Sauces, gravy, stock cubes, they can all make or break a meal if you have allergies. If you have an allergy to dairy, wheat, gluten, celery, tomatoes or MSG then gravy and stock cubes are a minefield. When you’re eating out you never quite know what’s gone into the stock and gravy on a meal, and a roast dinner without gravy just isn’t quite the same.
I was prompted to write this long planned blog post today when I noticed Michelle Berriedale-Johnson’s post, “Easy Gravy” which just appeared in my inbox. Michelle cooked a roast this week with her very own ‘free from everything’ gravy. No stock cubes required. Check it out for an interesting read; you will need a rack, an aubergine, water and wine!
Boxes of various different stock cubes have lain languishing on my desk now for some weeks just waiting for their chance to appear on my blog. So here goes. I’ll begin with my favourite. The only celery free gravy mix I’ve found.
- Free & Easy Gluten Free vegetable gravy sauce mix – This one is yeast, gluten, GM, celery and dairy free. Ingredients: Brown rice flour, cornstarch, (non GMO), hydrolysed vegetable protein (non GMO), extract of roasted barley malt (gluten free), powdered onion, sea salt, ground pepper. You simply mix a few teaspoons of this in cold water, like you would with corn flour, and add to your meal to make gravy. I use this one regularly and it’s great in cottage pie, chilli (if like me you can’t eat tomatoes) or as gravy. I usually add other herbs and spices as it’s not that exciting!
- Marigold Organic Swiss Vegetable Bouillon – These stock cubes are yeast and gluten free and once again, the only stock cubes I’ve found that are free from celery. Ingredients: Sea salt, Palm oil (organically grown), vegetables 13.5% (onion, carrot, parsley), Maltodextrin, Spices (Mace, lovage, turmeric, bayleaf, pepper). Again, I use these stock cubes regularly, in anything from soup to gravy. I find I need two as they are not quite a strong as normal stock cubes but they give a nice flavour and are not too salty.
- Kallo Organic vegetable stock cubes – These stock cubes are gluten and dairy free but do contain celery. Ingredients: Sea salt, maize starch, vegetable fat, yeast extract, carrot (3.5%), onion (2.5%), leek (1%), cane sugar, herbs (parsley, celery, lovage, thyme, rosemary) red pepper, turmeric. Celery is listed here as a herb. Is celery a herb? or a vegetable? Some of the stock cubes include it as a vegetable and others as a herb. These stock cubes also do contain yeast so no good if you’re allergic.
- Antony Worrall Thompson’s yeast free organic stock cubes – These ones are gluten, dairy and yeast free but they to contain celery so I haven’t tried them. Anthony Worral Thompson has an interest in cooking for those with allergies and is presenting some of the Awards at the FreeFrom Food Awards 2011 this year on 6th April. Ingredients: Rock salt, starch (potato and corn), non-hydrogenated palm fat (organically grown), Mixed vegetables 11% (onions, celery, leeks, carrots), sugar, lovage, parsley, nutmeg, turmeric, garlic, pepper.
- Tesco beef stock cubes – Again, I haven’t tried these stock cubes either but they seem to be wheat and gluten free. Anyone tried them? I’m not sure why any stock cubes need any colouring added, or preservatives, since the others don’t have that, but I thought I’d include for comparison. It might be cheaper and therefore suitable for someone on a gluten free diet but shopping on a budget. Ingredients: Salt, sugar, vegetable fat, potato starch, yeast extract, natural flavouring, beef extract (2%), colour (plain caramel), celery powder, carrot, parsley, preservative (Sulphur dioxide).
- Oxo beef stock cubes – I don’t have much to say about these ones either. Never tried them, and not really liking the list of flavour enhancers and colours necessary here. They contain wheat, yeast and corn, but they were the cheapest of the lot to buy. They also contact lactic acid, which I recently wrote about; I’m never sure whether it’s dairy free or not as it can be naturally occurring in some foods and nothing to do with dairy at all. Ingredients: Wheat flour, salt, yeast extract, maize starch, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutamate, disodium guanylate), colour (Ammonia Caramel), Beef fat, Flavourings, Dried beef bonestock, sugar and lactic acid. Allergy advice: Contains wheat, gluten.
This is just a tiny sample of the range that’s available, and I may have missed some out. These were the ones I was able to buy last time I went on a big shop, except my special ones which are celery free and have to bought specially on Goodness Direct or from a health food store. I think Bisto are pretty good but again, none in the house and I think buying four brands you can’t eat in one go is enough. I’m pretty sure the ingredients are pretty basic and I’ve had gravy made from Bisto at the mother in laws with no adverse effects.
