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Rich and Savory Meat-Free Gravy

2½ Cups

1¼ hours

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This all-purpose vegetarian gravy is so rich and full-flavored, the carnivores at the table likely will not suspect it’s meat-free. Pour it over mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables or even serve it alongside a roasted chicken or turkey. We build deep savoriness into it by browning the ingredients and deglazing the flavorful drippings. Plus, we use both miso and tomato paste to lend umami notes; soy sauce also adds depth of flavor and color. If you have dried shiitake mushrooms in your pantry, simmering one or two (broken into pieces) into the mix adds an extra layer of meaty flavor, but the gravy is delicious without them. If you’re serving a crowd, the recipe can be doubled, but use a Dutch oven instead of a saucepan. The gravy can be made up to three days in advance; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and rewarm gently over medium just before serving.



Don’t season the gravy with salt and pepper until it has fully reduced. Salt is added to the cremini mushrooms to encourage them to give up their moisture, and both the miso and soy sauce add salinity. These ingredients may provide enough saltiness on their own. If salt is added before the gravy is fully reduced, it may wind up overseasoned.

1¼ hours


  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter

  • 8

    ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped


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Margaret G.
November 24, 2023
Extra cooking time
I made this recipe for Thanksgiving yesterday and it tasted great. The only issue I had was reducing the 4.5 cups of water down to 2.5. I wasn't sure if I should keep reducing it while keeping the mushroom in the sauce or not. I did strain it per the instructions at 30 minutes. I didn't think is should boil down so I kept the fire a bit lower, but not too low - it took a few hours.
Paula G.

I would love to try this gravy, but I’m allergic to the wheat, soy, and mushrooms called for in this recipe. Coco aminos can be often subbed for the soy sauce, and I’ve read zucchini can usually be subbed for mushrooms. A substitute for miso paste has me stumped. What would be a good substitute?

Lynn C.

Hi Paula -

You can find a few soy-free miso pastes - made from chickpea or adzuki beans - at health food stores or online. Both South River and Miso Master brands make a chickpea-based version. Although we haven't tested it in this recipe, gluten-free fish sauce or anchovy paste may add some of the umami flavors that the miso paste would otherwise impart.

The Milk Street Team

Deborah W.

Thank you...always looking for a replacement for traditional gravy for my vegetarian family members. However, one is gluten sensitive. What would you recommend as the best replacement for the flour....cornstarch, or is there something else you prefer to give more heft than cornstarch does?

Lynn C.

Hi Deborah -

I think cornstarch is your best bet. As a general rule, you use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per 1 cup of liquid so you will have to adjust accordingly (it's not a 1:1 substitution for flour). Also, instead of the roux called for in the recipe, you will want to add the cornstarch as a slurry - equal parts cornstarch and liquid whisked into the hot liquid. Cornstarch will produce a more clear/translucent gravy, but it is also usually smoother than a flour-based gravy. Good luck!

The Milk Street Team

Barb M.

Nice recipe! Just did a practice run this weekend (prior to Thanksgiving). I was wondering if I would just like the recipe, or if I would reallly like it—turns out I love it! I used the longer of any cook times figuring the browner the better on the veg - I only had low sodium soy sauce so I needed a little more seasoning at the end…actually added salt and a shake of Worcestershire sauce, other than that followed the recipe to a tee. Very good - love you Milk Street, you never disappoint!

Mary B.

I made this vegan – subbing olive oil for butter – and it was still heavenly. Thanks for a great recipe! A favorite for our Thanksgiving spread!

Gary S.

Great recipe, the only problem is I didn’t make a double batch. Thank you!

Mary H.

Wow, this was a blow out success at our Thanksgiving dinner - I scored on all sides - I normally have to make 3 gravies - Meat, Veg & Gluten Free - I subbed Braggs Liquid Aminos for Soy Sauce, and All Purpose Gluten Free Flour for the flour. Ding one less gravy! I asked all my carnivor family and they all voted YES ! ! ! Even more, when filling the to-go containers after dinner they ALL made sure I included gravy! Now Milk Street - You are missing out on a HUGE plus option - that is to NOT strain the gravy! I did a taste test with several family members after cooking and before straining and they ALL voted - leave the chunky bits in, makes it oh so much better - So I did! I did chopp all the veggies small for cooking, but I cannot imagine straining out all that goodness. So . . . that is definitely an option if you don't need perfectly smooth gravy. As an FYI - I did not have any dry white wine, so used dry red wine - not sure how that changed things, but it was sure a hit :) Thank you Milk Street - I'm loving your recipes! And yes, I made it 2 days early so if it was not so good I had time to come up with a different option - I just put it in the fridge for 2 days and probably it got even better with the time it sat. So, it is an easy gravy to make ahead.

Linda M.

Delicious! I made a few alterations as follows: I didn’t use the mushrooms because if my hubby sees them he goes running the other way, I only had brown miso so I used about 2 teaspoons, didn’t have cellery, no wine in the house so added about 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, didn’t use the shiitake mushrooms. A great recipe - it will be used frequently in our home. Thanks for the great recipe!

Mary D.

Very tasty. A big hit! Do you think it would freeze well?

Lynn C.

Hi Mary -

Yes, we think it could be frozen. Just make sure to reheat over low heat so it doesn't boil and reduce too much and become too salty.

The Milk Street Team

Tara S.

I made this gravy for Thanksgiving (both vegetarians and carnivores) and it was a huge hit! So much that I have made it again for Christmas dinner (just myself and hubby). Absolutely LOVE it!