In the midst of throwing together my favorite chili one afternoon, I realized I’d forgotten a staple ingredient during our weekly trip to the grocery store: vegetable broth.
I’d just spent over an hour meticulously chopping and measuring, and I didn’t feel like making another trip to the store, so I decided to try my hand at making my own veggie broth for the very first time.
The broth was simple to make, and the result was delicious and extremely cost efficient. Not to mention, it didn’t have any of the “mystery” ingredients commonly found in store-bought versions. (What the heck is natural flavor anyway? Does anyone else ever wonder about this?) One of the most outstanding features of this broth is that there’s absolutely no added sodium. Zero.
In my first attempt, I used veggies we had on hand, but you could certainly create your own combination(s). I’ve since altered this recipe many times, including ingredients, such as potato peels, a corn cob, and mushrooms, just to name a few.
As a general rule, I choose vegetables/ingredients that compliment whatever I plan to use the finished broth for. (Example: I added the potato peels to a broth that would later be used for potato soup.) I also try to avoid adding vegetables that have overpowering flavors, such as asparagus and brussels sprouts as well as ingredients that cook down too much, like sweet potatoes and red lentils.
Go ahead, and give it a try!
Simple Vegetable Broth
This is a terrific basic vegetable broth; it’s simple to prepare, cost efficient, there’s no added sodium, and it doesn’t contain any of the “mystery” ingredients often found in its processed counterparts. (Alter the ingredients as needed to compliment the recipe in which you plan to use the broth)
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups)
- 1 large onion, chopped (I like to leave the skin on.)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- handful of fresh parsley sprigs
- 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
Wash vegetables thoroughly, and very coarsely chop them. Toss all ingredients into a large pot with a few tablespoons of water, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for 7-10 minutes or until veggies begin to soften and brown. (Add water, a couple tablespoons at a time, as needed to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add two quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Carefully strain the stock through a mesh strainer into another pot and discard what’s left of the solids. Viola! You’ve just made homemade veggie broth! Pat yourself on the back.
Broth will keep for about a week in the refrigerator or it can be frozen for several months. I usually double this recipe and freeze the broth in smaller portions so I have it on hand whenever I decide to make a batch of soup, which is often.