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Oklahoma Favorite Foods Made Healthier: Biscuits and Gravy

Fried okra. Corn dogs. Chicken fried steak. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Peach fried pie. Fried catfish. Chicken pot pie. Cornbread. Black-eyed peas. Fried chicken. Cherry limeades. Pecan pie. Macaroni and cheese.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Recently we took an informal poll to discover the foods people associate with Oklahoma. The delectable comfort foods listed above topped many a list. While undeniably delicious, no one can argue these fan favorites are exactly healthy options (except, arguably, the black-eyed peas  -- but then there are those salty bacon drippings that make them so delicious) for people who are trying to eat less grease, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed food, lard and other bad fats.

We at I On Your Health believe in the motto "Everything in Moderation" and there is a place for indulging in the foods you love on occasion, as long as you keep in mind the frequency and the amount you are consuming.

On the other hand, we think you can enjoy many of these favorites in a better-for-you way.  In our new recurring series we'll feature some of Oklahoma's most delicious foods remade healthier. By making a few simple tweaks to the recipes, you'll still get the great flavor that made the foods favorites in the first place, but limit the parts that aren't so healthy.

This way, you can eat the foods that give you comfort more often, without the food guilt. Our goal at I On Your Health is to give Oklahomans tools to live healthier, longer and stronger, but in ways you can actually live with and enjoy.

Remember that small changes like the tweaks found in these recipes can eventually produce big results, and if you start small you’ll find it easier to sustain the change over the long haul. Once you build some momentum, we hope you'll feel motivated to establish additional healthy food habits as you go.

Our inaugural dish is a healthier biscuits and gravy recipe, courtesy of our friends at Full Plate Living.


A Healthier Biscuits and Gravy Recipe | Full Plate Living

Recipe for White Gravy

  • ¼ cup Cashews (Raw is best, but roasted works well, too.)
  • 2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ t Bouillon or Concentrated Broth
  • ½ t Poultry Seasoning
  • ½ cup White Beans (like navy, great northern, etc.)
  • 2T Whole White Wheat Flour
  • 1T Olive Oil
  • Red pepper, optional, at the table

Soak the cashews in 1 cup milk for 15 minutes. You can also soak them overnight and leave them in a refrigerator.

Pour the cashews and 1 cup of milk into a blender and run on high speed until the cashews are blended.

Add beans and seasonings to the blender. Blend until creamy.

Add remaining milk, oil and flour. Mix well.

Pour gravy in pan and cook on medium heat, whisking regularly until bubbling slightly and thickened (about 10 minutes).

Makes about 3 cups.

Serving up that Gravy

Take this to whatever level you or your family feels comfortable with.

Good: Cook the sausage (use turkey sausage or sausage replacement for less fat) separately, then drizzle the gravy on top of the cooked sausage. This keeps the gravy a little thinner so you might consume less.

Better: Ladle the gravy into individual bowls for dipping the biscuits. Or you can dip your fork in the gravy and then stab a bite of biscuit. But more importantly, you aren’t spooning up loads of gravy into your mouth.

Even Better: Fruit is an excellent contrast in flavor to the saltiness of biscuits and gravy. If it’s dinner, consider serving it with vegetables.

Best: Replace the biscuits with cooked whole grain grits. They are yellow, which is a nice color contrast to the white gravy.

For the Biscuits

Since half of the all-purpose flour is substituted with white whole wheat flour, the biscuit will be slightly heartier with a touch of grainy texture. As you get used to the texture change, consider substituting with more whole wheat flour until the entire biscuit is made with whole wheat flour.

In addition, sugar is not necessary for biscuits. Skip it. You won’t miss it.

Lastly, many biscuits are finished off with melted butter brushed on. Since there will be flavor and fat from the gravy, skip this, too. You’ll be glad you did.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup Whole White Wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all ingredients. Use an ice cream scoop with a release lever to scoop balls of dough onto a parchment lined surface. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Whereas most gravy recipes are so rich and unhealthy it’s recommended you eat them only once a year, like on your birthday, this gravy can go over polenta or brown rice without making your doctor nervous.

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