Vegan Biscuits and Gravy – Good Comfort Food!

If you grew up in the middle or Southern U.S., or had family roots there, you probably ate some biscuits and gravy in your childhood. There is no sense in pretending a plate of biscuits and gravy is good for you (though I have had chickpea gravy, which is certainly better for you but less yummy), but it tastes good and it’s one of those foods that, on a fall day, feels just about right.

It took me a while as a vegan to even try making biscuits and gravy, because most soy milks seemed far too sweet. So, it wasn’t until I found some unsweetened soy milks (Silk has one, as do others), that I gave it a try. If you are hoping for a healthy recipe, go read some of my others. If you just want yummy comfort food, read on!

Vegan Soda Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c soy milk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
4 tbsp of soy butter, shortening, or oil

Combine salt, soda, and flour (my original recipe calls for sifting them  – I don’t sift, but if you do, rock on). Work in the shortening/butter/oil until mixture becomes crumbly. Add vinegar to soy milk and stir (this will “sour” the soy and create something like buttermilk). Add milk mix gradually until mixture gets to a consistency that is not sticky but is doughy. Kneed until smooth but don’t over knead; roll out, and cut. Bake 12-15 minutes at 420*  Note: these aren’t big fluffy biscuits, they are dense soda biscuits. For fluff, go with a yeast dough recipe.

Vegan Fauxsage Gravy
1/2 package of faux sausage (we like Lightlife)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, brown the faux sausage in a bit of olive oil, separating to small pieces as it cooks. Set that aside. Add the vegetable oil and flour to the skillet and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium/high until bubbly. Slowly add the unsweetened soy milk. After fully combining, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to get gravy to a simmer and continue to stir often. Add salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes, adjusting thickness if needed with extra soy milk. When finished, stir cooked sausage back in and allow to cook another minute to heat through. Serve over fresh biscuits.


Hot Vegan Breakfast

Ok, so the title sounds like something you would find in the video store behind the swinging doors, but what I’m getting at here is the idea of a cooked breakfast for vegans. It’s pretty easy to come up with a continental vegan breakfast, because there are plenty of breads, bagels, and cereals that contain no animal products. But, when you move into the hot food category, sometimes people get lost. So, here, in no particular order, are 10 ideas for hot vegan breakfasts.  These aren’t full recipes, but they should get you started.

Photo: MD Anderson's Focused on Health

1. Oatmeal and fruit
I suspect you don’t need me to say much more here, but if you want to read more about oatmeal, check out this post.  Oatmeal is good stuff, and an “oatmeal bar,” with a variety of toppings to select from, tends to make children pretty happy as well.

2. Tofu scramble

Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a frying pan.  Saute some onions, peppers, and maybe celery (your option).  Add turmeric, ginger, chili powder, and salt.  Once vegetables are nicely done, crumble in a block of tofu and continue to cook, breaking up tofu into scrambled bits.  Delicious and filling!

3. Breakfast casserole

Cover the bottom of a casserole pan with parchment paper.  Add a layer of frozen hash browns or tater tots (yep, tots).  Sprinkle in a finely diced onion.  Pop a block of tofu into the blender and pulse until it’s almost blended, but not fully smooth.  Stir in 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast. Pour over tot mixture.  Add seasoning (salt, pepper, hot sauce) to taste.  Cover with foil and cook at 350* until heated through and the tofu has firmed back up.  If desired, add Daiya cheese and allow to melt.

4. Pancakes with peanut butter and bananas

I’m not the biggest pancake fan, but my kids are.  One of their favorite ways to eat pancakes is with some peanut butter and either syrup or bananas (or both).  I like that this option provides a little protein, as well as carbs.  A basic half-wheat recipe can be found here.

5. Tempeh fakon sandwiches

Bacon, I don’t miss.  But, sometimes I do miss that salty and smokey taste, and this takes care of it.  Slice a package of tempeh into very thin slices.  In a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 tablespoon of olive oil (or sesame oil), 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke,  2 tablespoon of soy sauce (or Braggs), 2 tablespoons of water, and a pinch of garlic salt (or 1 clove of garlic finely minced).  Brush mixture over tempeh on both sides, allow to soak in, and fry until crisp.  If you have extra sauce, you can continue to add more to the slices as they fry.   Serve on toast with lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo.

6. Baked tofu and tomato on toast

This is one of my go-to weekend breakfasts because it is so easy and the leftovers make perfect sandwich starters at lunch.  Drain 1 block extra firm tofu.  Slice into thin (1/4 inch) slices. Place on a baking pan or stone and put in oven at 375*.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  When slices start to firm/brown on one side, flip over and continue to cook.  After slices are done, serve on toast (vegan butter or cream cheese optional) with slices of fresh tomato.

7. Biscuits and gravy

Make a pan full of basic soda biscuits (2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, cut in 4 tablespoons vegan butter and 3/4 cup water, roll and cut, bake approximately 25 minutes at 375*).  While those are cooking, heat 6 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and gradually add a half cup flour.  Lower heat slightly and continue to cook roux, stirring constantly until it turns golden brown.  Slowly add 1 quart unsweetened soy milk (good to let this come to room temp before you start) while stirring.  Turn up heat slightly and continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken – which may not be until it boils some.  Lower temp after it is close to as thick as you would like and add salt and pepper to taste.  If you would like, you can add sausage crumbles (see below) at this point. Serve over biscuits.

8. Fauxsage sandwiches

You can make your own vegan sausage with seitan, but I’m too lazy in the morning to do that, so I buy Lightlife sausage rolls.  Slice rolls into 8 pieces.   Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a frying pan.  Place slices in pan and coat both sides and then use spatula to flatten to desired thickness.  Fry until crisp on the outside.  Serve on your favorite bread (I like rye) with your choice of condiments (I like mustard and tomato).

9. Grits and greens

I love grits.  And, a little punch of greens in the morning sets you up all day (my preference is kale).  Grits are easy to cook – just see the package.  Once they are done, slap on a little vegan butter or olive oil, some sea salt and pepper and that part is done.  Chop kale or other green into bite-sized pieces.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke.  Add greens and saute until desired tenderness.  Salt and pepper to taste. Plate up with your grits and you are rocking.

10. Leftovers from last night

Who says hot breakfast has to be breakfast food?  I am a big fan of heating up pasta, beans and rice, veggie stirfry, vegan chili dogs, etc. for breakfast.  Root around in the fridge and find the best leftover before anyone else gets to it for lunch.  Muhahaha!

And there you have it.  A deck-a (little Latin joke) ideas for vegan hot breakfasts.  I think I just made myself hungry.