I want to let you in on a secret that will majorly up your kitchen (and health) game... it's simple, humble, but oh so powerful...it's homemade vegetable broth.
I say powerful for a few reasons. It's loaded with seriously good for you stuff - vegetables and herbs like onion, garlic, sage and thyme that protect us from bacteria, viruses and can help keep you healthy when it seems like everyone else is getting sick.
I'll get back to the health benefits because there's another reason I love keeping homemade vegetable broth on hand that's a lot more fun... and delicious.
Delicious is in the Details
Have you ever wondered how great restaurants do it? How do the best get so much more flavor out of the food and make dishes that you think you'd never be able to make at home?
The secret is... delicious is in the details. The best chefs in the world cook with complex homemade vegetable broth, stocks and bone broths that have been simmered for days to extract and develop those complex flavors you find in their dishes.
This may sound like a lot of work, but at home it can be as simple as making this homemade vegetable broth and using it instead of water or a box to make whatever you're making that much better.
Make it Easy
So here's what I do. I roughly chop up a bunch of vegetables - by this I mean barely chop, like cut celery and carrots in half or thirds, quarter onions (make it easy!). It doesn't take much. Throw everything in a pot along with any scraps (like those celery tops and leaves - don't throw them away, save them to make homemade vegetable broth) and fresh herbs.
Fill the pot with water, enough to cover everything completely and set it on the stove. Bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Let it go for at least an hour, then allow to cool and strain it into a large bowl that you can store in the fridge.
Now you have this rich broth full of flavor you can do so much with. Aside from the obvious of using it to make a soup or stew, I love having this on hand to add to sautéed vegetables instead of plain ol' water. It gives even the simplest of meals so much more flavor and depth making the result anything but simple.
For the Health of it
Or don't cook with it all. Homemade vegetable broth is delicious all on it's on. Warm it up on the stove and pour into a mug to sip and take in all of the health benefits of the vegetables and herbs that went into it.
Think of it like the smoothie or juice of the winter. Just like adding greens to make a green smoothie or juicing vegetables, homemade vegetable broth delivers a concentrated, easy to consume dose of nutrition. It's just one more way to cram in those veggies.
For me, I find sipping a cup of homemade vegetable broth very warming and comforting. To make it even more so, you can play with the ingredients and add more ginger, which will bring even more heat.
Use this recipe as a guide and feel free to play around with the ingredients to create your very own homemade vegetable broth, your own secret weapon in the kitchen....
Make it Last
I know I say it's simple and easy but let's be honest, it still takes some work. So let me tell you my trick for how to have more broth with less work...
As I mentioned earlier one of my favorite ways to use this homemade vegetable broth is adding it to vegetable sautés, stir fry, curries instead of water when things start to stick to the pan. But this all sounds like a lot just for that...
So I freeze some of the homemade vegetable broth in ice cube trays (or those silicone trays for making baby food) and put it in the freezer. Then once frozen I pop them out, store them in a freezer bag and then just pull one, two or four out as I need them.
You can either allow them to thaw or just add them right to the pan still frozen.
Cook Like a Boss
You don't have to spend hours in the kitchen every night to eat homemade, delicious, good-for-you food.
You just need the right plan for you, and a few tricks and time-saving strategies.
I can show you exactly what to do to have you eating so much better. And save time, money and stress while you're at it.
Do you want to cook like a boss? Let me show you how.
Homemade Vegetable Broth
4-6 stalk celery
2-3 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
2 bay leaves
Optional add ins:
2 handfuls button mushrooms
1 inch peeled fresh ginger
1 strip kombu*
*Kombu is a type of seaweed that's high in minerals especially iodine. Adding a piece or strip to broths, soups and stews is a great way to infuse your food with minerals your body needs.
Wash well and roughly chop celery, carrots and onion and garlic. Place everything in a large pot and cover completely with water.
Place pot on the stove and heat over medium-high heat to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for at least 1 hour.
Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit. Strain using a fine mesh strainer (like this one or this one) and store soup in a large glass bowl or in mason jars. Or, I like to freeze some in ice cube trays and later use the cubes instead of water when I need to add liquid to stir fry, sautes, curries, etc. It adds great flavor.
Store in the fridge (lasts about 5 days) or freeze** for later use.
**If freezing it be sure to only fill the container about 3/4 full. As the liquid cools and freezes it will expand and if overfull can break the jar (trust me, I've done this many times, I know).
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.