Homemade Vegetable Broth

homemade broth recipe

Homemade Vegetable Broth recipe
makes 1 quart

All ingredients are flexible, so feel free to make substitutions based on what you have on hand as long as it's similar (ex: leeks for onions, sweet potato for potato, etc).  The veggies can all be roughly chopped into about 1-inch pieces.  The longer the broth simmers, the deeper it's flavor will be.  Alternatively, you can keep a gallon bag of veggie scraps like carrot peels and onion skins in the freezer; when the bag is full, just empty it into a pot and cover with the 6 cups of water.  

I don't add salt during the simmering process to keep the broth flexible to add to other recipes like soups and ramen, but if you are sipping it plain, definitely add a pinch of high quality sea salt to your mug of warm broth.  For long-term storage, pour into 1 cup containers to freeze or into an ice cube tray so you can add just as much to a recipe as you'd like.  

Watch the how-to video for this recipe on my YouTube channel.

1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 russet potato, chopped
3 sprigs of parsley
6 cups of water (or enough to cover veggies in your pot)

optional add-ins:
1-inch piece of ginger or turmeric, chopped
1/2 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms
1-2 cups of leftover bones from a cooked chicken (if you are a meat eater)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (if adding bones)
1-2 cloves of garlic
3 black peppercorns

1. In a soup pot, add all chopped veggies and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer and let gently simmer for 45 minutes, covered or uncovered.  Don't let it boil to strongly or you'll evaporate too much water.   

Instant Pot instructions for Vegetarian version (no added bones):

1. Place all ingredients in Instant Pot and secure lid.  Turn on high pressure cooking mode and set for 10 minutes (on my model you press manual, then toggle to the number 10.  There is no start button or anything to press after setting the number 10).  The pressure will build up (you'll hear steam coming from the release valve) and once it reaches pressure the time will count down from 10. 

2. When you hear the beeping signaling that the time is up, you can press the cancel button (or let it stay on warming, the default) and let pressure come down manually for 10 minutes.  Then release the rest of the pressure manually with the valve, give the pot a shake to make sure there aren't any trapped bubbles, release the valve again, and remove lid. Strain off vegetables and serve broth or store for later.

Instant Pot instructions for version WITH added bones:

1. Place all ingredients in Instant Pot including bones and apple cider vinegar and secure lid.  Turn on high pressure cooking mode and set for 120 minutes (on my model you press manual, then toggle to the number 120.  There is no start button or anything to press after setting the number 120).  The pressure will build up (you'll hear steam coming from the release valve) and once it reaches pressure the time will count down from 120.  The lengthy cooking time is to help draw gelatin out of the bones.  If you aren't concerned with that, choose a cook time of 20-30 minutes instead. 

2. When you hear the beeping signaling that the time is up, you can press the cancel button (or let it stay on warming, the default) and let pressure come down manually for 10-20 minutes.  Then release the rest of the pressure manually with the valve, give the pot a shake to make sure there aren't any trapped bubbles, release the valve again, and remove lid. 

Green Curry Broccoli Soup

green curry broccoli soup recipe

Green Curry Broccoli Soup recipe
makes 4+ servings

Earlier this year, I did a collaboration dinner with my chef friends at Sunday Dinner Club, a sustainable, fine-dining pop-up that's been running in Chicago for over 10 years.  We put our heads together and came up with 5 courses of delicious plant-based food made with seasonal produce.  A hit at the dinner was our soup course that featured a to-die-for homemade curry paste from SDC's sous chef Becca.  We combined that with broccoli stems (save the florets for roasting!) coconut milk and white beans to create a creamy soup that's spicy, tart, and vegetal.  So here I've modified that recipe for home use to make it a complete meal (and a bit easier).  Feeling adventurous and want to make your own curry paste?  See Becca's recipe below or use jarred paste like I do below for quick weeknight meal.  Feel free to add one minced shallot and 2 teaspoons minced ginger at the beginning if you like more of those flavors or a handful of Thai basil at the end if you can find it.

