots & Herbs

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 15 votes
Vegan, creamy mushroom gravy with shallots and herbs is a naturally gluten-free recipe without starches. Savoury mushrooms and hearty herbs make it so flavourful and rich. This vegan gravy is make-ahead friendly too!
An overhead shot of creamy vegan mushroom gravy on top of mashed potatoes.

Over here in Canada, Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away and naturally I’m thinking about gravy (and maybe some olive oil mashed potatoes). More specifically: creamy mushroom gravy that’s vegan, make-ahead friendly, and free of added starches. I make mushroom gravy a bunch of different ways (there’s a great one in my cookbook), but this recipe is special. The gravy is thick, creamy, loaded with herbs, flavourful vegetable stock, melted shallots and garlic, and those critical umami bombs like tamari and miso.

An overhead shot of ingredients for mushroom gravy.
A head-on shot of sliced mushrooms in a bowl.
An overhead shot of thyme and sage being trimmed.
An overhead shot of grated shallots and garlic.

This creamy mushroom gravy is suitable for making ahead! My partner and I are hosting both of our families for the big dinner this year, so make-ahead strategies have been front of mind lately. I now have a whole notebook dedicated to Thanksgiving with a schedule, collaborative shopping list, and an ever-shifting menu page with multiple recipe links under each item. It is all consuming at this stage!

My technique for thickening this gravy is a little different than typical. I use soaked cashews and a Russett potato that gets simmered in the mushroom cooking mixture. You know when you over-mix mashed potatoes and they get super gluey and sticky? That’s exactly what we’re going for here. You blend the cooked potato chunks with the cashews and some of the cooking liquid and it gets ridiculously thick. Then you mix that starchy goodness back in with the mushrooms for a thick gravy without having to fuss with cornstarch, arrowroot etc.

This method results in a thick, slightly concentrated mushroom soup in essence (but it’s still unmistakably a GRAVY, don’t worry), and that’s exactly why it reheats beautifully. Starches can be unpredictable when reheated and sometimes even have the adverse effect of thinning the finished product.

We grate the shallots and microplane the garlic so that they “melt” into the gravy. I really wanted to avoid any need for straining, so this extra step is crucial! Not much more to say about this beautiful beige-brown goodie, other than the fact that it’s completely delicious and it embodies everything my gravy dreams are made of. See my recipe notes for tips on making ahead and re-heating. I also have a mushroom-free gravy option here and a full-on gravy PIE with a mashed potato crust here. And don’t forget that I have all of my best Vegan Holiday Recipes rounded up in one spot, including my incredible vegan stuffing with balsamic shallots.

A hand is shown pouring vegetable stock into a pot of cooking mushrooms.
Image shows mushrooms and potatoes simmering in a pot, surrounded by liquid.
Two images show the gravy components before blending and afterward, being poured into some lingering cooked mushrooms and broth.
An overhead shot of a creamy mushroom gravy garnished with herbs.

Thick and Creamy Mushroom Gravy with Shallots & Herbs

Vegan, creamy mushroom gravy with shallots and herbs is a naturally vegan recipe without added starches. Make-ahead friendly too!
5 from 15 votes
THICK AND CREAMY MUSHROOM GRAVY WITH SHALLOTS & HERBS (vegan, starch-free, make-ahead friendly) - The First Mess
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cup grated shallots (3 medium shallots grated on the large holes of a box grater)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 lbs mushrooms, caps sliced 1/4 “ thick (see headnote re: stems)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated on a microplane
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mellow miso
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 Russet/baking potato, peeled and cut into 4 even quarters
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour

Equipment

Notes

  • For a more intense mushroom flavour, simmer the vegetable stock with the mushroom stems for 20 minutes beforehand. Strain before proceeding with the recipe.
  • I went with commonly available cremini and portobello mushrooms. You can use any type you like.
  • Since we thicken the gravy with potato and cashews, this recipe is make-ahead friendly! Keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days in advance. To reheat, add a few splashes of stock to the gravy in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. You will also need to stir it frequently, scraping the bottom of the pot often to avoid sticking. Add more vegetable stock if the gravy still seems too thick.
  • I grate both the shallots and the garlic so that they can more easily disappear/”melt” into the gravy

