Caramelized Onion Gravy (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free and Sugar-Free)

Caramelized Onion Gravy-2

If you think cutting carbs is the end of your gravy train, then I have good news for you.

In my last post, I talked about eating mashed cauliflower and suggested using gravy to make it more appealing. Because of the carbs in traditional gravy, I avoid using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot to thicken. I tried coconut flour, but the texture felt gritty on my tongue. Same with chickpea flour. Most gluten-free flours are actually quite high in carbs, so that wasn’t an option either. Then I thought about my recipe for Roasted Rosemary Chicken with “Instant” Gravy. Baked onions are the only thickening agent. It occurred to me that caramelized onions should work the same way, and sure enough, they make a tasty gravy. The good news is that this recipe boasts only 5 grams of carbs for a generous half-cup serving.

Caramelizing onions is not hard, but the process takes some time. Fortunately, they can be prepared ahead of time and frozen.  I nearly always have a few packages of frozen caramelized onions in the freezer for a quick meal.

If you are a mushroom lover like I am, try browning about eight ounces of mushrooms in same skillet you used for the onions. Add half of the mushrooms to the blender, or just leave them in pieces and add to your finished gravy for visual interest and added flavor.

Caramelized Onion Gravy with Mushrooms

The flavor of your gravy will depend at least 99% on the quality and richness of your broth.  If you use bouillon or canned stock, check the taste before adding salt. If you have juices left from a roast or baked chicken, use that. No broth in sight? Use water you have used to deglaze the pan in which you caramelized the onions. All those browned bits will add flavor and color to your gravy. Depending on your tastes and dietary limitations, try adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, or Kitchen Bouquet. (Check labels. These will likely add sugar and grains.) If you are strict about no extra sugar or grains, try adding herbs such as thyme or parsley, unflavored Greek yogurt, or sour cream.

Caramelized Onion Gravy

Disclaimer:  If cooked onions affect you adversely, this probably isn’t the recipe for you.

Caramelized Onion Gravy
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4½ cup servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free gravy packed full of veggies
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced thinly (8-10 ounces)
  • 1½ cups water or broth (chicken, beef, or veggie--see notes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Pre-heat a medium to large size skillet over medium heat on stove. The heavier the skillet, the better. Add oil, then onions, stirring frequently, especially during the beginning and the end, until they caramelize and turn brown. This may take between 30-45 minutes and can be done ahead of time. The onions should have cooked down to approximately ½ cup. Place onions into a blender.
  2. Add water or broth of your choice to same skillet you used for onions. Boil until all brown bits have dissolved into the water or broth. Add water or broth to blender containing onions saving back about a fourth cup.
  3. Starting at a slow speed and progressing to high, blend until smooth. Open blender and clean sides with a spatula. Add butter for smoothness. Keep blending. Add more liquid if gravy is too thick for your tastes. If you decide to add herbs, sour cream, or yogurt, do it last and blend just until smooth.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Sorry I can't give you an exact measurement. It depends on the broth you are using. My husband requires lots of pepper so there's that, too.
*I prefer to use homemade broth or stock so I can know exactly what's in it.

*If adding sour cream and yogurt, start with a couple tablespoons.

*Regarding nutritional analysis: Sodium analysis is not included because individual tastes for saltiness will vary. Optional mushrooms and any fat or seasonings in broth are also not considered. Analysis is done with water as the liquid.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 77 Fat: 6 g Saturated fat: 2.2 g Unsaturated fat: 3.7 Carbohydrates: 5.2 g Sugar: 2.4 g Fiber: 1.0 g Protein: .6 g Cholesterol: 7.8 mg



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

RobLL January 21, 2017 at 10:36 am

One of my cooking hobbies, is comparing two seemingly different foods that really are the same. I like the idea of your Caramelized Onion gravy. I have made a similar thing, and called it …… French Onion Soup. I had never thought of using it as a gravy.


Paula January 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Perhaps I should have called this recipe “French Onion Gravy”. Has a nice ring too it. 😊


Mary Wilson January 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Pork skins are either no or low carb. Kind of stinky but when you want crunch that help. Good with salsa and cheese dip.