2 teaspoons coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of Thai green curry paste (I like Thai Kitchens brand)
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile (optional for extra heat)
2 15-ounce cans of coconut milk
1 cup of canned or cooked cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
broccoli stems from 2 bunches (about 6 big stems), chopped into 1/2" inch pieces
2 cups baby spinach
1 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
1-2 limes, juiced
salt to taste

1. Heat coconut oil in a large soup pot and add green curry paste and serrano chiles.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes to let flavor develop. 

2. Add coconut milk, beans and water and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli stems and let cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  

3. Remove from heat and add baby spinach and cilantro (save a small handful for garnish).  Add juice from 1 lime and a generous pinch of salt.  Blend until totally smooth in a high-powered blender.  Taste and season for more salt and lime juice.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.  

*Becca Waron's Green Curry Paste:

4-5 oz. of ginger/galangal, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of lemongrass, pounded and chopped
3/4  head of garlic, peeled and smahsed
2 bunches of cilantro, leaves and stems
1-2 kaffir lime leaves
1 shallot, minced
3 serrano peppers, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons of coriander seed, toasted and ground in a mortar and pestle
3 limes, juiced and zested

1. Place all ingredients in food processor with enough coconut oil to make a fine paste.  This makes 1 1/2 quarts of paste which can be stored in the fridge for a week or frozen.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

lebanese lentil soup recipe

Lebanese Lentil Soup
serves 4

This lightly spiced Middle Eastern soup can be made with pantry and fridge ingredients you may already have on hand.  Red lentils are a great source of protein and fiber.  They are the quickest cooking legume and therefore a total staple in my pantry (Bonus? They are cheap too!)  I based this soup on my favorite starter from Lebanese restaurants, which are often pureed and serve with a lemon wedge.  The lemon really brings the whole dish to life so don't skimp on it.

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cup red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth and/or water (I used 4 cups broth + 2 cups water)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large soup pot.  Saute onion, celery, and carrots for 5-10 minutes until soft.  Add garlic, cumin, and turmeric and saute 1 minute more.  

2. Add rinsed lentils and broth/water.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes until lentils are fully cooked and falling apart.  Optionally pulse with an immersion blender to puree into a smoother texture.

3. Taste and season for salt.  Add lemon juice and garnish bowls with parsley.
 

Smoky Corn, Tomato and Chard Soup

smoky corn tomato and chard soup

Smoky Corn, Tomato, and Chard Soup
serves 4 (freezable too)

Soup tends to be a cold weather food so you don't often see it made with super summery ingredients.  (Unless we are talking about chilled soups in which case...gross.)  But soup can be a great way to cook up the abundance of produce that can accumulate in your fridge or garden in the summer.  This soup combines summery produce like corn, zucchini, and greens with pantry staples like canned tomatoes, beans, and spices.  If you want to improvise a similar soup based on what you have in your fridge now, check out my Building Flavor Guide, which will show you the correct order to add ingredients to your soup pot to ensure a great complex flavor!

1 yellow onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 zucchini, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 earns of corn, kernels removed
1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups-ish water
1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped (can use stems or not)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot.  Add onions and celery with a pinch of salt and saute for 5 minutes, letting them soften.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.  Add smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander and stir.  Add zucchini and saute for 2 minutes more.

2. When vegetable mixture is fragrant and beginning to soften, add corn, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, black beans, and enough water to make it soup-ish, about 2 cups.  (Vegetables will continue to release water so it will get more liquidy, not less, as it cooks.)  Let cook for at least 10 minutes but as long as you want to help flavors meld and develop. 

3. After soup has simmered, turn off heat and fold into chopped Swiss Chard.  Taste and season for salt and pepper.  Serve on it's own or garnished with avocado, tortillas, tortillas chips or a sprouted grain roll.

Butternut Apple Soup

 Butternut Apple Soup with White Beans and Garam Masala

Butternut-Apple Soup
serves 2-3

I love the simplicity of a simple pureed soup for dinner.  My go-to way to make a meal out of it is to blend white beans and/or coconut milk with the vegetables to add protein and fat.  This recipe doesn’t use the entire cans of beans and coconut milk (sorry, but trust me on this) so feel free to freeze the remainder to use another day.  Coconut milk freezes well in ice cube trays so you can pop a frozen cube into a soup any time.  Serve plain or garnish with chives, yogurt, or chopped nuts.

drizzle of olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red-green apple (like a gala), cored and sliced
1 teaspoon garam masala (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 can of white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (optional)
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt to taste

1. In a large pot, heat drizzle of oil and sauté onion and apple until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Don’t cheat this step—this is where all the flavor comes from.  Stir in garam masala and let cook for 30 seconds.  Add squash, white beans and coconut milk and cover with just enough vegetable stock or water.  Let simmer until squash is totally cooked, about 20 minutes.