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a wide, braiser-style (or dutch oven) pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pot and stir. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and sage to the pot and stir.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up, coating them in the shallots and herbs. Let the mushrooms sit for another full minute. Then, stir the mushrooms and season with pepper. Keep stirring the mushrooms here and there as they cook. Once the mushrooms are glistening, after about 3 minutes, season them with salt. Keep stirring the mushrooms until they are deep brown and slightly soft, about 2 more minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the pot and stir. Then, add the tamari, balsamic vinegar, and miso to the pot as well. Stir everything and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the mushroom mixture up to a boil.
  • Submerge the pieces of potato in the mushroom and vegetable stock mixture. Lower the heat to a strong simmer and place the lid on top. Simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20-25 minutes. When poked with a knife, the pieces of potato should slide right off.
  • Remove the potato pieces from the mushroom mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer them to an upright, high speed blender. Add the cashews to the blender. Carefully ladle out 1 cup of liquid from the pot of mushrooms and transfer it to the blender. Blend the potato, cashews and liquid on high until completely smooth and thick, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the pureed potato and cashew mixture back into the pot with the mushrooms. Stir until you have a creamy mixture. It will look weird at first, but it does come together. Keep stirring until the gravy comes up to a boil. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon quite well. Check for seasoning one more time and adjust if needed. Serve the thick creamy mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes or other accompaniments of choice.
26/09/2018 (Last Updated 01/11/2023)
Posted in: autumn, cashews, creamy, earthy, gluten free, grain-free, holidays, mushrooms, refined sugar-free, salty, sauce, umami, vegan, winter

29 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Genevieve

    5 stars
    I just made this for vegan and non-vegan family members and it’s fantastic. An instant classic. Thank you so much for the recipe, it made my Thanksgiving :)

  • Claire

    5 stars
    I made this for vegan Thanksgiving along with cashew-crusted cauliflower steaks from Minimalist Baker and served atop the butternut purée from your butternut orzo recipe and it was so good! Great vegan centerpiece dish. It was nice to have the sweet from the butternut purée and the umami from this gravy. I was a little nervous about the amount of mushrooms but it cooked down so much, it was perfect

  • Laura

    5 stars
    This recipe is the first one I follow in a while and although I did change a couple of things (no cashews and a bigger white sweet potato mainly), I was very happy to stick to it! My gravy came out quite thick but absolutely delicious, with the deep flavour I’ve come to expect from your recipes. I love the care you put into the details that end up making all the difference and the refined taste they produce. I was especially grateful for the mushroom stirring and cooking instructions :)

    Thank you for your beautiful work and keep creating!

  • amc

    When I found myself with flecks of cashew, I took the rather dramatic step of blending EVERYTHING—so, a smooth gravy instead of one with floating mushrooms. It was ultra-thick but totally delicious and I think I prefer it to the chunky texture.

  • Whetter Ingrid

    5 stars
    I can not wait to try this gravy!!! Gorgeous

  • Rose

    5 stars
    The best gravy recipe I ever had! You must make this! The miso creates a lovely umami flavor while the balsamic wraps everything together in an absolute flavor bomb. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • Katrin

    5 stars
    This is the best ever sauce. Have made it so many times by now, can eat it by the spoonful each time. 1 recipe only serves 4 in our house – it’s just too good!

    I always make the recipe as is, it’s perfect as written. Thank you so much Laura for this amazing gem of a recipe!!

  • Chelsea

    How many servings is this recipe? 

    • Laura

      Hi Chelsea,
      This recipe makes around 2 litres total. I put it at about 6-8 servings, just to be safe!
      -L

  • Hayley Thie

    We made this last year for thanksgiving and it was lovely.

    My mom, brother, and stepfather (all omnivores) all agreed that it was a fantastic gravy — it reminded all of them of stroganoff, as a reference for those of you haven’t tried this yet.

