Best Ever Vegetarian Gravy

by Susan Smith in

I’m sort of selling myself short on today’s recipe title because this gravy may well be the best ever gravy for everyone; vegan, vegetarian and carnivore alike. It doesn’t need meat juices from the roasting pan for depth of flavour, this stand-alone gravy is as intensely flavoursome as any I’ve tasted…ever! Better still, it can be made well in advance, so there’s no last minute panic to rustle up a tasty gravy whilst the rest of dinner goes cold. Simply make ahead of time then, whilst you’re plating up the rest of the meal, re-heat your gravy to boiling point and pour over.   

I knocked this vegetarian gravy up ‘out of the blue’ in about 15 minutes flat whilst the Nut Loaf that was featured on last week’s Primal Plate blog was resting in its tin before being turned out and sliced. Frantically looking around my kitchen for any ingredients that I could gravy-fie to get our meal onto the table pronto, the first thing I espied was the tomato juice leftover from a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes I’d used to make the Nut Loaf. The second was my husband’s glass of red wine poured in readiness for dinner.

Combined with a few other store cupboard ingredients - not least Sukrin almond flour to thicken - it was gravy alchemy. A light, bright, delicious, vegetarian accompaniment to elevate the pure and simple into the most tasty meal imaginable. 

Best Ever Vegetarian Gravy (Serves 4)


1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 organic medium onion, finely chopped
1 dsp organic tomato puree
2 tsp organic reduced salt vegetable bouillon powder
1 heaped tsp Sukrin organic reduced fat almond flour
75 ml organic tomato juice (I used the juice that I’d drained from a 400g tin of organic chopped tomatoes)
75 ml red wine
200ml fresh filtered water
1 tbsp organic tamari
½ tsp Marmite or natural yeast extract
1 fresh bay leaf - optional


Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook gently with the pan lid on for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and light golden in colour.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the Sukrin almond flour with a little of the tomato juice, stirring well to make sure there are no lumps before adding the rest of tomato juice. Set aside.

When the onions are soft and golden, take the saucepan off the heat and add the tomato puree and bouillon powder. Stir everything together really well until it forms into a smooth-ish paste then add the red wine. Keep stirring until this is fully integrated, then do the same with the almond flour/tomato juice mixture. Finally add the water, the tamari, the Marmite and the bay leaf (if using).

Set the pan back over a medium-hot heat and stir continuously until the gravy comes to the boil and has thickened slightly. Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue cooking, uncovered, for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

Strain the gravy through a stainless steel sieve into a clean saucepan - I also like to press about half of the softened onions through the sieve to achieve a gravy with a bit more substance. Cover the pan and set aside until you’re ready to eat.

Alternatively, strain into a clean glass or ceramic bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.


The drained chopped tomatoes can be used to make Nut Roast, Virgin Mary Vegetable Cocktail (recipe coming soon) and Coconut King Prawn Curry (recipe also coming soon) - as you can see I’m currently awash with ideas for organic tinned tomato recipes!

I’ve not included sea salt or freshly ground pepper in the ingredients list for this recipe because quite frankly the Swiss bouillon powder, tamari and Marmite do the trick without. However, if you’re using ‘no-salt’ natural yeast extract you might want to test for seasoning and adjust to taste if needs be.

Carbohydrate 4g Protein 2g - per serving

Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish

by Susan Smith in ,

A happy prelude to Christmas for me is in late autumn, when the first fresh cranberry harvest hits the shops. Can anything be more gloriously pertinent to the forthcoming festive season than these plump, fiery red berries? Packed full of vitamin C and credited with impressive medicinal powers, one glass of cranberry juice per day could well keep the doctor away! Bite into a raw cranberry though and you’ll find it’s so very bitter that it’ll make your face pucker! 

Thus, most commercial enterprises and home cooks have traditionally assumed that the only fun way you can cram more of these gutsy phytonutrient-laden berries into your diet is to cook them with lots of sugar to reduce their bitter tartness. Unfortunately, people who eat Paleo or Primal prefer not to eat sugar, so now what? The health food saviours at Sukrin have come to the rescue again with their 100% safe and all-natural alternatives to sugar. Made from erythritol, these alternative, almost non-caloric, sweeteners are as close as it gets to being Paleo/Primal friendly whilst still managing to taste like sugar.

Hence I’ve been able to create this very healthy recipe for low-carb, Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish. The perfect Christmassy accompaniment to all savoury dishes, this is also the first make-ahead ingredient you’ll need for Primal Plate’s alternative vegetarian Christmas lunch - a sensational looking and tasting, Cheese, Parsnip, Cranberry and Chestnut Loaf (recipe coming soon).

Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish (Makes 450g = 12 generous servings)


300g fresh cranberries

40g Sukrin Gold

1 medium/large organic orange - finely grated zest and juice (you need 100ml of fresh orange juice)

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

2 tbsp port

2 tbsp organic raw ‘runny’ honey


Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped (do not overdo this, you don’t want cranberry puree at this stage).

Tip the chopped cranberries into a saucepan with the orange zest and juice, the Sukrin Gold and the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Bring everything up to simmering point and gently cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until the mixture collapses into a thick puree. 

Remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes, then stir in the port and raw honey.

Allow to cool then spoon into a serving dish, cover with cling film and keep in a cool place until needed (alternatively, spoon the cranberry relish into a sealed, sterilised glass jam jar and store in the fridge). 


To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place the jars on a baking tray and place on the middle shelf in a medium oven 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4 for 5 minutes. 

Lids can be left in boiling hot water to sterilise. If you are using Kilner jars you may want to remove the orange rubber seal and soak that in boiling water too.

You can make and freeze Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish up to a month in advance of Christmas. Just take it out of the freezer a couple of days before you need it and allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. 

Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

Carbohydrate 7g Protein 0g - per serving