Waste Free Slow Cooker Vegan Broth

One of the things that is a constant struggle for me in the kitchen, is minimizing my waste. I use cloth towels more often than paper towels, I try to re-use any containers that I can and when I can buy in bulk instead of using more plastic, I will.

But the nuts & bolts of food waste is a place where I often fall short and to be honest, I don’t have a very good reason for it.

In fact, the only real reason is laziness.

But recently, that all changed and today I’m showing you my super easy, if you’re willing to spend a little bit of time each day, vegan slower cooker broth.

When I say this is easy, I’m not blowing smoke. I swear.

Preheat your slow cooker and get ready.

Step 1: Collect your food refuse from each meal you cook. Onion tips, mushroom steps, the root of celery or fennel, pretty much anything as you can see. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer until you have enough to get a broth/stock going.

Step 2: Add herbs, spices and seasonings of your choices. This is where you can get really creative, using peppercorns, cinnamon, anise, coriander or mustard seeds, plus your favorite spices. And don’t forget the water, I used filtered water just to be safe.

Step 3: Cook for 4 to 6 hours or until you get the flavor you’re looking for.

Let the broth cool and then drain it into airtight containers to store in the fridge.

I wish I could tell you how long it’ll keep in the fridge but the truth is we don’t keep it long enough to find out. It’s great for a quick vegan ramen soup, use it to make grains like couscous and rice or sauces & gravy recipes.

You’ve already bought the vegetables, why not get the most out of them and leave that too salty vegetable broth on the shelf?

Homemade Vegan Broth: A Novel Way To Use Veg Scraps

As a hardworking vegan you’re used to spending time each day chopping, slicing, dicing and whatnot to all of your veggies. It’s part of cooking and when you eat a plant based diet you’ll spend a good deal of meal prep doing just that. And when this is what you wake up to…

…you’re really grateful for the foresight of taking all those bits of what most people consider trash and dumping them in a slow cooker.

After making a quick stir-fry with some homemade teriyaki sauce, I remembered this video I saw on Facebook a few months ago about how to use your discarded food for broth and I decided, why not?

As you can see there were the hard outer leaves of a very big leek, odds and ends of a red bell pepper, butts of carrots, garlic & broccoli tips and steams and once the idea struck, I added a few thick slices of ginger because it has tons of health benefits and because it’s delicious. This was super easy to make too!

Just add enough water to cover the veggies, salt and pepper and you’re good to go.

Or…

You can add a few more things like I did because, why not? Black peppercorns, coriander, cloves, star of anise and a couple bay leaves all went into the pot before bed. I set it on low and let it cook until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon the following day. To be fair, it did need another pinch of salt but I let it slide because I planned to add soy sauce to the dish I planned to make.

What else but…soup?

I was very impressed with how clear the broth came out. It has been a lifelong struggle as a home cook and foodie, to make a beautiful clear, non-cloudy broth and finally I’ve done it. By accident.

This soup was very simple too with only a few ingredients: rice noodles, bean sprouts, fresh parsley and sriracha. Now you can see why I just added a couple splashes of soy sauce and lime. Clean, delicious and simple flavors.

But we are also adults in need of sustenance so we added these delicious veggie balls that were made of lentils, carrots, onion, bread crumbs, chia seeds and garlic. I didn’t make them, I bought them and they were pretty damn good. Add a pinch of garlic granules and cracked black pepper and stick’em in the oven for five to 10 minutes so they’re good and crispy on the outside, and then drop them on top of the soup and get your EAT ON!

I’ll grant you it’s not the prettiest dish around, not even with my totally avant garde sriracha drops on the side but it wasn’t a planned meal and it still turned out great. And goodness, that broth, how amazing does it look?

Now that I’m done patting my back over the broth, let’s talk about what I washed this soup down with because the answer is beer. Ice cold Tsingtao that I just happened to have on this chilly day…talk about kismet!

 

What do you drink beside your favorite soup?