Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Gravy ♥

Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Gravy ♥ A Veggie Venture, easy enough for weeknight suppers, special enough for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
graphic button small size size 10 Everybody's favorite mashed potatoes drizzled with a vegetarian or vegan gravy, just onion and apple simmered until soft in apple cider. Fresh ginger gives this plant-based gravy a lovely kick, fresh sage makes it all savory. Easy enough for a weeknight suppers, special enough for a vegetarian Thanksgiving. graphic button small size size 10

Fresh & Seasonal. Easy to Make Ahead. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Perfect for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Easily not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

At Thanksgiving, It's Not Always Easy ...

TO BE A GUEST & A VEGETARIAN Oh, the travails of a Thanksgiving guest who doesn't eat meat. One year, even the Thanksgiving green beans were laden with bacon. Another, Thanksgiving dinner had plenty of meatless vegetable dishes but during the clean-up, the host asked me to pick the turkey. Oh dear ...

TO HOST GUESTS WHO DON'T EAT MEAT These days, many cooks are sensitive to people's food choices, food allergies and prescribed diets. But if anything strikes fear into an omnivore cook's heart, it's the prospect of vegetarian guests for Thanksgiving. But don't despair, with just a little bit of forethought, it's easy to cook make-ahead dishes that vegetarians and vegans can eat and all your guests will enjoy.

With Little Effort, Even the Gravy Can Be Vegetarian

Mashed potatoes and gravy means a meat-based gravy, right? Nope. This vegetarian apple gravy is a real stand-out. It's a simple make-ahead gravy, delicious for everyone but also a creative option for vegetarians or vegans. It's full of flavor but won't fight with turkey and stuffing.

Better yet, it's a terrific option for an easy weeknight supper.We love this gravy!

It's such an easy, seasonal way to cook apples in a savory way during the fall. The ginger adds this lovely gingery heat, very unexpected but pleasant. Better yet? It's so simple to make on a weeknight. Twice I served it with slices of rotisserie chicken, warmed in their own juices in a skillet. So good! [Chicken? Note to Vegetarians but the short version is that I'm no longer a vegetarian and that A Veggie Venture is 100% vegetables and mostly but not completely veg(etari)an.]

Just updated. First published way back in 2006!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4 (standard supper servings) or 8 smaller large-meal servings

For extra-good mashed potatoes, be sure to check out Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes and use those techniques here.

Salted water to cover
1 pound (454g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter (for vegetarians) or olive oil (for vegans)
1/2 large onion, diced small
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup apple cider
3 small tart apples, skins left on, quartered and cored, in thin slices
1 tablespoon flour (or arrowroot for gluten-free)
5 - 8 leaves of fresh sage, minced (save some sage for garnish)

POTATOES Start the water to bring to a boil in a medium pot on MEDIUM HIGH. Scrub the potatoes well and cut out any small imperfections with a paring knife. If you're peeling the potatoes, now's the time! Add the potatoes to the water whenever they're prepped, the water needn't be boiling. Cover the pot and when the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to MEDIUM, then simmer the potatoes until they're cooked, you can tell by slipping a thin knife into the middle, if it slips in easily, the potatoes are done. Drain the potatoes through a colander, discarding the cooking water. Return the hot potatoes to the still-hot pan. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a hand mixer. Add the butter and milk, small amounts at first, adding more as needed to achieve the consistency you like. After mashing, the potatoes will stay hot, if covered, for a good half hour before serving.

GRAVY While the potatoes cook, make the gravy. Heat the butter or heat the olive oil in a large skillet on MEDIUM heat until it's melted (for butter) or shimmery (for olive oil). Stir in the onion and fresh ginger, coating with fat, then let it cook just until the onions begin to turn gold, stirring occasionally. Stir in the apple cider and apples. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Once the liquid is hot, spoon a few tablespoons of it into a small bowl, stir in the flour and mix until smooth, then slowly add back to the skillet. (Alternatively, you can also sprinkle the flour across the skillet and gently work it into the gravy. There's some risk of lumps this way but it works for me.) Cook the gravy for 2 - 3 minutes more (just for 1 minute for arrowroot), until the floury taste is gone, then continue cooking until the apples are soft. Stir in the fresh sage and cook briefly, about a minute.

TO SERVE Pour gravy over top of a dollop of mashed potatoes. Garnish with additional fresh sage, if desired.

POTATOES Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into same-size pieces but do this no more than a couple of hours before serving and cover the potatoes with water; this prevents the potatoes from turning an ugly-ugly brown. Once cooked, the mashed potatoes will stay hot for a good half hour, just keep them covered.
GRAVY Make the gravy a day ahead. Just before serving, gently rewarm it in a skillet.

SALTING THE WATER Use 1 - 2 teaspoons of table salt, that's the Morton stuff with iodine, for every four cups of water.
CHOOSING THE POTATOES In 2006, I mashed some German butterball potatoes, skins on, sooo smooth and sweet. But any firm unwrinkly potato, a Yukon Gold, say, is perfect for mashing. Choose potatoes of roughly equal size so the cooking time is similar, otherwise cut the potatoes into chunks of roughly equal size.
ADDING BUTTER I use just a tablespoon or two of butter but some cooks use far more: cook's choice! Vegans, you'll want to use olive oil or margarine or a vegan butter.
WARM THE MILK? Some cooks warm the milk beforehand so that it doesn't cool the potatoes down. Vegans, you'll want to choose a vegan "milk," soy milk comes to mind.
FOOD PROCESSOR? ELECTRIC MIXER? Don't use a food processor for mashing potatoes, it turns potatoes into a glue-y, gummy mess. An electric hand mixer works beautifully for mashed potatoes, it gives such good control for working out those last lumps. A stand mixer would work but a pound's worth of potatoes is too small a volume for a stand mixer's usual large bowl, you'll end up scraping the bowl quite often, not fun. If you like a rustic texture in mashed potatoes, you'll love an old-fashioned potato masher, we have a non-stick potato masher that works really well and can be used right in the cooking pan without damaging the surface.
NO APPLE CIDER? Apple juice works well too, just add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar too.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2018 & 2019 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. What a great idea! Gravy does tend to be a problem for us veggies - this is an excellent solution. This year I'll enter thanksgiving dinner prepared to gravy my pototes the veggie way!

  2. I love this idea....screw the turkey.

  3. I love mashed potatoes...not a huge gravy fan

  4. I do a mushroom-mustard-and guinness gravy. I will try to get it up in time for the holiday celebrations. Thanks for this useful and enlightening series.

    You know, it's funny; I think even non-vegetarians really are happy enough without actually *eating* the turkey--it's more about sacred work--I mean devoting the effort and space to the project of cooking the bird.

  5. Sher ~ I'm with you on those potatoes!

    Vanessa ~ This gravy was a sort a surprise, just kind of putting things together one night on the fly. But it's a winner, for sure.

    Peabody ~ No! Not the turkey! We need it for sandwiches and soup and oh, a great casserole with wild rice that will run on Kitchen Parade in a couple of weeks!

    Jeff ~ luckily gravy is optional!

    Chocolate Lady ~ oo, I love the concept of sacred work, there are meals when it seems that way, yes? And I find Thanksgiving a day of union, there we all are, on the same day, (mostly) eating the same turkey and the same mashed potatoes and the same green beans and sweet potatoes: it's a reminder of how more we're united, than divided. I'll think of you as I cook, this year ... Thanksgiving AND Christmas ... there's a union, a communion, in faith as well.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna