There's no need to compromise on taste when you create a vegan gravy. This recipe, from River Cottage, is quick and easy, and creates the perfect accompaniment to vegetarian roast dinners such as River Cottage stuffed squash or vegan toad in the hole. Like meat-based gravy, it requires your frequent attention, so don't leave it til last – prepare it while the roast is cooking in the oven. Don't forget to test it for flavour and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, at the end.

This recipe was taken with permission from Christmas at River Cottage by Lucy Brazier, with seasonal notes and recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.


  • 2tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 100g Large chestnut or open cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 200ml Red wine
  • 1 Medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Medium carrot, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
  • 1 Celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 500ml Hot light vegetable stock (or water)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Large sprig of thyme
  • 1tbsp Strong coffee (espresso or similar)
  • 1tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1tsp Plain flour


  • STEP 1

    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wide, heavy pan over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and fry ‘hard’ for 7–8 minutes, without stirring to start with to develop some colour, then stir from time to time. They will release some liquid; keep cooking until this is evaporated and the mushrooms are well reduced. Loosen any bits sticking to the base of the pan with a wooden spatula from time to time. Keep going until the mushrooms are thoroughly browned and caramelised then tip them into a bowl. Add a splash of the wine to the pan, scraping to deglaze it, then add this liquor to the mushrooms.

  • STEP 2

    Give the pan a wipe and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil, then the onion, carrot and celery. Sizzle pretty hard until the veg are well browned. Add another splash of wine, giving the pan a good stir-and-scrape with a spatula. Now add a sprinkling of flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Add the stock, remaining wine and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6–7 minutes until the veg are just tender. Add the coffee and tamari or soy and return the mushrooms to the pan. Take off the heat and discard herbs. Tip the contents of the pan into a blender. Blitz to a smooth gravy, adding a little extra stock if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste if required.

Christmas at River Cottage front cover