The Cottage Smallholder

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Anna’s famous onion gravy recipe

vegetarian onion gravy

Vegetarian onion gravy

I’ve been working at Anna’s house for the past five weeks. The spot is so secluded that I could not find it on my first foray and had to return home. At the second attempt, Jalopy and I were resting at the side of the road, scratching our heads and on the point of giving up when, miraculously, Anna drove past.

We followed her lead and learned the route to her house. Down a quiet track, in the middle of fields. I would never have found it by myself and might have missed out on this onion gravy gem.

Anna cooks delicious meals for her children every evening without a hint of resentful huffing and puffing. She chops, sears and simmers. Then takes Max, their lurcher, out for a power walk. Within minutes after her return, they are sitting down to a feast.

Needless to say, I have tasted every dish that she has made. Anna shares her secrets.

Last night she offered me a spoonful of mashed potato with gravy. My figure has rollicked out of control recently so I tasted only a teeny touch of onion gravy. It was was beefy and piquant. I was amazed to discover that it was entirely vegetarian.

We were having sausages this evening so I made Anna’s onion gravy as an accompaniment. Danny loves onion gravy and I knew that this would blow his socks off. Thanks Anna, he was delighted.

Don’t make the same mistake as we did. This gravy is designed to be served with plain sausages and we used spicy ones which gangled the taste buds.

Our cottage is divided down the middle when it comes to Marmite. I love it, Danny runs screaming from the room at the sight of a pot. The Marmite flavour combines well with the other ingredients and is not discernible.

Vegetarian onion gravy recipe
Recipe Type: Gravy Sauces
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4
  • 1 large onion (sliced into rings). Anna says that red onions are best.
  • 1 clove of garlic (Finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • 1 level tablespoon of plain flour
  • 350 ml of stock (boiling water poured over 1 tsp of Marigold)
  • 1 level teaspoon Marmite
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar (I think that she shouted this variation through the door as I shot out to join Jalopy in the snow).
  • 1 pinch of decent mixed herbs (my addition)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over a low heat and add the onion slices.
  2. After five minutes add the garlic.
  3. Sautee until the onions are soft and transparent.
  4. Add the flour and stir in well. Let the flour get a bit nutty.
  5. Add the stock gradually, stirring constantly. Then add the Marmite, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, mixed herbs and black pepper.
  6. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer very gently for 20 – 30 minutes.
  7. Stir every 5 minutes until the gravy thickens and the flavours blend.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi KarenO

    This is good news! Never considered using it with anything other than sausages. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I made this to go with some leftover roast chicken when we had no leftover gravy. It was delicious! We had mashed potato & swede along with other veg & it was a perfect gravy for it. I did adapt it a bit but now can’t remember what I did hope I wrote it down!! Still the original sounds lovely too – I never stick to a recipe anyway.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Anna R

    Nice twist. Mushroom ketchup is such a great ingredient!

  4. I omitted the soy sauce and added mushroom ketchup instead – 2 teaspoons

  5. We had this gravy last night with ‘bangers n mash’ and it was lovely. I too added a spoonfull of sugar to the onions but kept to the rest of the recipe. This was a good ol’ comfort meal. Thank you

  6. My dear friend,
    Delighted to see my recipe on le blog.I actually use 2 tbsp of soy sauce,perhaps a little too salty for most palates bit then I never have salt in anything else.Another lovely addition is a tbsp of home-made( obviously!) bramble jelly,damson jelly or a slug of damson wine,
    Would love to catch up soon,

  7. Thanks for your valuable feedback, Anne, Sara and Jo.

    Last Wednesday I printed out Fiona’s recipe above and cooked some cut price Musk’s superb sausages with the onion gravy as per her/Anna’s original recipe.

    Agree – it was far too salty, probably because of the amount of soy sauce (1-2 tbsps in the original). So I have amended the recipe to 1-2 tsps as per Anne’s suggestion.

    Also, I started cooking the gravy before anything else. That was a lucky break because the other ingredients took longer than expected (too much vino absorbed by the cook). So the gravy cooked for a total of 25 minutes or more. That was good because the onions became softer and the gravy was better as a result. Probably the same effect as browning the onions for longer.

    Ad, Jo, next time I will try a little sugar. I am a small boy at heart after all !!

  8. Hi just made the gravy to go with meatloaf- so not at all vegan I’m afraid when I seated off the onions I added about a tablespoon of demerara sugar to caramelize the onions- DELISH even my son ate it and he doesn’t like onions!!!! Thank you for the recipe definately will be using it again!!

  9. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. We’ve been using it ever since you put it up and it makes me very happy… vegans don’t have much choice when it comes to gravies!

  10. Wonderful onion gravy recipe! I could have eaten it on its own. I browned the onions more than the recipe seems to recommend, and next time might try less flour – but it was fabulous. But should the recipe read 1-2 tsp (not tbsp!) soy sauce? My effort was fine with one teaspoonful…

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