How to Make a Flavorful Vegetable Broth

January 21st, 2009  | Category: Soup, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian

How to Make Vegetable Broth

Preparing a well-balanced, flavorful vegetable broth at home is not only easy, but also a great way to salvage leftover vegetables in your fridge. Simmering a handful of vegetables, herbs and spices with water will reward you with nutritious and fragrant soups, risottos, stews, braises and countless other dishes. Just throw them in a pot, and you’re done. It is really that easy. I’ve used this broth in a soup and vegetable dish recently and was amazed with the results.

The recipe you’ll find below is a highly-customizable guideline. You can substitute pretty much anything in the recipe, but I strongly advise that you keep three vegetables that are essential for a highly aromatic vegetable broth : Carrot, onion and celery.

How to Make Vegetable Broth 2

CHOOSING YOUR VEGETABLES, HERBS AND SPICES

Aside from the vegetables in the below recipe, you can add potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, turnips, zucchini, parsnip, leek, corn, tomatoes, chile and even a Parmesan cheese rind for extra saltiness.

Be a bit skimpy when it comes to spices. A little goes a long way, so it is always better to use them in small amounts. You do not want to overpower the taste with a single spice or herb. Bay leaf, black pepper and coriander seeds are my favorites.

TOOLS

A stockpot is ideal for making any type of broth or stock. A pot with a tight-fitting lid and heavy bottom also works great (such as the Le Creuset Dutch oven in the top photo). You can also use a pressure cooker, which will save time and keep all the flavor in.

Use a fine mesh strainer if you’re opting for a clear broth. I hear coffee filters work great, too.

COOKING

I prefer a clear, light and fat-free vegetable broth. For that reason, I do not brown the vegetables and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer without pressing the vegetables. If you prefer a more concentrated flavor, you can brown the vegetables in some olive oil before you pour in water as well as press the solids while you strain through a sieve, but keep in mind that the resulting vegetable broth will be darker and cloudy.

If you’re going to prepare a soup, go with my lighter version. If you’d like to prepare a vegetarian gravy or another dish that doesn’t require a clear broth, you may cook the vegetables a bit longer to achieve a more concentrated flavor and a syrupy consistency.

STORING

Planning is key. If you’ll use some portion of the vegetable broth right away, then store that amount in a glass jar in your refrigerator. It will keep fresh for up to three days.

For the remainder, divide into 1 cup portions and store them in freezer-safe containers. I use freezer bags.

You can also freeze vegetable broth in ice cube trays and grab a cube or two for thinning sauces and finishing off braised dishes. If you’re freezing the vegetable broth in ice cube trays, once frozen, make sure to place the cubes in an air-tight container.

How to Make Vegetable Broth 1

There is a great mushroom soup post coming up, so make sure to prepare this broth, reserve half of it and freeze the rest in 1-cup portions to use later on.

HOMEMADE VEGETABLE BROTH RECIPE

Ingredients

Makes 2.5 quarts

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 fennel
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 6 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10-20 coriander seeds
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 10 cups of water

Method

  1. Wash and cut your vegetables into big chunks and place in a large saucepan or stock pot.
  2. Add herbs, spices and cold water.
  3. Cover and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until all the vegetables are beginning to fall apart (30-45 minutes).
  4. Pass through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. At this point, if you prefer a richer broth, you can reduce the vegetable broth by cooking it further to get a more concentrated flavor. If not, proceed with storing.
  6. Let the stock cool to room temperature. Place the amount of stock you intend to use immediately (up to three days) in a glass jar with a lid and place it in your refrigerator.
  7. For the remaining, place 1 cup portions in freezer bags or pour the vegetable broth in ice cube trays and freeze. If you’re freezing the vegetable broth in ice cube trays, once frozen, make sure to place the cubes in an air-tight container.
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Comments

  1. 1 - MsGourmet on January 21st, 2009

    love your red stockpot le cresuet?

  2. 2 - Ghille on January 21st, 2009

    Mmmmm…this sounds sooo flavorful! Need to try this!

    Thanks Fernando!

  3. 3 - Jessie on January 21st, 2009

    Oh well done, thank you! :D I’m with you…I’d totally toss in that cheese rind. Yum!

    +Jessie
    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

  4. 4 - Sean on January 22nd, 2009

    At least half the process of making a great stock or broth is not just knowing what to put in it, but what not to put in it. We stay away from anything cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) since they can become overpowering. We end up storing the cuttings of onions, garlic, celery and carrots in freezer bags, and using them in a big stock at the end of a week or two. As for spices, I love a wee bit of star anise in mine.

  5. 5 - VampiraVali on January 22nd, 2009

    Oh My!

    That looks so good, I’m lazy, will you send me a couple quarts over?

    Thank you, I’ll try it here soon!

  6. 6 - patsyk on January 22nd, 2009

    I haven’t made vegetable broth yet, but after reading this post I’m going to have to soon. I can see many uses for one with all that flavor.

  7. 7 - ay?egül on January 22nd, 2009

    mmm those vegetables look delicious..i want some vegetable soup now (:

  8. 8 - Gizem on January 23rd, 2009

    +leek!!!!

  9. 9 - Heidi / Savory Tv on January 23rd, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your technique! I love the inclusion of coriander in the mixture.

  10. 10 - MPG on January 24th, 2009

    That’s a great post Cenk! Love the first shot!!

