We kids loved anything my mom made that had a gravy, and this dish was no exception. Her version was very rich, full of saturated fat from meat and butter. This version has none of the unwanted fat, but all the hearty flavors kids—and grown-ups!—love.
⅓ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large bell peppers (preferably 1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow), seeded and thinly sliced
1 pound portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into ½-inch-thick slices
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened plant milk
1 tablespoon mellow white miso
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
4 cups cooked brown rice or mashed potatoes
- Sprinkle the flour in a small skillet and toast it over medium-low heat until it starts to turn brown and fragrant. Set it aside while you finish the rest of the dish.
- Sauté the onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the onion turns translucent and starts to brown, about 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking. Add the garlic, basil, thyme, and marjoram, and cook for another minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
- In a blender, puree the toasted flour, plant milk, and miso. Add the mixture to the pan with the vegetables along with the nutritional yeast. Season with black pepper to taste and cook until a gravy develops, about 5 minutes.
- Serve over brown rice.
- Toasting flour is tricky because it goes from fragrant to burned in a split second. You can’t walk away from the stove for even a minute.
- While I like the color of the three different bell peppers, when all I have is green bell peppers, I am happy to use them instead. But remember, we eat with our eyes as well as our sense of smell and our taste buds, so how a dish looks is part of how it tastes.
Del Sroufe’s passion for cooking began at eight years old and never faded. In 1989, he went to work for one of Columbus’s premier vegetarian restaurants, the King Avenue Coffeehouse, where he honed his craft as a baker and chef. Sroufe opened Del’s Bread, a vegan bakery, before beginning a vegan meal delivery service in 2001, serving eclectic, plant-based cuisine to Columbus residents. During this time, he developed what became a very popular cooking class series, sharing many of the delicious recipes he had created over the years.
Sroufe is the author of Better Than Vegan, The China Study: Quick & Easy Cookbook, and The China Study Family Cookbook, as well as Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, a vegan cookbook companion to the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives.