When it comes to cooking, having a flavorful stock in your arsenal makes a world of difference when it comes to creating tasty dishes no matter what kind of eater you are. If you’re someone who is used to cooking with chicken and beef broth in your recipes then you might find the switch to a vegetable broth a little lacking. Going strictly plant-based can also make you feel like you’re missing out on a lot of flavors if you’re new to the lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Creating a flavorful vegetable stock can open up your recipes to have more depth and allow you to experiment with new tastes. Yes, you could just buy pre-packaged vegetable stock but trust us when we say that having home-made stock on hand takes any recipe to the next level.You can also freeze your stock for use in dishes throughout the week, making it versatile for plant-based eaters on a budget looking to add umami to their dishes. We talk a little bit more about being vegan on a budget on our other blog, “Is Being Vegan Expensive?”
Vegetable Stock Ingredients
It doesn’t take much to create a great vegetable stock; all you’ll need for your base are 3 traditional ingredients found in most stocks, even chicken or beef stock.
1 lb. Carrots
To take this broth up another notch on the flavor scale and really impart a rich flavor, we suggest the addition of three ounces of dried shiitake mushrooms. You can easily find this ingredient in your local Asian grocer, but if you don’t have any near you, there are also plenty of online marketplaces that carry them. This ingredient adds a deeper flavor to your stock in comparison to fresh shiitake but can also be omitted.When it comes to how you flavor the stock, it’s up to you! Garlic is always a must, but you can also include dried herbs and spices mix that suit your personal tastes. Aromatics? Yes, please! Adding slices of fresh ginger and chilies can give your stock a lovely layer of heat that can go great in soups. There is a lot of freedom with the way you flavor your stock, and a squeeze of lemon or fresh herbs added towards the end will brighten it up and showcase your base flavors.
Making A Flavorful Vegetable Stock
Place your diced onions and garlic into a large stockpot over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until the onions brown. Add your carrots and celery, stirring occasionally, and cook until your veggies are tender and browning. Be careful not to let your vegetables blacken or else your stock will become bitter
While your veggies are cooking, place your dried shiitake in hot water to rehydrate them.
After allowing them to steep for 30 minutes, add them to the stockpot with your browned veggies. Add 5 cups of water and take your stock to a roiling boil.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain your broth into a large bowl with a fine-mesh strainer and press the excess liquid out of your veggies.
Season your stock with salt, dried or fresh herbs, and enjoy.
One extra step you can take if you are trying to get more vegetables into your children’s plant-based diet is blending your vegetables into a liquid to add them back into the stock afterward.
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