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How To Make Grain-Free Onion Gravy

If you follow a low-carb diet, this Grain-Free Onion Gravy (also gluten-free and sugar-free) is perfect for you. Pureed caramelized onions are the only thickener. Pour this gravy over mashed cauliflower for some guilt-free comfort food.

Caramelized-Onion-Gravy-Gluten-free-Grain-free-and-Sugar-free

If you think cutting carbs is the end of your gravy train, then I have good news for you.

In my last post, I talked about eating mashed cauliflower and suggested using gravy to make it more appealing. Because of the carbs in traditional gravy, I avoid using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot to thicken.

Recipe Inspiration

I tried coconut flour, but the texture felt gritty on my tongue. Same with chickpea flour. Most gluten-free flours are actually quite high in carbs, so that wasn’t an option either.

Then it hit me…

I remembered my recipe for Roasted Rosemary Chicken with “Instant” Gravy. Baked onions are the only thickening agent in the gravy

It occurred to me that caramelized onions should work the same way, and sure enough, they make a delicious gravy.

How do onions make a sauce thicker?

When using onions to make a sauce thicker, cook them down to access the natural gelatin within. I’m no food scientist, but my experience bears this out. The caramelizing process will accomplish this in addition to giving the onions extra flavor as they brown. Unfortunately, this will take time.

caramelized onions in a black skillet

It can take up to an hour to caramelize your onions on top of the stove. The heat must be low so as not to burn the onions. In addition, they will need to be stirred occasionally.

An hour? Who has that time for that?

Two ideas for making caramelized onions at your convenience

  1. Use a slow cooker. No stirring or babysitting required. On the other hand, the flavor doesn’t seem as concentrated because not as much liquid is lost in the slow-cooker process.
  2. Fortunately, the onions can be prepared ahead of time, then frozen. I nearly always have a few packages of frozen caramelized onions in the freezer for recipes like this one. Pick a time when you know you’re going to be in the kitchen for a while anyway.

Do mushrooms make everything better?

I think so. If you are a mushroom lover like I am, try browning about eight ounces of mushrooms in the same skillet you used for the onions. Add half of the mushrooms to the blender, or just leave them in pieces. Add them to your finished gravy for visual interest and added flavor.

gravy with mushrooms

Recipe Notes

The flavor of your gravy will depend at least 99% on the quality and richness of your broth.  If you use bouillon or canned stock, check the taste before adding salt. If you have juices left from a roast or baked chicken, use that.

No broth in the pantry?

Use the water you have used to deglaze the pan in which you caramelized the onions. All those browned bits will add flavor and color to your gravy.

Looking to add more flavor?

Depending on your tastes and dietary limitations, try adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, or Kitchen Bouquet. (Check labels. These will likely add sugar and grains.)

If you are strict about no extra sugar or grains, try adding herbs such as thyme or parsley, unflavored Greek yogurt, or sour cream.

Disclaimer:  If cooked onions affect you adversely, this probably isn’t the recipe for you.


More Grain-Free Recipes




Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula

Grain-Free Caramelized Onion Gravy

Grain-Free Caramelized Onion Gravy

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free gravy packed full of veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced thinly (8-10 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups water or broth (chicken, beef, or veggie--see notes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a medium to large size skillet over medium heat on stove. The heavier the skillet, the better. Add oil, then onions, stirring frequently, especially during the beginning and the end, until they caramelize and turn brown. This may take between 30-45 minutes and can be done ahead of time. The onions should have cooked down to approximately 1/2 cup. Place onions into a blender.
  2. Add water or broth of your choice to same skillet you used for onions. Boil until all brown bits have dissolved into the water or broth. Add water or broth to blender containing onions saving back about a fourth cup.
  3. Starting at a slow speed and progressing to high, blend until smooth. Open blender and clean sides with a spatula. Add butter for smoothness. Keep blending. Add more liquid if gravy is too thick for your tastes. If you decide to add herbs, sour cream, or yogurt, do it last and blend just until smooth.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Sorry I can't give you an exact measurement. It depends on the broth you are using. My husband requires lots of pepper so there's that, too.

Notes

*I prefer to use homemade broth or stock so I can know exactly what's in it.

*If adding sour cream and yogurt, start with a couple tablespoons.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

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RobLL

Saturday 21st of January 2017

One of my cooking hobbies, is comparing two seemingly different foods that really are the same. I like the idea of your Caramelized Onion gravy. I have made a similar thing, and called it ...... French Onion Soup. I had never thought of using it as a gravy.