  11. 11 - Nonika Mascarenhas on January 24th, 2009

    There is also a really good vegetable stock recipe in Deborah Madison’s Book “The Savory Way”. It substitutes for meat stock in most recipes and is extremely flavorful. If you would like, I can email you the recipe.

    Nonika

  12. 12 - Mrs Ergül on January 24th, 2009

    Mushroom soup is my favourite! I can’t wait for you to post about it! I use tea filter bags for straining everything from homemade stock to clarifying melted butter. They work like a charm!

  13. 13 - Khalil on January 25th, 2009

    Wonderful and healthy vegetarian recipe on all aspects.

  14. 14 - Courtney on January 25th, 2009

    Hello,
    That does feel delicious. I’ve been saving all the ends of thing or wrappers. Onions ends and 1st layer,broccoli and leek stalks, carrot and summer squash ends, all in the freezer. After I strain it, I add things like Bay leaves, peppercorns,but no salt. Then I reduce it if I feel like it. I also add the leftover cooking water from vegetables and the seasoning and butter I made. Yum! Saves money too.
    Keep up the good work.

  15. 15 - Sarah on January 25th, 2009

    Hello,
    Are Fennel and Anise the same thing?

  16. 16 - Support for Step Two in the Year of Self-Care: Grocery Planning & Shopping on January 26th, 2009

    [...] You can also simmer many types of leftover veggies (except the bitter ones) in water to make vegetable broths that you can freeze for later. (Homemade broths and stocks have awesome [...]

  17. 17 - Cynthia on January 27th, 2009

    Your posts always entice me to go into the kitchen.

  18. 18 - autumblack on January 28th, 2009

    Sounds fantastic for a cold day when you don’t want to slave over the stove to get something prepared! This broth is fantastic! I’m gonna go on a sharing spree and tell everyone I know to try this!

    Thanks!!

  19. 19 - Cenk on January 28th, 2009

    MsGourmet – Yes! It is my most favorite pot!

    Ghille, Jessie, aysegül, Heidi, MPG, Khalil – Glad you guys enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by.

    Sean – I have to get into the habit of freezing vegetable scraps. Star anise? Not so sure about that :)

    VampiraVali – :) I wish I could.

    patsyk – I’ve used it in a soup and a couple of braised vegetable dishes and they turned out amazing. Hope you like it, too.

    Gizem – Next time!

    Nonika Mascarenhas – Thanks for the note. I have that book! I’ll definitely take a look.

    Mrs Ergül – Soup is coming up!

    Courtney – Thanks for the info. Glad you liked it.

    Sarah – They are two different plants. Check out Wikipedia entries on fennel and anise.

    Cynthia – Thank you! What a nice comment!

    autumblack – Thank you!

  20. 20 - joey on January 29th, 2009

    You will not believe this but I’m planning to make vegetable broth tomorrow! I usually make chicken or meat stocks but I have a surplus of celery so was planning to try making some veggie broth :) And what do I see before going to bed? Your wonderful post on making exactly that! Thank you!!!

  21. 21 - Cenk on January 29th, 2009

    joey – What a coincidence! Happy cooking. Hope you like the recipe.

  22. 22 - Shaun on February 2nd, 2009

    Cenk ~ I also like to use fennel when preparing vegetable stock. Regarding spices and the like, I do think occasionally to add a couple of juniper berries, but I understand that this might not work so well for a generic vegetable stock. Good of you to remind people how easy the process is.

  23. 23 - Beth on February 9th, 2009

    Wonderful main photo with the red pot. It truly conveys Freshness!

  24. 24 - dalmacija moja inspiracija on February 22nd, 2009

    nice clear photo’s…dobar tek from dalmatia…

  25. 25 - Liz on March 3rd, 2009

    I’m late with this… hope you’re still reading! Where do you manage to buy celery and fennel in Turkey? I cannot find them!

  26. 26 - Cenk on March 4th, 2009

    Liz – You can find them at any Migros, Tansas or Makrocenter…

  27. 27 - Sarah on March 6th, 2009

    People don’t often think of doing this, but putting an old apple or pear in for a touch of sweetness is a nice touch. Also a little alcohol.

    When I have too much leftover broth, I just mix it with a few tablespoons of miso paste and voila, there’s an extremely satisfying soup.

    Myra Kornfeld will add a cup of brown lentils to make it a rich, beef-equivalent version.

  28. 28 - B on November 26th, 2009

    This is going to be the stock I use for thanksgiving. The broth smells amazing and is very flavorful. I think I used too big of a piece of fennel though because the sweetness comes through quite a bit.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  29. 29 - ig0at on March 22nd, 2010

    Roasting the veggies (275-300 deg. 2 hrs.) rather than browning them in a pan makes a richer broth that can be strained clear. Add no oil.
    This is a very good base recipe which I will use often.

  30. 30 - michele on October 7th, 2010

    Divine! Thank you for this. love your blog. I visited Turkey for a month a few years ago. Loved every minute of it. Nice to find a connection back.

  31. 31 - Dan on August 12th, 2011

    Superb! I made this today and it was delicious and worked brilliantly as the base for my vegetable soup. Thanks for the recipe.

  32. 32 - Paul on August 6th, 2012

    hi – I made this stock earlier today – it’s a great alternative to buying stock from the store.

  33. 33 - Jean on November 5th, 2012

    I save and freeze every scrap of veggies either from preparing or left over from dinners. Now there is a stock pot (10qt.) cooking on the stove.

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