Is there such a thing as low-carb gravy? Yes, there is, and it's not hard to make, either. You just need a couple of special ingredients that you can find at just about any supermarket or health food store.
What is Gravy, Anyway?
Gravy and sauces are two different things, even though they seem very similar. Gravy is made with actual pan drippings from cooking meats, and contains the browned bits of meat in the gravy, while sauces are made without the pan drippings. Gravy has three main components - pan drippings, liquid, like broth or wine, and thickeners, and the thickeners are where the carbohydrates lie in most traditional gravies. Most gravy recipes call for flour as the thickener, and flour is a no-no on the low-carb diet, because of all the starch it contains. But don't despair, there are alternatives.
Alternative Thickeners for Low-Carb Gravy
- ThickenThin not/Starch Thickener - This is a specialty product you can find at low-carb specialty stores, and you can add it to anything you want to thicken. Use about a teaspoon per cup of gravy, and give it a few minutes to thicken up.
- Arrowroot - You can find this at most health food stores, and about a teaspoon is all you need for about a cup of gravy. It has 7 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon, so a teaspoon will go a long way in a cup.
- Cornstarch - Cornstarch is a staple in most kitchens, and it's a great thickener. It has about the same carb count as arrowroot, and it will make your gravy a little shinier and glossier than traditional gravy. A tablespoon will thicken up to two cups of gravy.
- Heavy Cream - Instead of adding all broth to your gravy, add some heavy cream, and just let it reduce until it reaches a gravy consistency. Or, try adding sour cream to thicken up the gravy. Some low-carbers also advocate just allowing your gravy to reduce without adding any thickener, but you'll end up with less finished product this way.
- Vegetable Gums - These products, like guar gum and xanthan gum are made from vegetable sources, and they contain no carbs. You can use them to thicken gravy, sauces, and all kinds of dishes that contain sauces or wet ingredients. You can find them in health food stores and in the health food sections of some supermarkets.
How to make Low-Carb Gravy
Once you've got your thickener chosen, it's a cinch to make low-carb gravies for your favorite dishes. Just follow the recipe for any of your favorite gravies, using your thickener in place of the flour, and you'll soon be enjoying a low-carb gravy you can feel good about!