    Definitely in the ‘keepers’ list for us, though we may branch out this year.

  • Carly

    This. Was. AMAZING. I made this plus mashed potatoes after some serious dental work and it was phenomenal. I’m not even a gravy person and I can’t wait to eat this for lunch tomorrow. Definitely use a blender to combine the potatoes, cashews, and broth. We used an immersion blender to cut down on dishes and while the flavor was amazing there were flecks of cashew throughout.

  • Thera

    This is the best gravy I’ve had in my entire life. It ended up being too salty with the addition of regular-salt vegetable stock and tamari, so next time I’d use reduced salt versions of both. Other than that, it was amazing!

  • Monique Spina

    Have you tried freezing this gravy in small containers? I’m all about meal prep/
    planning and freezing so we can eat real food that I really just have to heat up when we crawl home from work after 7PM:)

    • Laura

      I honestly haven’t so can’t report back with authority. I think it would be fine as long as you reheat the gravy with a splash of vegetable stock or water, because with the potatoes it will thicken up considerably. If you try it, let us know how it works out for you.
      -L

  • Marinda

    This is a delicious gravy. Thank you very much for the recipe. We made this tonight as part of dinner for our family, served it on rice. This will be saved as a favourite! We didn’t have tamari so we used one teaspoon of marmite. It works well!

  • Juliana

    This was awesome! I am not even vegetarian just an omnivore trying to eat less meat and try new things. Delicious and really easy recipe. I had mine on top of polenta.

  • Turiya

    Looks so good!! Just wondering if it would freeze well?

    • Laura

      Hi Turiya! Generally I find that texture of mushrooms suffers after freezing and reheating. I wouldn’t recommend it!
      -L

  • Lauren

    I loved this gravy. The only change I made was adding a little bit of chopped rosemary in with the herbs. I served it over mashed sweet potato and roasted brussel sprouts. So delicious and comforting, thank you for the excellent recipe, as usual!

  • Carrie

    This will be my new Christmas gravy! Thank you. This recipe is delicious. A note, I didn’t thicken with a potato or cashews as I didn’t have them on hand and it was still gorgeous: dark in color and rich in flavor :)

  • H.

    I just made this, and it was incredible! Honestly the best gravy I’ve ever had. I was out of fresh garlic, so had to sub powdered garlic, used chickpea miso instead of yellow, subbed dried mushrooms (soaked for 30 mins) for a portion of the mushrooms, and only had chicken broth on hand, but it turned out absolutely great! The cashews and potato were the perfect thickening agents, and I ended up adding the liquid that the mushrooms soaked in, which gave it a great flavor. Thanks for the ingenuous recipe; loved the layers of all the flavors.

  • Lisa is Planted365

    This looks beautiful. Your photography is stunning! I’m going to try this one.

  • Abbey

    Could you thicken the gravy with blended cauliflower instead of potatoes if watching carbohydrates?

    • Laura

      Hi Abbey,
      I don’t think that the gravy would properly thicken if you used cauliflower instead since cauliflower doesn’t really contain natural starches. Might be best to go a more traditional arrowroot-thickened route. There’s lots of recipes for mushroom gravy in that particular style online. I also have one that is thickened with arrowroot in my cookbook!
      -L

  • Sasha

    Ahhh Laura! This mushroom gravy has got me salivating! We don’t even celebrate thanksgiving in Australia, but I am so tempted to give this recipe a go! Nothing beats mashed potato + gravy

  • Diana Lopes

    I never knew why people stopped making gravy themselves, it’s so delicious when made just right.

  • Jenn Sunega

    100% getting made next weekend for thanksgiving!

  • Judy Bertelsen

    What are the “headnotes” you refer to? I don’t find them anywhere. Please be clear; this is very frustrating!

    • Laura

      Judy,
      If you scroll to the bottom of any of my blog posts (where the recipe is always located), you will find several notes underneath the recipe title with tips on preparation, substitutions etc. These are the recipe headnotes. For this recipe, the note that details how to make ahead and reheat the gravy is the third one from the top. I hope that this helps.
      -L