Vegan Recipe: Easy Slow-Cooker Veggie Broth
Trying to whittle down grocery costs? Reduce kitchen waste? Cook with more plant-based whole-food ingredients? This simple recipe provides a tasty, cost effective, and versatile base for sauces, stews, soups, or marinades — with no packaging waste or BPA to yuck your yum!
- 3 to 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh veggies (broccoli stalks, carrot butts, kale spines, peeled garlic cloves, peeled onion quarters — whatever leftover veggie bits you have on hand)
- 10 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (or parsley, or cilantro)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or organic soy sauce)
Combine all ingredients except Bragg’s (or soy sauce) in a crock-pot; cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Strain broth through colander into a large bowl, or use slotted spoon to fish out veggies into colander over a small bowl, then return drained broth to slow cooker. You can either compost the very-cooked veggies, or puree them smooth and stir them back into the broth.
Add Bragg’s or soy sauce, and adjust seasonings as needed.
Freeze the finished broth in 1-2-cup portions for later use, or store in the fridge for about a week — until you go grocery shopping again, and start the process over!
My favorite veggies to use for broth are red cabbage, broccoli, onion, kale, and carrot ends. Don’t use cucumbers or lettuce — but you probably guessed that! Also avoid potatoes or sweet potatoes, unless you specifically want a starchy broth (perhaps for gravy or shepherd’s pie). Pretty much any other veggies, though, work fine in this recipe — you can also throw in a handfull of lentils, yellow split peas, chickpeas, or soaked pinto beans for extra heartiness. Black beans or split peas will turn your broth a funky sludgy color, though, so stick to the lighter options for the best visual-yum-factor.
If you’ll be using the broth for Asian dishes, throw in some ginger, galangal, or kaffir lime leaves for a nice Thai-ish flavor. To use in place of chicken broth, add poultry seasoning, a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and a little real maple syrup. For a darker unbeefish broth, add a splash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, a splash of red wine, and a small amount of Marmite or red miso.
I usually go through the fridge right before grocery shopping, and pull the veggie peels and stalks and stems, the last handful of spinach, one last lonely onion, that last half bell pepper that needs to be eaten soon… Throw it all in the crock pot, season it a bit, and presto: yummy broth, reduced waste, no BPA, very little cost, and minimal effort: it’s a win-win-win-win-win recipe!
Cooking time: 8 to 10 hours
Image by the author.