Gravy made from the drippings of roasted meats may be traditional, but that doesn’t make it great by default. Depending on the flavors at play, those drippings can leave a gravy tasting fatty and heavy. It also excludes any vegetarians from ladling it on.

But too often the alternative— vegetarian gravies—fall flat, tasting mostly of dull boxed vegetable broth. Instead, we wanted a vegetable-based gravy that tastes light and vivid, but doesn’t sacrifice any savory richness. We also knew that vegetables, when properly prepared, can deliver all the rich flavor we need.

We began by focusing on high-flavor ingredients—tomato paste, miso and soy sauce. We used those to elevate a basic homemade vegetable broth (not from a box). Aggressively browning these ingredients in stages took their umami to a new level. After thickening the mixture with a little flour, we deglazed the pan with white wine. Once the mixture reduced, we strained the liquid from the solids, yielding a surprisingly meaty gravy—no turkey-roasting required.