This Vegetarian Broth Recipe is so easy to make, cheaper than store bought, and is a great way to use any vegetables and veggie scraps that you have on hand. Not only does homemade vegetable broth taste better than the store-bought stuff, but it’s also better for you. And I have stove top and crock pot instructions.
I first posted this Vegetarian Roasted Vegetable Broth recipe in 2011, but it was time for an update. I’ve always loved it, as I feel that it makes my food just that much tastier when I use it. It’s super easy to make, but does require a bit of advanced planning. Use it in any recipe that calls for chicken or beef broth.
This vegetable broth recipe is a great kitchen staple that doesn’t require hours or simmering on the stove, and no skimming fat off the top of the soup. It’s hearty enough to enjoy alone as soup and works perfectly as a replacement to canned or boxed broth in your favorite recipes.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Dark vegetable stock
My recipe makes a beautifully colored broth that’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. I’ve seen some recipes that are so light in color, which also means they are lighter in flavor. But this recipe deliverers both loads of flavor and a beautiful dark color.
I find that the darker color makes it look more appealing.
What color is vegetable broth?
To make this nice dark color, I’ve used a few of tricks.
Onion skins to add color to the broth.
Roasting the veggies brings out more flavor and a better color.
And the dark parts of the leeks provide even more color to the broth.
Low sodium vegetable broth recipe
You don’t have to buy broth with all that sodium; try making your own.
You have more control over the amount of salt that’s added to your own broth, and there’s no risk of hidden thickeners or sweeteners making their way into it.
Minimize food waste
You really can’t go wrong with this vegetable broth recipe. It starts with a good base of roasted veggies, then you get to add in all your veggie scraps.
So, make sure you’re saving parts of the veggies that you normally might not use. Use them to make your own delicious vegetable broth instead. It’s easy and it’s so much cheaper than buying broth at the grocery store.
Put a big bag in your freezer, and toss in those veggie scraps.
I keep all the dark green parts of the leeks in a plastic bag in the freezer.
Save the root ends of onions in that same bag (make sure you scrub them nice and clean).
Add in the skins and tops of those hard winter squashes.
Save the cuttings of the carrot tops (even the greens from the carrots will work). The peels from the carrots too.
You can toss in veggies that you have laying around that you might not otherwise use.
It’s a great idea for minimizing food waste in your kitchen.
And, the veggies can be added to the pot straight from frozen.
How long will the broth last?
Once the vegetable stock is made, it will last 4 to 5 days in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
If you freeze the broth in mason jars, make sure to allow enough space in the jar for the broth to expand, otherwise you risk cracked mason jars.
It can also be frozen in ice-cube trays, and then toss those broth cubes in a large plastic bag.
When you’re ready to use the broth, pull it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw 12-24 hours ahead of time. Or, pop the jars without lids in the microwave. Be careful when pulling the jars out of the microwave, they’ll be hot!
What other veggies can I to add to this broth?
Like I said, you can use those veggie scraps in your broth, but what’s good to add?
In addition to the vegetables noted in this recipe, you can use other veggies and herbs like carrot tops, onion roots, celery, zucchini, baby carrots, tomato paste, green onions (scallions), rosemary, fennel, fennel root, tomato, basil, dried and/or mushrooms.
You can throw in egg shells to add some calcium to your broth (just use shells from boiled eggs so you don’t get egg flower soup). And, only include a few larger pieces so you don’t get too many tiny broken bits.
You can use veggies that might be slightly ugly or slightly past their prime. But remember, don’t use anything that’s gone bad or moldy. Clean carrot peel is fine but a moldy carrot is not.
Make sure everything is scrubbed clean too, you don’t want any dirt or sand in the broth.
And, when you’re done making the broth, throw the veggie solids in the compost pile.
What not to add to the broth?
While it might seem like a good idea to throw in any vegetable, there are a few you should avoid. Some veggies are too bitter, and some will make it cloudy.
Bitter veggies include cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, as well as chard, collard greens, turnips, radishes, eggplant, okra, artichokes, corn, bok choy, and asparagus.
Potatoes and squash flesh are among the veggies that will turn your broth cloudy and a bit mushy.
Also, keep in mind that your broth will take on the color and flavor of the veggies you use. So, if you don’t want pink broth, don’t use red beets (yes, I learned that one from experience!).
Roasted vegetable stock vs. roasted vegetable broth
Ok, what’s the difference between stock and broth?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two.
