In moving to a more plant-based diet, I have found vegetable broth (or vegetable stock as some call it) to be indispensable. It is much quicker to prepare than its meat-based cousins, so much so that I make it one or two times a week.
I even use vegetable broth in meat dishes if I have no homemade meat stock available. It’s more to my liking than the canned chicken and meat broth I used to use.
My basic all-purpose vegetable broth uses the following ingredients:
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 carrots, well-scrubbed (or peeled) and chopped
1 leek, well-cleaned and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 or 2 large potatoes, well-scrubbed (or peeled) and cut into chunks
a few sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of salt
If I have vegetable odds and ends in my refrigerator, I add some, but not too many different kinds — I find it muddies the taste of the broth.
A sweet potato lends a lovely sweet flavor. Other sweet additions that work very nicely are peeled butternut squash (in winter) or corn cobs (in summer).
If I have mushrooms handy, I often add them, but not if I’ve gone in the sweet direction.
To cook, I put all the ingredients in a stockpot, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Then, I partially cover the pot and keep it on a simmer for an hour or an hour and a half if I have the time. When it’s done, I strain and press the vegetables in the strainer with the back of a big spoon to get the liquid out.
If I’m not planning to use the broth immediately, I cool it to room temperature, then freeze half or all in ice cube trays. When frozen, I move the cubes to covered containers. That way I can get a cube or two when I need it without the hassle of defrosting.