For roast dinners, I find that a delicious gravy can be made from simply saving some of the vegetable water, adding a bit of the meat juices, a few Marigold free-from stock cubes and any herbs and spices I feel like mixing in. A little corn flour will help thicken if you’re not allergic to corn.
Has anyone got a favourite brand of free-from gravy mix of stock cubes? Or a great free-from recipe for gravy?
And finally, if anyone would like to take the Kallo, Anthony Worral Thompson’s, Tesco or Oxo stock cubes off my hands, first come first served. Be the first to leave a comment and I’ll post them to you. It has to be a constructive comment though please and I’m only posting in the UK (sorry overseas readers).
Finally I have also shared a blog about How to make easy peasy free from gravy from scratch.
Michelle BJ says
Hi Ruth – What a useful blog……. Thanks for doing the leg work!!
Hi Michelle. I enjoyed that one actually. Years of trawling. Micki asked if any of them were corn free. The Marigold one says it has Maltodextrin. I will have to ask them if this is made with Corn or Barley. It says it’s gluten free so would that rule out barley? And the Kallo has maize starch so that’s corn. If you find a corn free gravy or stock cube on your travels point me in the right direction! Thanks again for the kind words. Ruth
Oh and you were the first to comment! Which of them would you like? I could even hand deliver at the awards ceremony! Should probably be the AWT ones since he’ll be there ;o)
Thanks for the info. I had been trying to find out what suitable gravies and stock cubes were out there and you had all the answers.
I have a yeast intollerance and also the lily family, so no onions or garlic. I am trying to find a gravy browning, and thought i was Ok with Tesco, but it has maltodextrin and barleymalt, which seems to cause me gut problems. Are you aware of any product without these ingredients, please?
Off the top my head most have either onion, garlic or maltodextrin in them. One really amazing way I have of making a gravy/stock is to keep the carcasses of chicken or other meat and freeze it. Then when you have two or three pop them in a slow cooker for 4 hours with whatever veggies and herbs/spices you can tolerate to make your own stock. Then this has a multitude of uses. Simply freeze into ice blocks of freezer bags/tubs for instant stock. The other thing I do is to just put some corn flour or arrowroot powder with cold water or oil into a paste, add to hot vegetable water and add whatever you can have. ie. wine, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, meat juices and make your own quick and easy gravy/sauce. That you know exactly what’s in it. I hope this helps. I’ve just a few of my fave gravies (Isabels and ilumi) and they both have onion so no good for you. Alternatively if you are cooking a joint, buy a rack and you can add all sorts to the juices below the meat to make a simple gravy.
lea sharman says
Hi Ruth, I use Tesco beef and chicken stock cubes. They both seem to be gluten free and I haven’t had any bad reactions to them.I usually make up some cornflour with water and make up the stock cube with hot water. Just for added flavour, I stick a knife into a pot of bovril and whatever comes out I add to the gravy. I find the Tesco cubes are already very salty.
When I go out for a meal, I take a small flask of gravy with me. Lea.
Hi Lea. I think Tesco are gluten free yes. And I like the flask of gravy idea. Inspired! Never thought of that. I’ve got a really cool little stainless steel thermos which would do just the ticket. No more plain roast dinners with no gravy… oh joy! Can’t wait to try that out. Will probably get some funny looks but who cares.
lea sharman says
Ruth, I usually ask the waiters if it’s all right for me to use my own gray and they always say it’s O’K’ Some restaurants will offer to make g/f gravy for you but it’s best if you take your own.
Also, I sometimes go out for a breakfast and take my own bread and butter.Again, I have never been refused, If you explain. I’ve even found they are very helpfull when I go on Holiday to Greece. I carry a card with me that you can download from the internet in all languanges explaining all about coeliac disease.
Yes I’ve taken my own milk and marg often to bfast and meals and always when I go on holiday. Thanks for the reminder re allergy cards. Going to portugal so must remember to get some before we go. It’s a really good idea. I’m going to update my eating out safely blog post to include this idea. Thanks again for the comment.
Planning to update blog post soon since I discovered Knorr liquid stock which appears to be gluten free, dairy free and corn free. Sounds delicious. Look out for Knorr Simply stock. Ingredients: water, vegetable juice (leek, celeriac, carrot) salt, mushroom juice, garlic paste, spices (lovage, white pepper, nutmeg). WOW!
Hi there, just done a summary of the stock cubes found to be grain free: check it out: http://trulyglutenfree.co.uk/2011/04/09/gravy-and-stock/. Thanks for your help with this!
