If you want to follow a more plant-based diet, try using homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth in soup, risotto and other recipes. Homemade vegetable broth can also be used instead of water when cooking rice or quinoa to provide more flavor. Store brands taste pretty bad and have terrible ingredients. Homemade tastes great and is guaranteed to be healthy. This is one foundational ingredient you need to make from scratch, and its so easy.
Homemade Vegetable Broth: The Healthiest Option
At the store you’ll find vegetable broth in boxes, cans, cubes, pastes and powders. Unlike chicken broth, which you can find decent tasting store brands to use in a pinch, vegetable broths can taste metallic, musty, sour, salty, and not even like vegetables.
Read the Label on Store Brands
Read the label on store brands and you may be shocked by ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, sugar, high sodium levels, dextrose, yeast extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, and flavor-enhancing food additives such as disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, MSG and mystery flavorings. In some brands there are hardly any real vegetables.
In fact, Cooks Illustrated reports that “vegetable broths tend to be made from the ugly ducklings of the produce world—vegetables that, while not spoiled, are unsuitable for sale as whole vegetables or vegetable parts”. CI goes on to say that some broths are not even made from fresh vegetables, but use powdered vegetable content.
Worse yet, there’s no way to tell from the label whether the list of ingredients came from fresh produce or from concentrates or powders. The label might read like whole vegetables were used, but don’t be fooled. It might really be vegetable extracts, concentrates, or powders. No thanks. Make homemade.
Easy to Make at Home: Simmer or Pressure Cooker
The good news is that homemade vegetable broth is easy to make and can be done in no time. If you go the traditional method of simmering on the stovetop, it will take about an hour in the pot. Not too bad – but there is a faster way. Use a pressure cooker.
For speedy vegetable broth, it takes just 7 minutes at high pressure. The broth is a rich golden color with pure vegetable flavor. This quick broth can be used immediately, or cooled, then refrigerated or frozen.
Make your own vegetable broth. The flavor and versatility is wonderful! And like I’ve said before – get a pressure cooker! A good size is an 8 quart, which is what I use for this recipe. You should not fill a pressure cooker more than 2/3 full. If you have a smaller pressure cooker, like a 6 quart, you will need to reduce this recipe. Comment or email me with any questions.
About Pressure Cookers and Cookbooks
I love Fagor pressure cookers and have three! They are available on Amazon at a good price. An 8 quart Fagor pressure cooker is a good choice to start and very versatile. It’s the size I use the most.
If you are new to pressure cooking, pick up a cookbook for ideas. Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass is a good one for omnivore’s. Another good one is The New Fast Food by the Veggie Queen Jill Nussinow. Her book is focused on healthy plant-based meals with vegetables, grains, and beans.