This whole Vegan Before 6 thing means I’m not using chicken or beef broth in my cooking. I hadn’t been worried about using just the meat broth, but figured if I was going to commit to eating vegan style until 6pm, I may as well do it properly. Past attempts to make decent (non salty but still tasty) vegetable broth ended up with tasteless broth the color of dishwater. That is, until I came across this post on VeganYumYum which used tomatoes AND tamari…color and flavor in one fell swoop!
To make vegetable broth you basically open your slow cooker (or a large dutch oven), throw cut up veggies in, cover them with water and let them cook slowly for several hours. Add seasoning and you’re done. You don’t have to be nice and neat about cutting up your veggies as you’ll strain them out of the broth.
There’s really no wrong way to make vegetable broth. I always include onions, carrots, celery and whole cloves of garlic. Opinions vary as to the necessity of peeling the onions and the garlic. This time I cut the root ends off, but only removed the nasty bits on the skins. I washed but didn’t peel the carrots and used the inside pieces of celery (the ones with the leaves).
You could add just about any other veggie you have in the fridge, especially those which may be past their prime but be aware the more assertive veggies (like cabbage, asparagus and tomatoes) may take over. I threw in a red pepper, the stems from a bunch of parsley and a couple sorry winter tomatoes. Some salt, peppercorns and a bay leaf or two rounded out the ingredients in this particular batch.
The veggies cooked on high in my slow cooker for about 6 hours. At the end of that time the broth smelled really good, but was boring in color and flavor. After the addition of a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a quarter cup of tamari, I had something delicious on my hands. We were dipping cups into the slow cooker and drinking the broth (it was all in the family, don’t judge).
I set a colander into my largest mixing bowl to strain the veggies, then stored the broth in the fridge. I didn’t fuss about the small bits of veggie that may have gotten through the colander, but if you want a very clear broth you’d have to use a finer method of straining. A six quart slow cooker yielded just shy of a half gallon. I added enough water to make up the difference. Since I have plans to use the broth this week, I stored it in the fridge. You could also freeze it in ice cube trays to have one ounce portions on hand to use as needed.
Look at the color of the broth! I just cooked some ditalini in it to add some bulk. We enjoyed our “soup” with leftover beets and skordalia for lunch.