Paula

Saturday 21st of January 2017

Perhaps I should have called this recipe "French Onion Gravy". Has a nice ring too it. ?

Mary Wilson

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

Pork skins are either no or low carb. Kind of stinky but when you want crunch that help. Good with salsa and cheese dip.

One other thing I learned recently if you like artificially sweetened tea is that Sweet and Low has .9 carbs. I have switched to liquid purchased on Amazon

This may not be important unless you are really watching carb intake and love your tea sweet.

Paula

Wednesday 18th of January 2017

Hi Mary, I have heard this about pork skins and even bought a bag to try but never did it before they went out of date. You must be a southerner or maybe you grew up in the south or maybe Texas? Seems like that's where most lovers of sweet tea hang out. I like a little bit of sweetness in my coffee so I understand. I wish I didn't have to but a little pinch of Stevia makes the coffee so much better.

Mary Paulsen

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. We love the Cauliflower Cream recipe & can't wait to try the Caramelized Onion Gravy. I actually have a question about another recipe, but when I went to your contact page it said I couldn't reach you that way. I want to make your Rosemary Parmesan Foccacia but I don't have any deep dish pizza pans. Do I need to use a deep sided pan? Also, how wide is your pan? Thanks, in advance!

Paula

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

Mary, I just noticed I didn't answer all your questions. You can contact me at the email address under the contact tab but the @ part is written out so you have to change that. It's to throw off the ever-lurking scammers.

My pizza pan is is about 14 inches but I don't usually make my Foccacia as big as the pan. The dough would be too thin. After you make it once, you'll see what I mean. Hope you love it.

Becky

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

Well, thank you, Paula, for that cheese head pizza crust idea! Yes, it looks like a treat, but I do indulge in treats at times, and I am not trying to avoid calories so much as sugars, grains, bad fats, and processed foods. (It has been my experience that avoiding these things usually leads to less calories anyway.)

The latest herbal tea that actually seems to satisfy my sweet tooth is Super Lean Green from Republic of Tea. It purports to have some magical appetite and fat burning attributes because it contains garcinia cambogia fruit. I don't particularly believe these claims, but I received a sample in their latest catalog, and the flavor of the tea seems to let me forget that I haven't had dessert in the evenings. Go figure, I have never had a green tea I like, but this one is pretty good. I have ordered a tin of it because every little bit of support to my will power is worth it. I am toying with the idea of homemade mayo and other condiments, and I don't find it daunting as much as wasteful since I am sure just the two of us would not eat it up before it went south.

You are right, I feel much better when I eat mindfully, but the effort seems to be a drag occasionally. Feel free to share any recipes or ideas that you have in this regard. Your clever kitchen ideas are always appreciated!

Paula

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

Hi Becky,

I can see your reply on my computer. No worries.

I'm not much of a green tea fan but I will try the Super Lean Green on your recommendation. My favorite tea at the moment is Sweet and Spicy by Good Earth, the caffeine-free variety.

I can relate on the homemade-condiments-for-two-people issue. Same here.

I am constantly looking for ways to convert my favorite recipes to low-carb so stay tuned.

Becky

Sunday 15th of January 2017

Paula, this is a fabulous idea! Yes, like a lot of people these days, I am trying to cut out carbs for health reasons. It has been challenging in the most surprising ways! Keeping up with food science can be a drag, but necessary if we care about our health. What have been your biggest challenges? For me it has been contemplating giving up oatmeal in the morning and sweets at the end of dinner. I gave up sweet drinks ages ago, and most other grains don't tempt me. I am going to try substituting buckwheat porridge for the oatmeal, and I have had some success drinking herbal teas after dinner. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Paula

Monday 16th of January 2017

Hi Becky, Good questions. The most challenging for me was pizza. I do not like most of the low-carb substitutes. However, cheese head pizza crust (just google it) is amazing but rather high calorie so it has to be a treat. I cut out oatmeal for a year but added it back after I got rather distressing numbers on my cholesterol count. I still don't do any other grains. It was hard to cut out bread but had to be done. Desserts were also difficult to give up but they are a slippery slope for me. My homemade Greek yogurt with powdered peanut butter is our standard dessert now. Very filling. Other "slippery slopes" include white potatoes and French Fries specifically, as well as all other chips. Trying to be strict about sugar in processed products so end up making a lot of condiments from scratch. I have found that all this makes me feel so much better and I have much less trouble controlling my weight, not to mention less guilt for sliding down those slippery slopes.

I have also tried the herbal teas. What are your favorites?