One other thing I learned recently if you like artificially sweetened tea is that Sweet and Low has .9 carbs. I have switched to liquid purchased on Amazon

This may not be important unless you are really watching carb intake and love your tea sweet.


Paula January 18, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Hi Mary,
I have heard this about pork skins and even bought a bag to try but never did it before they went out of date.
You must be a southerner or maybe you grew up in the south or maybe Texas? Seems like that’s where most lovers of sweet tea hang out. I like a little bit of sweetness in my coffee so I understand. I wish I didn’t have to but a little pinch of Stevia makes the coffee so much better.


Mary Paulsen January 17, 2017 at 9:20 am

Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. We love the Cauliflower Cream recipe & can’t wait to try the Caramelized Onion Gravy. I actually have a question about another recipe, but when I went to your contact page it said I couldn’t reach you that way. I want to make your Rosemary Parmesan Foccacia but I don’t have any deep dish pizza pans. Do I need to use a deep sided pan? Also, how wide is your pan? Thanks, in advance!


Paula January 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm

I just noticed I didn’t answer all your questions. You can contact me at the email address under the contact tab but the @ part is written out so you have to change that. It’s to throw off the ever-lurking scammers.

My pizza pan is is about 14 inches but I don’t usually make my Foccacia as big as the pan. The dough would be too thin. After you make it once, you’ll see what I mean. Hope you love it.


Becky January 17, 2017 at 7:44 am

Well, thank you, Paula, for that cheese head pizza crust idea! Yes, it looks like a treat, but I do indulge in treats at times, and I am not trying to avoid calories so much as sugars, grains, bad fats, and processed foods. (It has been my experience that avoiding these things usually leads to less calories anyway.)

The latest herbal tea that actually seems to satisfy my sweet tooth is Super Lean Green from Republic of Tea. It purports to have some magical appetite and fat burning attributes because it contains garcinia cambogia fruit. I don’t particularly believe these claims, but I received a sample in their latest catalog, and the flavor of the tea seems to let me forget that I haven’t had dessert in the evenings. Go figure, I have never had a green tea I like, but this one is pretty good. I have ordered a tin of it because every little bit of support to my will power is worth it. I am toying with the idea of homemade mayo and other condiments, and I don’t find it daunting as much as wasteful since I am sure just the two of us would not eat it up before it went south.

You are right, I feel much better when I eat mindfully, but the effort seems to be a drag occasionally. Feel free to share any recipes or ideas that you have in this regard. Your clever kitchen ideas are always appreciated!


Paula January 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Hi Becky,

I can see your reply on my computer. No worries.

I’m not much of a green tea fan but I will try the Super Lean Green on your recommendation. My favorite tea at the moment is Sweet and Spicy by Good Earth, the caffeine-free variety.

I can relate on the homemade-condiments-for-two-people issue. Same here.

I am constantly looking for ways to convert my favorite recipes to low-carb so stay tuned.


Becky January 15, 2017 at 7:07 am

Paula, this is a fabulous idea! Yes, like a lot of people these days, I am trying to cut out carbs for health reasons. It has been challenging in the most surprising ways! Keeping up with food science can be a drag, but necessary if we care about our health. What have been your biggest challenges? For me it has been contemplating giving up oatmeal in the morning and sweets at the end of dinner. I gave up sweet drinks ages ago, and most other grains don’t tempt me. I am going to try substituting buckwheat porridge for the oatmeal, and I have had some success drinking herbal teas after dinner. Thanks so much for this recipe!


Paula January 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Hi Becky, Good questions. The most challenging for me was pizza. I do not like most of the low-carb substitutes. However, cheese head pizza crust (just google it) is amazing but rather high calorie so it has to be a treat. I cut out oatmeal for a year but added it back after I got rather distressing numbers on my cholesterol count. I still don’t do any other grains. It was hard to cut out bread but had to be done. Desserts were also difficult to give up but they are a slippery slope for me. My homemade Greek yogurt with powdered peanut butter is our standard dessert now. Very filling. Other “slippery slopes” include white potatoes and French Fries specifically, as well as all other chips. Trying to be strict about sugar in processed products so end up making a lot of condiments from scratch. I have found that all this makes me feel so much better and I have much less trouble controlling my weight, not to mention less guilt for sliding down those slippery slopes.

I have also tried the herbal teas. What are your favorites?


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