1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
¾ C cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¾ C cooked butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 ¾ C cooked lentils (if canned, rinsed and drained)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (low-sodium, if desired)
½ tsp. sage
¼ tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. sweet basil
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. fresh cracked pepper
¼ C nutritional yeast
Black pepper, to taste
1 ⅓ C rolled oats
¼ C all-purpose flour
¼ C vegetable oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 C vegetable broth
¼ C soy sauce (regular or low-sodium), or to taste
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. onion powder
Pinch ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Heat the oil in a frying pan; sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and grated carrot; cook for another 5 minutes until softened.
Add the rest of the ingredients, using a masher to combine. Do not over-mash, just enough so that the mixture comes together. Add a small amount of water if the mixture is too dry; if it is too wet, add more oats.
Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan and press gently. Cook for 40-45 minutes until the outside develops a crust and the inside is firm.
Adapted from original recipe
Whisk together flour, oil and garlic powder in a small pot over medium heat. Stir in vegetable broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, onion powder and pepper.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, whisking constantly to avoid clumps, until fully thickened. Cook 15 to 20 minutes.
Original recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/275870/vegan-brown-gravy/
More from the author:
Patricia Fossum is an environmentally conscious waste diversion specialist and works as the Assistant Superintendent of Refuse for Iowa City. She is an Iowa graduate. Patricia is originally from Wisconsin and has lived in northwest Oklahoma and North Dakota. Her family has resided in Cedar Rapids for the past two years. Living in the South instilled in her a love for southern food, and she tries to incorporate these traditional flavors into her recipes
Had you asked me a year ago if I would be a vegan today, I would have laughed and said, “Absolutely no way.” Yet here I am, five months into my journey of being vegan, knowing I will never look back.
I was an avid Crossfitter, distance runner and “meat/protein-aholic.” I bought into the same premise that most gyms and fitness articles promote: Eating a high-protein, lean-meat and low-carb diet is the best way to become athletic and physically able.
This was working somewhat for me until January 2020, when I hit an injury wall. I experienced severe hip pain and was unable to run or work out. I could barely walk without pain.
After a visit to the doctor, I was referred to physical therapy. Nothing seemed to dull my pain. I was diagnosed with bursitis in my hip. My physical therapist said I was the youngest patient she had ever seen with this condition. I was devastated with this diagnosis, as there is no cure. I was destined for a low-impact lifestyle for the rest of my years.
I had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation at age 30, high cholesterol at 32, and then bursitis in my hip at 34. I felt as if I were falling apart even though I wasn’t even a middle-aged woman yet. I went from CrossFit training five days per week, running marathons and living a highly active lifestyle ... to nothing. I could not and would not let this happen. I did an immense amount of research to find out how I could reduce the impact of these diagnoses. I was adamant that I would not take medicine every day for the rest of my life nor live an inactive lifestyle. This was my turning point toward becoming vegan.
I kept seeing articles on how a plant-based diet reduces inflammation, heart irregularities and cholesterol. So, in July, I decided to make the switch to a vegetarian diet. I cut out all meat and meat-derived products, but I still consumed dairy and eggs at a fairly high level. I believed I had to eat those foods because I “needed the protein.” I experienced a significant decrease in my hip pain and had fewer atrial fibrillation episodes, but my cholesterol was still high. So, even after having moderate success with a vegetarian diet, in October I decided to fully transition to a vegan diet.
The more I researched, the more a plant-exclusive diet made sense. After transitioning fully, I have had zero hip pain and have been able to start long-distance running again, an activity that had eluded me for more than a year. I have had no atrial fibrillation episodes, and my cholesterol has decreased significantly. I discovered a different way to meet my protein needs — by consuming plants. Learning that animals were basically the “middleman” of the protein supply chain, I now know that animal protein is not the only way to meet this nutrient requirement. I am training for a half-marathon in May, and my CrossFit days will begin again once the pandemic slows and vaccinations are more readily available. A vegan diet has profoundly changed my life.
My husband watched my success from the sideline. Then he began doing his own research, which also pointed toward a plant-based diet. He too had health issues and decided to give the vegetarian lifestyle a try, beginning after the first of this year, with the end goal of moving to a vegan diet.
My husband was an avid meat eater. He is from Tennessee, and his hobby during the warm months was smoking meats in his gigantic smoker. He would spend hours marinating, slow-cooking and tending to these meats. It was a large part of who he felt he was.
During his research, he stumbled upon a documentary called “The Game Changers,” which is about top athletes who observe plant-based diets. He watched this documentary intently. After, he looked at me and said, “I’ve been lied to my whole life.” Realizing that the meat industry works hard to convince people to buy and consume their products and believe there is no other life besides being a meat eater, he felt betrayed. Having been a football player, he had been fed the same dietary misinformation: “To be an athlete, you have to eat meat to get adequate protein.”
This documentary changed his whole perspective on meat consumption. Since Jan. 1, he has not looked back on his decision to stop eating meat. He enjoys this lifestyle and feels better every day. Most of his health issues have resolved, although some still linger. He is a bit apprehensive about a move to a full vegan lifestyle due to his love of cheese. I do not blame the guy; I loved — and still miss — cheese.
Through this journey, I have become a huge advocate of the health benefits of being vegan. I convinced my father to observe a plant-based diet as well. He has had many health issues throughout his lifetime, the most serious being a heart attack in 2018. We were lucky he knew the signs and went to the emergency room as quickly as he did. My plant-based journey influenced his own journey toward health and well-being. He cut out meat in July and transitioned to being fully vegan in December. He said he has never felt better and plans to observe this eating style for the rest of his life.