We have used Anthony Worrall Thompson’s and I thought it was OK flavour-wise but stopped using it because it was upsetting my stomach. We’ve also used a Heinz baby gravy. No wheat/gluten, may contain mustard, ‘may contain’ milk (but Baby can cope with that). Does contain Celery, celeriac. However, it does contain cornflour and maize flour causes me probs, so it might explain why I’m not so stuck on this one either. May well give the Marigold one a try, if I can find it. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get it from?
Hi there. They are good. Perhaps not as strong as normal stock cubes so I tend to chuck in two instead of just one. I have found them in Waitrose before but can’t always rely on them having any in. The Free&Easy quick gravy is good too.
I recall Marigold put peanut protein into some of their bouillons so I am cautious of all because of cross contamination – BUT maybe no longer the case, does anybody know?I know I could just take a look in the supermarket but lazily asking here!
Hi Nicky, I haven’t heard or found anything about peanuts protein in Marigold stock cubes. I’ve got some in the cupboard though so will try to contact them to ask. I’d be very surprised if they did, being an allergy product and all that, but you never can be too careful. However on the plus side, I’ve been using these stock cubes for years with no ill effect.
Apparently, according to Delia Smith’s website you can also find it in Polish shops where it has the brand name Vegeta, but is more or less the same thing.
Thanks Ruth, was getting fed up trawling through health food shops looking for an onion free stock now that Massel have started adding onion and garlic to theirs… just have to figure out if the Tesco can be bought here (Australia), the others you mentioned can…
I’m UK based and I’ve recently started a gluten free diet as I’m pretty sure I have an intolerance at least, currently being tested for celiac and my brother (In Austraila) is celiac so you never know.
Feel better already and its only been a couple of weeks, however I also have an onion/leek/chive allergy so stock cubes are difficult at the best of times.
I will definitely be trying the tesco ones now though. Hope you found some in Australia
Have you checked out ilumi chicken gravy? And Sainsbury’s stock in the pouch?
Kirsty Cook says
Hi, I’m kinda new to the gluten free diet since being told I’m intolerant to gluten. I found this blog while I was googling for gluten free stock cubes so I can make some gravy and I have found it useful, thank you. I didn’t know Tesco has gluten free stock cubes and there are others other than Antony Worrall Thompson’s so I think I will try all of them to see which I prefer. Thanks once again, you have been an angel!
Check out Sainsbury’s too, they do some really nice very simple stocks in a pouch. They do vegetable, beef and chicken I think. I’ve tried the chicken one and it’s pretty good. Good luck with the gravy! And also, when you eat out, heat some and take it in a flask! Inspired don’t you think?
Hi, I’ve recently discovered I’m allergic to paprika and turmeric so even the Marigold range is now off limits for me sadly. These two ingredients can hide behind the term “contains spices” in so many products so I think I’m going to have to resort to making my own stock cubes and freezing them.
Yes I actually make my own, save up chicken carcasses and do in bulk. I do mine in the slow cooker, just with some leeks, onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Works a treat.
Sounds tasty, I’ll definitely give it a go and then maybe freeze in ice cube trays. Thanks for the recipe Ruth.
Paul Jacques says
I note that ‘Free and Easy Vegetable Gravy Mix’ is said to be free of yeast extract, but does contain hydrolysed vegetable protein, which in itself can contribute up to 30% of MSG. It could still be a problem for people who can’t take the ‘natural’ MSG that is present in yeast extract. I suffer salicylate intolerance and obviously read all the small print on the package labels, and do suffer with ‘gravies’
Thanks Paul, yes the word ‘hydrolysed’ doesn’t really appeal either. It’s not natural for starters. Gravies are not easy, I tend to make my own. ilumi do a chicken gravy which is pretty basic. Have you tried that one?
Pearl Martin says
Thanks for all your work! I make my gravy from my own chicken bones and thicken with cornflour but I never have enough stock to make soups for my husbands Fodmap diet!!
I have used Knorr Touch of Taste bottles of chicken and beef stock which were wonderful , but am gutted to find them discontinued and I can’t find them anywhere.
I need something with no flour onion or garlic.
Can anyone help??
Ruth Holroyd says
Gosh no, I can’t think of one off the top of my head. You’ll have to start making your own. I am pretty sure I’ve blogged about this. Do it in a pressure cooker or slow cooker to avoid having to stand over it watching and stiring. Pressure cooking is quick – slow cooker is slow obviously but both make great stock and you can then add what you want.
What a brilliant post! Thank you for all your effort! I was actually looking for an alternative to bovril which I have found but yet to try. Happy Christmas to you and your team x
Ruth Holroyd says
No problem! Thanks for the comment. Yes you could make your own by boiling up beef bones etc! Happy Christmas to you too