These biscuits and gravy are made without sausage or any other meat, making them vegetarian. They also have a dairy free option for those who are dairy free or vegan.
This lesser known version of biscuits and gravy is made without sausage or any other kind meat but is still a Southern classic.
Pepper gravy can also be used if you want your gravy a little more peppery.
HISTORY OF BISCUITS AND GRAVY
Early European settlers in the United States brought with them a simple, easy style of cooking. It was usually based on ground wheat and warmed with gravy as a source of cheap nutrition. This was the foundation for biscuits.
The biscuit emerged as its own food in the early 1800s as a cheap addition to meals. It had the benefit of not requiring yeast.
At this point in time, bread was made only once a week. Also, yeast was a byproduct of making beer, commonly known as emptins.
So, if you lived in a city and close to a brewery, you had relatively easy access to it. However, if you were not so lucky, it was either difficult to attain or you had to try to make some version of it at home.
Even once panned yeast was created, by the turn of the century it was still not easy to acquire.
With the lack of yeast, beaten biscuits, or sea biscuits as they are known in New England, were developed. They were similar to hardtack.
These biscuits were beaten and folded to incorporate air into the dough, which expanded when heated in the oven, causing the biscuit to rise.
They were beaten for anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes using a rolling pin, hammer, side of an ax, or handle of a musket.
These biscuits were eaten with gravy and it wasn’t long before biscuits and gravy was created. The advantage of the biscuit over a slice of bread was that biscuits are firmer and therefore better for wiping up gravy.
Then, after the Civil War, biscuits and gravy became an actual dish because food was in short supply.
Also, a lack of money meant it had to be cheap and nutritious.
This was not unlike the early European settlers in the United States who ate ground wheat and warmed with gravy because it was a source of cheap nutrition.
Breakfast was literally the most important meal of the day in the South for anyone facing a day of work on the plantations.
Then, with commercial baking powder becoming available in the middle of the century, it made the fluffy biscuit we know today possible. This, in turn, changed the face of biscuits and gravy to the delicious dish eaten all over the country.
WHAT IS BISCUITS AND GRAVY MADE OF?
Biscuits and gravy are made of biscuits or buttermilk biscuits covered in gravy.
Usually, sausage gravy is used, though the sausage can be replaced with hamburger meat.
However, meatless versions are also common and use country gravy or pepper gravy instead.
DO BISCUITS AND GRAVY HAVE DAIRY?
Yes, biscuits and gravy contain dairy because the gravy is made using milk and the biscuits are made with milk and butter.
This recipe gives dairy free alternatives for anyone who is dairy free or vegan.
WHAT CAN I USE TO SUBSTITUTE MILK FOR BISCUITS AND GRAVY?
Unsweetened mild flavored dairy free milks are a very good substitute for milk in biscuits and gravy. You can also use water, but the gravy won’t be as opaque or white if you do.
HOW DO YOU MAKE GRAVY FOR BISCUITS AND GRAVY WITHOUT MILK?
Then, you make a sausage gravy without milk, like you are directed to do in this recipe.
CAN YOU MAKE BISCUITS AND GRAVY WITH ALMOND MILK?
Yes, you can make biscuits and gravy with unsweetened almond milk and/or almond cooking milk.
Simply replace the milk called for in biscuits and gravy for almond milk.
WHAT IS A ROUX
A roux is flour and fat cooked together until it reaches a specific color.
It is used as a thickening agent for gravy, sauces, soups, and stews, and it has been used in French cooking for hundreds of years to thicken sauce.
The flour is added to the melted fat or oil on the stove top, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired color.
A roux can be white and used for country gravy, blond for classic gravies, or brown and used in gumbo and jambalaya.
The lighter the roux, the more thickening power it has.
Once the roux is the desired color, liquids like stock are added.
WHY USE FLOUR TO THICKEN GRAVY
I use flour to thicken gravy because it gives the gravy that classic opaque, slightly pale look.
Many people don’t like using flour because if it isn’t cooked long enough, it can give a floury flavor to the gravy. Also, if not made properly, it can become clumpy.
The good news is, making a smooth creamy gravy is a snap if you turn it into a roux first.
Another benefit some people see with gravy made with flour is that it keeps better in the fridge. This means it can be made ahead of time or used for up leftovers.
Which dairy free milk should I use?
Honestly, it’s whatever you have on hand or prefer.
My go-to is a neutral flavored full fat oat milk because I find that they are the most similar to regular full fat milk.
Almond milk works well here, too. I personally like using an unsweetened barista almond milk because it is more similar to regular full fat milk, but whatever you have will work.
You can also use coconut milk, though it may have a subtle coconut flavor if you do. Coconut milk has more fat and is similar to using a light cream, but it won’t make a noticeable difference.
I’ve never used soy milk, so I don’t have any opinions on it, but you can use that as well.
Another option is to combine one part coconut cream and one part almond or oat milk.
It should keep the same creamy texture but water down the mild coconut flavor.