How To Make A Healthy Homemade Vegetable Stock
A good vegetable stock is one of those essential kitchen ingredients that’s always handy to have up your sleeve at dinnertime. And while store-bought stock cubes are useful – nothing beats a healthy homemade vegetable stock!
Homemade Stock vs Store Bought Stock
Although store-bought stock cubes are a time saver they’re often high in salt and can be full of additives like flavour enhancers and palm oil, which have been known to cause migraines and nausea in some people. What’s more, if you are gluten intolerant many stock cubes contain wheat, maize starch, and yeast extract, which means they aren’t gluten-free.
Homemade stock, on the other hand, is rich in vitamins and minerals with many added health benefits such as boosting your immune system and improving liver and gut health. Homemade stock is also lower in salt and calories than the store bought version, is easily made gluten-free and since you make it yourself you always know exactly what’s going in (meaning no nasty additives!). You can also have fun and add different flavours to your stock according to your preferences.
People are often concerned that homemade vegetable stock is complicated but it really couldn’t be easier – chop up your veg, add water, simmer, strain and you’re done! Your vegetables will need to simmer for around 2 hours, so the process does take time, but the results are always well worth it; a wonderfully rich stock that adds a gorgeous depth of flavour to risottos, casseroles, soups and sauces. And what’s more, you can keep it in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months!
2 Mistakes To Avoid When Making Your Own Stock
If you’ve made your own stock in the past and have been a little disappointed or underwhelmed by the results chances are you made one of these simple mistakes…
- You didn’t cook your stock long enough. You need to cook your stock for at least 1 hour for the flavours to really start to build. Any less than this and you’ll end up with a watery lacklustre flavour that won’t give you the wow factor you’re looking for in a homemade stock.
- You used the wrong vegetables. Not all vegetables lend themselves well to a good stock. Some veggies like zucchini become bitter when they’re cooked for as long as it takes to make this stock. Vegetables like white potato, although delicious in soup, will result in a cloudy, starchy stock. Beetroot, although flavoursome, will overpower the other elements of your stock (not to mention turning it bright pink!).
Healthy Vegetable Stock Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions peeled and cut in half
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 2 parsnips peeled and cut into 3
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into 3
- 2 celery sticks cut in half
- 1 leek cut in to 3
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 handful of parsley including the stalks
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp yeast flakes (most supermarkets sell these)
- 2 litres of water
- Heat a large heavy based saucepan with the olive oil.
- Once hot add the onion and fry for 5 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours with the lid on.
- Allow to cool and then strain preferably through a straining cloth.
- Transfer to glass containers and store in the fridge or freezer.
Supercharge Your Stock
Try adding these ingredients to spice up the flavour
Ginger and turmeric – both have anti-inflammatory and are good for immune health
Yeast flakes – high in B12 which is often lacking in vegans and vegetarians
Seaweed – rich in minerals and adds depth of flavour
Cabbage – good for the liver and gut
Dried shiitake mushrooms – great for immune health and adds a lovely earthy flavour
Apple cider vinegar – good for the digestion
Why not try one of our Gousto recipes using homemade stock to replace the stock cube, for example, in this delicious Green Risotto & Pan Con Tomate recipe