What’s the buzz?
Bone broth has been attracting a lot of attention as a nourishing ‘soul food’, an ancient cooking technique that made the most of every morsel. The original meaty version, made by boiling bones, was held up as a digestible, soothing brew, with its many fans claiming it’s rich in magnesium and calcium.
What are the nutritional benefits?
Now there’s a vegan version on the scene. Using vegetables instead of bones makes a gentle broth, and selecting ingredients with high mineral contents can mimic the benefits of the traditional bone both.
Being water-based, a broth is great for your hydration levels, and is low in calories. Because you’re also drinking the water the veggies were boiled in, you’re not throwing away any soluble nutrients. All in all, vegan bone broth is as comforting as a cup of tea, but far more nourishing.
How to make your own: Basic veggie broth
Best for: Economy
- Freeze your vegetable scraps (such as stalks from herbs and mushrooms, carrot peel, and off-cuts) in a resealable bag.
- When it’s full, place the scraps in a slow cooker or a large pan, cover with twice the quantity of water, boil then turn the heat to low for a couple of hours.
- When the veggies are soft, strain them out and reserve the liquid. Keep it refrigerated and heat a cup whenever you need a comforting brew.
Miso ‘bone’ broth
Best for: Getting your minerals
This version adds a Japanese spin with miso and wakame. Both are rich in minerals, with miso particularly high in potassium while seaweed is one of the best food sources of iodine.
- Follow the basic recipe above, but add wakame to your vegetables and stir in a couple of tablespoons of miso paste towards the end of cooking.
Vegan bean broth
Best for: Protein
For a more filling version, which brings some protein to a vegan diet, make a version which is half soup, half broth. This involves puréeing some vegetables into your broth, to give it a thicker texture. Adding beans gives it a valuable protein boost, as well as plenty of carbs.
- Follow the basic recipe but, after straining, add some diced fresh vegetables (sweet potato or carrot work very well).
- Simmer until soft, then purée with a stick blender. You should still have a watery liquid, just with a bit more colour to it.
- Drop in some tinned, rinsed blackeye beans, plus some chopped greens and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes to cook the greens.