2.  Puree soup in a blender with lemon juice and salt until smooth.  You want the consistency to be just thinner than baby food.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve plain or garnished with herbs or yogurt.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

creamy vegan broccoli soup

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Serves 4

One of the weird packaged foods like I absolutely loved as a kid was Lipton Cup-a-Soup in the Broccoli Cheddar flavor.  Basically it’s a “food” powder that you rehydrate in hot water and that should only be served to monkeys in space.  Somehow we thought that feeding this to a sick person would make them healthy again.  So I decided to create a healthy, vegan version of broccoli cheddar soup with–gasp!–real food.  Onions and garlic give a solid flavor base, and cannellini beans create that creamy texture and pack the protein, while lightly cooked broccoli adds vitamins C, K, and A, folate, and a brilliant green color. The nutritional yeast adds an optional "cheesy" flavor and Vitamin B12.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups of water
2 heads of broccoli, broken into small florets (about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
juice of half lemon
salt, pepper, and chili flake to taste

1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot and add onions.  Saute until they soften but don’t brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.

2. Add garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in the beans and add salt and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli florets and let sit until they turn bright green, about 30 – 60 seconds.  Remove a few florets and set aside for garnish.  Blend the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding lemon juice, salt, pepper and chili flake to taste.

3. Serve immediately, garnished with broccoli florets and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Note: The lemon juice will turn the broccoli an olive green as it sits.  If you aren’t serving the soup until later, add the lemon juice and re-season right before serving if you want to keep it bright green.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Soup

Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 lbs of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2-3)
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned coconut milk
juice from 1 lime
salt to taste
cilantro or chives for garnish (optional)

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil and saute onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 minute more. Stir in chopped sweet potatoes, water, white beans and coconut milk.  Simmer until sweet potato is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.

2. In batches, blend up soup until it's smooth. You want it to be a thick, but not as thick as baby food. We're making soup here. If it seems to thick, just add more water. Add lime juice and salt generously to taste. Garnish bowls with cilantro leaves or chives.  This soup freezes beautifully.

Lemony Cilantro Dal

serves 4

Yellow dal is the basic b*tch of Indian home cooking.  Served at almost any meal, it can be either a side or the main attraction. These split and husked yellow lentils called moong or mung are easy to digest, cook relatively quickly and are full of protein.  Cook this dal up thick like a puree to eat with rice as an entree or thin it out with water and serve it like a soup. If you are into savory breakfasts, this filling bowl might just be your new favorite breakfast.  Double or triple the recipe and freezer in single serving portions so you always have a good protein on hand.

1 cup of moong dal (split and husked mung beans)
2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon asofetida or garlic powder
pinch of red chili flake
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons of lemon juice, from about 1 1/2 lemons
1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro

1. In a fine mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse the moong dal in running water until the water runs clear.  Sift through the lentils to make sure there are no stones, husks, or dirt. 

2. Put the lentils in a medium-sized pot and cover with 3 inches of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and let this cook for about 45-60 minutes.  Skim off any foam that forms on the top and add more water if necessary, but mostly you can leave it alone.  You want the lentils to get fully softened (with no grittiness) and start to fall apart. Then give them a few buzzes with an immersion blender to make a smoother puree.  You should end up with about 4 cups of a medium-bodied puree.

3. Take a small skillet and heat the ghee or oil. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let these cook for about 30 seconds until they start to sizzle and pop. Quickly add the turmeric and asofetida or garlic powder and stir.  Turn off the heat and add a ladleful of the lentils to the small skillet—it’s gonna sizzle!  Pour the whole mixture into the large pot of lentils and stir.

4.Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, lemon juice and cilantro.  Taste to see if it needs more salt or lemon juice and then serve.