December 13, 2012

Mashed Rutabaga & Kale with Chickpea Gravy

Today's post is all about comfort food - vegan style!

The thought of a big mound of fluffy mashed potatoes drenched in creamy gravy is probably enough to make most people's mouths water, and yet it's something that I've never actually made myself.  I'm pretty sure the last time I ate mashed potatoes and gravy was back when I was a kid, and at every holiday meal since I became vegetarian, I've had to skip the gravy.

I figured it was time to change that by making a vegetarian (and vegan) gravy that would taste just like the kind I used to enjoy as a kid. I've seen lots of recipes for mushroom gravy that sound really good, but I wanted a smoother, silkier gravy.

Then I came across this recipe for vegan gravy that used chickpea flour as the main ingredient for both flavour and texture. I had to make some changes to the method in order to get a sauce that was thick enough, including increasing the cooking time and adding some cornstarch, but in the end it turned out just how I wanted!

The texture was still slightly on the thinner side, but the colour and taste were just right - savory and a bit salty, with notes of fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme. I also added some nutritional yeast which gave it one more layer of flavour with its slightly nutty, cheesy taste.

Next came the issue of what to serve my gravy with! My first idea was to make a mashed potato and rutabaga mixture that is formed into patties and baked in the oven until firm.  Rutabaga - a relative of the turnip but sweeter - is a root veggie that I've been wanting to experiment with, so I was excited to try these. The patties turned out well in terms of looks and texture, but unfortunately they did not taste good at all for some reason, so I had to come up with a new plan!

I still had half of a rutabaga left, so I decided to go with a simple mashed rutabaga flavoured with vegetable broth and garlic, with some cooked kale mixed in to make it even more nutritious!

The mashed rutabaga made the perfect base for soaking up the gravy. It was delicious on its own, but became even more delicious when it was smothered in a generous helping of the gravy - see the before and after photos below (don't mind the mess I made after pouring the gravy)!

This was definitely my idea of comfort food!

Mashed Rutabaga with Kale

2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 a rutabaga (~1.5 lbs), peeled and diced
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups packed kale leaves, stems removed
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Ground pepper

Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer on medium-high heat in a large pot. Place the diced rutabaga in a steamer basket and insert the steamer into the pot. Steam, covered, for about 30 minutes, until soft (Note: try to keep an eye on the liquid level in the pot and add more water partway through to prevent burning).

Meanwhile, heat ½ tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, stirring often.  Add the kale leaves and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Add 3 tbsp water and cover. Let steam for 2-3 minutes, until the water is gone.  Transfer kale and garlic mixture to a bowl to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining water from the kale with your hands, then finely chop.

When the rutabaga is done, transfer to a large bowl. Mash partially, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and the almond milk and continue to mash until all the pieces are broken down (it will remain a bit chunky). Stir in the salt, kale mixture, and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Makes 2 large servings, or 4 small servings (Feel free to double the recipe if you want to use up a whole rutabaga)

Chickpea Gravy
Adapted from Savvy Vegetarian

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 vegetable bouillon cube mixed in 3.5 cups water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Ground pepper

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a medium sized saucepan. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Add the chickpea flour and the spices and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is lightly browned.

Gradually add the vegetable broth, whisking constantly. Continue to simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, whisking frequently, until the liquid is reduced by about a third. Whisk in the cornstarch, 1 tsp at a time, until it is dissolved. Continue to simmer, whisking often, for about 10 more minutes, until thickened.

Transfer mixture to a blender and add the tamari, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Blend on low speed until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Return to pot and keep on low heat until serving time.  

Serve over mashed rutabaga, or use with another recipe, such as mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, tofu, or lentil loaf!

Makes about 2 cups (you will have more than you need for the above recipe of mashed rutabaga)


  1. i've never had a rutagaga before! i love that you lighted up the standard mashed potatoes and gravy. i'm not a big fan of potatoes, and only do so if it's the only thing available. and that gravy WOWWWWWWEEEE, it looks so perfect. i've made the chickpea gravy from appetite for reduction and LOVE it, so i gotta try this one ;)

    1. I usually like potatoes, but in smaller amounts, so it's nice to change them up with another vegetable like rutabaga...and I was looking at the Appetite for Reduction gravy too - I'll have to try that one next!

  2. Oh my gosh this is awesome! I can't wait to try it- I've never actually had rutabaga, I'm always looking for more ways to use my chickpea flour, and of course I love kale, so I must make this!

    1. Sounds perfect! I'm the same with chickpea flour - I love finding new ideas for using it!

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  4. Chickpea gravy ahhhh! Why have I never though of this??!

    1. It worked so well to get the right colour and taste! I guess technically I should have called it chickpea flour gravy...although I've also seen recipes that use actual chickpeas to make gravy, so that's another idea!

  5. I want to eat that gravy with a spoon! I've heard of all different kinds of veg gravy, but never chickpea. It looks so good!

    1. I was eating the gravy with a spoon! I told myself I had to try it both alone and with the rutabaga to make extra sure that I liked it!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks - it didn't taste like chickpeas at all, since it's just chickpea flour, so it was a good way to make a gravy that tasted very traditional!

  7. I love turkey gravy but I also love the idea of this vegetarian gravy because it's not loaded with fat, meaning I can load up my potatoes with as much gravy as I want!

  8. Mmmm! Love rutabagas! My mom makes them mashed with cream cheese, brown sugar and butter. Delicious, but totally takes away from the "health factor" of the rutabagas. *haha* I think I'll try your version with the gravy. The gravy looks amazing!!!!

  9. this looks amazing! i never had a mashed rutabaga! i need to try this chickpea gravy soon! x

  10. Awesome. And guess what I get in my CSA bag this week? Rutabaga and Dino Kale!



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