February 4, 2011

Beanalicious Bean Broth Gravy Recipe

I don't care what it's been, what is it now?

When my dining partner and I started moving away from a meat-based diet, gravy dropped off the menu. But we like gravy. Yummy, yummy gravy. It is near the top of the list of comfort foods, and is an essential part of the northern winter diet required for putting on an insulating layer of fat. Besides, how else can you eat all those potatoes down in the root cellar?

For minimal meatists and those aspiring to reduce their foodprint, this gravy is not based on a dead bird or hunk of cow, but on the cooking liquid from preparing dry beans. Because of this it is also a very frugal menu item as it uses a resource that more often than not gets wasted.

Bean cooking liquid, bean broth, or bean 'juice' as we appetizingly call it, is rich in nutrients. When made into a sauce it is beanalicious. The following recipe is based on one I found in Laurel's Kitchen for Soy Gravy.

Although that recipe uses soy beans, I have made bean gravy using the broth from cooking several different kinds of beans. Soy broth makes excellent gravy, but so does the juice from pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, and black beans. Garbanzo bean (chick pea) broth is not recommended for gravy.

Bean Gravy Recipe


1/4  cup        oil
1      small     onion diced small
1      clove     garlic crushed
1/4  cup        whole wheat flour
2      cups      bean cooking liquid
2      tsp        soy sauce or Bragg
pinch            one or more seasonings: chili powder, thyme,     black pepper, salt

  1. Preheat a saucepan or cast iron fry pan over medium-high heat. If you wish, toast flour in the dry pan for a couple of minutes, remove then set aside. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Stir the flour into the onions and cook for two minutes. 
  2. Add the bean broth and whisk to mix everything to a smooth consistency. 
  3. Add soy sauce/Bragg and other seasonings to taste.
  4. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes to deepen flavours.
  5. Cook to desired consistency (add a bit of water if too thick).
Serving Suggestions

As mentioned previously, bean gravy is made for mashed potatoes. We also use it for other dishes. Add corn to the gravy and have it over a bowl of brown rice. Thicken gravy and serve it over whole wheat toast. It is excellent served over split home made cheese scones.


  1. Can you can this so it doesn't have to be stored in the freezer? I am not a vegetarian, but I was looking for a refried bean recipe, which led to this. I love this idea! I am not able to recycle much around my area except soda cans, so cutting back on waste is something I would much like to do. I am going to be looking at all of your posts now. Thank you so much!

    1. Cyndi, We make this gravy recipe with 2 cups of bean juice at a time, usually right after boiling dried beans. With a bunch of mashed potatoes, or over fried eggs on muffins, it doesn't take long to eat it all. It can stay in the fridge for a few days.

      If you are wondering about freezing the refried beans, the only other method I am familiar with would be pressure canning. Then the jars could be left on the shelf.

      Thanks for visiting!

    2. Does bean juice present flatulence problems though? We've been (not bean) vegan now for 35 years and we are careful to throw away water that beans have been soaked. Plus there are also scare stories about kidney insofar as they release toxins if not properly cooked. Any thoughts?

  2. veryan weston,

    We have not experienced any noticeable problems with flatulence when eating bean juice. When we soak beans we throw the soaking water out. When we cook the beans we save the cooking juice and make the gravy with that.

    Some beans make a tastier juice for gravy, and kidney juice is not our preference. Our favourites are pinto and soy bean cooking juice.

    Kidney beans do have a high concentration of toxin, but it can be rendered inert by boiling for at least 30 minutes. For this reason, cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker is not recommended.


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