Vintage Recipe Revamp: McCall Cookbook’s Gravy (2012 Style)


Slather on the gravy…2012 style.

In the 8th edition of McCall’s Cooking School, which was published in 1981, an advertisement for Wyler’s Bouillon cubes presented a rice and gravy recipe. Despite its simplicity, the gravy calls for ingredients that put a dent in your diet and health. Here is a better, vegan alternative to gravy that keeps the creamy, buttery goodness without all the preservatives, simple starches, and hydrogenated fats.

Most bouillon cubes are high in sodium and contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). One cube has nearly 600 milligrams of sodium and MSG is a potentially dangerous additive that can cause an host of symptoms, such as heart palpitations, headaches, and numbness. There is often a large amount of preservatives in bouillon cubes as well.

And while margarine is a cheaper substitute for butter, it’s a fat you should steer clear of. During its production, vegetable oils are heated at levels that completely destroy antioxidants in the oils and virtually make them them cancerous. Then the margarine is hydrogenated, using hazardous chemicals that remain in finished product as well as create fat molecules that are unnatural and unknown by the human metabolism. White flour is also an empty substance in the human body and is hard for it to process.

We can do better. By keeping the ingredients real, we take one step, but by keeping them vegan, we go a mile. Here’s a vegan gravy recipe that’ll satisfy even the most skeptical of palettes.

Vegan Gravy



  • 1.5 cups crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other vegan milk)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Fresh thyme for garnish


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 1/2 tablespoon of butter and add the crimini mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook down until the volume has reduced and the liquid from the mushrooms is cooked off.



In a separate pot over medium heat, melt the 1.5 tablespoons of butter, add to it the flour and nutritional yeast, and stir until evenly combined. This will prevent clumping later. Next add the milk, wine, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continuously stir until the mixture thickens.



When the mixture thickens to desired consistency – it should drip in clumps, not drizzle, from a spoon – add the cooked mushrooms and dried thyme. Stir over medium-low heat for 1-2 more minutes.


Garnish with fresh thyme and serve aside rice or whatever you’d like.


Bon Appetit!

Images: JB Curio, Aylin Erman

Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.