Dietitian Bobbie Crothers guides you through the convenient options available for ready-made gravies in your supermarket.
Winter is the time when gravy is a key player in meals. But making it from scratch is not always feasible (or terribly healthy!). Luckily, there are some great store-bought options.
While instant gravy, in both powder and liquid forms, doesn’t exactly taste like Grandma’s secret recipe, the convenience it provides can be worth it.
There are loads of flavours to choose from – chicken, lamb, beef, pork, various vegetable flavours, even ones with added herbs and wine. Salt-reduced versions were also recently introduced to the market, for those watching their sodium intake.
What to look for
Gravy is used to flavour our meals, rather than add essential nutrients, so it’s important they are not adding too much in the way of kilojoules, fat or sodium. It wasn’t difficult to find products that met our kilojoule and fat criteria, but the amount of sodium in some instant gravy mixes was off the charts. If you need to limit your sodium intake (even if you don’t, you should still be mindful of how much is in your food), you will need to choose carefully. It probably wouldn’t hurt to limit how often you use and buy instant store-bought gravies.
What’s a serve?
Most manufacturers suggest serve size of about 1/4 cup – or three tablespoons – per person.
Easy ways to jazz up an instant gravy
Add a spoonful of Dijon or wholegrain mustard to a roast meat gravy to serve with roast beef.
Add a dash of red wine and some freshly ground black pepper to onion gravy for lamb or beef. For chicken dishes, add white wine and chopped tarragon leaves.
Add chopped sage or thyme and fresh rosemary to roast chicken gravy.
A teaspoon of curry powder or Morrocan seasoning will add a little zing to any flavour of gravy.