I went to Portland recently, and was overwhelmed with the vegan restaurant options. One of my favorite places was the Sweet Pea Baking Company. It was a lovely little cafe with all vegan baked goods (and some gluten free options!) and excellent coffee. I ordered the vegan biscuits and gravy, and was inspired to try making my own!
And I have to admit, my version was more delicious. And it even pleased my omnivorous room mate who is dubious of all things vegan. It was “meaty” and substantial and super filling (I ate it for breakfast three hours ago and still feel stuffed). There is nothing traditional about this version, though- whole wheat flour biscuits, and a nice dark gravy supported with veggies. The perfect Southern comfort food with a whole food twist.
Without further ado, my recipe! This feeds 4-6 people, and takes about an hour to make the biscuits and 45 minutes to make the gravy. I made the biscuits two days prior and stored them in air tight containers, but they were still delicious after a quick warm up in the toaster oven.
BISCUITS (recipe adapted from “Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson):
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance (I use the stick variety) chilled and diced into small-ish cubes
2 cups of almond or soy milk
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. In your food processor (or a large bowl if you don’t have a food processor), mix the flours, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter and pulse a few times in the food processor (or use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in if you don’t have a food processor). Mix the butter in until it resembles “sandy pebbles” (still the goofiest cooking term ever).
If you’ve been using a food processor, move the flour and butter mix to a large bowl. Mix in the milk just enough to incorporate it all with the flour, but don’t over do it unless you want tough biscuits.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and scoop out the biscuits about a half inch apart. Make them as gigantic or tiny as you want (I made about 10 pretty big ones with this recipe). Bake for 12-15 minutes.
GRAVY RECIPE (Adapted from “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell):
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 cup of coarsely chopped mushrooms
3/4 cup finely chopped leeks
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups plain almond, soy, or rice milk
2 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 package “Gimme-Lean” sausage or comparable ground sausage style fake meat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable stock, milk, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, thyme, marjoram and salt. Set aside.
Heat a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and melt the Earth Balance. Add the mushrooms and leeks and saute until the mushrooms are shrunken and juicy. While the leeks and mushrooms are sauteing, crumble the veggie sausage into a skillet and let it cook until browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom/leek mix, and stir it in to make a paste. Keep cooking and stirring until the mix starts sticking to the pan and gets a shade darker. Take the pan off the heat and add a little of the milk/stock mixture at a time. Stir it in with a wooden spoon- and later a whisk as it gets wetter.
After you’ve added all the liquid, but the pan back on the heat and turn the flame onto medium-high. Whisk the mixture constantly until the gravy boils, then turn the head down to low, stop whisking, and cook for a few more minutes until it thickens. The whisking can be a bit exhausting (it took a while for the gravy to boil), but it’s important to get the right consistency. When you’re happy with the gravy’s thickness, stir in the veggie sausage.
Warm the biscuits in the toaster oven, pop them in a shallow bowl, then top generously with the gravy and inhale. SO TASTY.