Umami Vegetable Broth {RECIPE}

I love a good bone broth but sometimes I want to keep my meal plant-based and use a rich and flavorful vegetable broth for making soups at home. Sadly, I have not found a store-bought vegetable broth that tastes like much more than dirty water. Bleck!  

After lots of experimenting, I’ve come up with a vegetable broth that packs a big hit of umami (that elusive fifth flavor that is earthy and rich and represents all foods that are soul-satisfying). I have three tricks to packing this kind of flavor into a vegetable broth:

  1. Brown Your Onions – Taking a few moments to brown, I mean REALLY brown, the halved onions that begin this recipe makes all the difference. That little bit of charred flavor seeps into the broth and leaves behind the kind of richness that only the maillard reaction can deliver.
  2. Use a Variety of Vegetables – If you want a full-flavored broth, you have to look beyond carrots, onions and celery. Adding a greater variety of vegetables makes for a more nuanced broth without fail. I always add fennel and parsnip — both great flavor-builders — but really this is a place to throw in all your vegetable odds and ends.
  3. Add a Few Flavor-Bomb Umami-Packed Ingredients – I have three secret ingredients that are game-changers. First, a few whole cloves. They lend a flavor reminiscent of a traditional French beef stock. Second, a handful of dried mushrooms. These little guys are big on umami and give that earthy body to the broth like no other vegetable can. Lastly, a piece of kombu. Here is where I might lose you, but trust me! Kombu is a kind of kelp seaweed easily found in the Asian aisle of your supermarket. It lends a salt, can’t-quite-place-it flavor to the broth that I love.

Here’s the recipe for my Umami Vegetable Broth. The only question now is, what should I make with it first?? I’m thinking about a vegetable stew with dumplings…..

Umami Vegetable Broth
makes about 4 quarts
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  1. 1 large onion, halved with skin left on
  2. 1 whole bulb garlic, cut in half with skins left on
  3. 3 whole cloves
  4. 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  5. 4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
  6. 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
  7. 1 small fennel bulb, halved
  8. 1-inch piece fresh ginger
  9. 2 parsnips, cut into large chunks
  10. handful parsley stems/leaves
  11. 3 bay leaves
  12. 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  13. 1 4-inch piece kombu
  1. Heat a large soup pot over high heat.
  2. Add the onion, cut-side-down, and leave in one place for 3-5 minutes until very browned.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add 5 quarts water.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Cover partially and cook for 2 hours.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. Strain and discard solids.
  10. Refrigerate for up to 5 days OR freeze for use later.
  1. Use this broth as a base for soups and stews and sauces.
  2. OR drink it as a sipping broth -- just add a little tamari for seasoning and some fresh grated ginger.
TRUST ur GUT by Chef Taji Marie


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