Broth is a thinner, seasoned liquid that starts with meat and/or vegetables. Broth has a short simmering time of up to 2 hours. Finished broth is most commonly used as a base for soups or as a cooking liquid like for rice.
Stock is made from simmering bones with vegetables. Herbs and salt are added minimally if at all. Unlike broth, stock is based on bones rather than meat. Stock also has a longer simmering time for about 4 to 6 hours.
Bone broth is actually a type of stock, made from long-simmered bones.
So technically, there is no such thing as vegetable stock. But I understand that many people use this term.
Pro tips on how to make the best homemade vegetarian vegetable broth
Chop the veggies in half, quarters, or large chunks. You don’t even need to peel them, as you’ll be straining everything later. Plus, the skins contain a lot of nutrients, flavor, and color.
You’ll see cremini mushrooms in the recipe; those are the little brown mushrooms. I’ve also seen them called Italian mushrooms or baby portabellas. If you can’t find brown mushrooms, white button mushrooms will work just fine. For that matter, so will large portabellas that have been chopped up.
Roast the veggies
Start this rich and satisfying broth by roasting the vegetables. Roasting intensifies the flavor of the broth, adds color, and brings out the natural umami flavor of the veggies.
Boil the veggies
Place the roasted veggies along with some flavor intensifiers and any veggie bits and scraps you might have saved, into a large pot and cover with water.
If your roasting pan is stove top safe, you can use it for boiling the veggies as well, making this a one pot dish.
Bring the pot to a boil, and simmer for about 60 minutes. Leave the pot at a gentle simmer so you don’t make the veggies too mushy and get a cloudy or bitter broth. You’ll know the veggies are done when you can smash them easily with the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove the pot from the heat once the veggies are tender. I like to leave it to cool a bit before I strain it. For one thing, it’s easier to deal with when it isn’t blazing hot (and a big old pot of hot water can be unruly). In addition, the veggies will continue to release their flavors as they steep.
Strain and save the broth
Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the solids. Use a wooden spoon to gently press on the veggies to release a little more flavor.
I like to pour the broth into mason jars to store, and I find that those wide mouth canning funnels work well here. Keep the broth in the fridge, or allow to cool completely and store in the freezer. Be sure to leave room in the mason jar for the liquid to freeze.
Can I cook this in the crock pot (slow cooker)?
Yes! Make the broth in the slow cooker, and avoid all the stove top work.
Once you’ve roasted the veggies, toss them into the bowl of your crock pot with the additional aromatics and veggie bits and scraps. Cover them with water, place the cover on the pot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours.
Remove the lid from the slow cooker and let the broth cool for a bit. Then strain the solids through a fine mesh sieve.
Looking for ways to use vegetable broth?
This broth will make your soups richer. Your casseroles tastier. Your sauces saucier. And, it’ll make everything healthier and fresher.
So, what are you going to do with this delicious broth? There are so many ways you can use this homemade vegetable broth. Here are some of my favorites.
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Vegetarian Broth Recipe
Vegetarian Broth Recipe
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms cut in half
- 4 large shallots left unpeeled, cut into quarters
- 3 large carrots scrubbed clean, and coarsely chopped
- 1 red pepper quartered
- 2 garlic cloves left unpeeled, cut in half
- 8 fresh parsley sprigs divided use
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs divided use
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-10 whole peppercorns
- 4 leeks dark part only
- Any veggie bits and parts
- filtered water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Roast the veggies
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. In a large roasting pan, toss together first 5 ingredients. Add in 4 parsley springs and 3 thyme sprigs. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies, and stir to coat. Roast in 425° oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stove top method
- Take roasted veggies, and place them in a large stock pot. Add remaining 4 parsley springs and 3 thyme springs, peppercorns, bay leaf, leeks, and any other veggie bits. Cover with cold clean filtered water. Cover pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer with the lid slightly ajar stirring occasionally, for about 60 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.
Crock pot method
- Take roasted veggies, and place them in athe bowl of a crock pot. Add remaining 4 parsley springs and 3 thyme springs, peppercorns, bay leaf, leeks, and any other veggie bits. Cover with cold clean filtered water. Place the cover on the crock pot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours oron high 4-5 hours.
Strain the broth
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the solids. If you want a super fine clear stock, run the strained broth through a wet coffee filter. Add salt. It may not taste as salty as you’re used to, but it will add good flavor to whatever you’re making. And, if you’re eating it straight, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Store the broth in the fridge, or if you aren't going to use it right away, store it in the freezer. It can be frozen in ice-cube trays, and then toss those broth cubes in a large plastic bag.