What can I substitute for vegetable broth?

In this short article, we are going to provide an answer to the question, “What can I substitute for vegetable broth?” with an in-depth analysis of some replacements for vegetable broth.                                                                                                                                                                                

What can I substitute for vegetable broth?

Gazpacho is a typical Mediterranean dish, defined as a ready-to-serve cold vegetable soup, which contains about 75% vegetables (tomato, cucumber ,pepper), 2–10% olive oil and other minor components (onion, garlic, wine vinegar and sea salt), and is rich in vitamin C. A showed that drinking two servings of commercial gazpacho (about 500 ml) daily for 14 days increases plasma vitamin C concentrations by 26% in men and 22%in women (1).

You can substitute the below things for Vegetable broth:

  • Bouillon cubes
  • Wine
  • Dashi
  • Water
  • Concentrated cube
  • Seasoning stock
  • Soy sauce
  • Homemade stock
  • Chicken and beef stock
  • Tomatoes

You can use substitutes for vegetable broth in a variety of recipes. It can be used to make a delicious vegetable soup or used in other meals to enhance the flavor. You may still flavor your cuisine by replacing the broth with other components.

Some substitutes for vegetable broth:

Bouillon Cubes:

Bouillon is the French word for broth, and it’s simply just soup that’s been concentrated and dehydrated. This is why the most obvious and closest replacements for vegetable broth are bouillon cubes and powders.

Bouillon cubes became popular worldwide after the First World War to compensate for the lack of micronutrients. The preparation involves mixing all the dry ingredients (salt, possibly glutamate, sugar and herbs) with molten high melting fats (refined, mostly hydrogenated, vegetable oils or animal fats). The hot mixture is shaped, wrapped and packaged after cooling processes that yield the desired consistency. The solid fats function primarily as a binder immobilizing the dry ingredients in the matrix. The type of fat impacts the sensory properties of the bouillon cube, but also physico-chemical properties like melting behavior, macroscopic hardness and their resistance to oxidation (2).

Bouillon cubes are concentrated blocks of beef, fish, poultry, or vegetable stock that have been dehydrated. Bouillon cubes are less expensive and easier to store than liquid stock. Bouillon is also available as a granular substance. To make a broth, combine a bouillon cube with a cup of boiling water.

Wine:

Wine has long been used in cooking as a taste enhancer. Because wine contains alcohol, this is the case. While alcohol does not add aroma and flavor, it does assist in bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients in a manner that a vegetable broth alone cannot.

Many of the traditional stock based sauces are made with wine. The wine is normally boiled down separately and mixed with the stock base, resulting in a wine-stock reduction which may be further reduced and nished with e.g. butter. However, there is a potential danger of getting a very sour, bitter and astringent sauce due to the concentrated acids and tannins in the reduced wine (3).

If you are using wine instead of vegetable broth, make sure to let it simmer all the way through otherwise you’ll get a slightly boozy flavor.

Dashi:

Dashi is a sort of broth that is used as a base for many Japanese meals and can also be used as a veggie broth substitute. Dashi is created by steeping kombu (a chunk of seaweed) in hot water for a few minutes before replacing it with bonito (aka dried fish flakes). 

The seaweed kombu has been used as a material to make dashi (soup stock) in Japan for a long time. In 1908, Ikeda who was a professor of physical chemistry in the University of Tokyo began to identify the active principle in kombu. He used 12kg of dried kombu and extracted the principle with water. In an acidic condition, he obtained crystals of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid dissolved in water was neutralized with NaOH and 30g of crystals of monosodium glutamate (MSG) was obtained, which gives the umami taste (4).

As a consequence, you will get a transparent liquid that’s overflowing with umami flavor. Dashi can be used instead of vegetable broth in ramen, noodle soups, and Japanese cooking, but it can also be used to flavor rice when boiling.

Water:

If you don’t want to use vegetable broth, you can always use plain water. In your recipe, however, you will not get the same taste and flavor.

Water alone will help to bring out the flavors of the other components in your recipe. It won’t have the same depth of flavor as veggie stock, but it’ll still be tasty in the end.

However, nutrients are primarily lost from vegetable tissue through leaching into the cooking water. So, the greater the volume of boiling water, the higher the leaching of nutrients, moreover, the mechanical action of boiling water could also contribute to a more effective leaching action (5).

Concentrated cubes:

Concentrated cubes, also called stock cubes are a seasoning ingredient composed of kitchen salt (between 40% and 70%), hardened vegetable fat, hydrolysed vegetable proteins, starch, herbs, spices, flavorings, and may contain taste enhancers such as monosodium glutamate or yeast extracts (6). Concentrated cubes are available in a variety of flavors. Beef cubes, chicken cubes, veggies, and other flavorful cubes are available. They are dried meat or vegetable concentrates, and one cube should flavor up to two liters of liquid.

Seasoning stock:

You might be shocked to know that producing a seasoning stock might serve as a terrific substitute for vegetable stock. You will need dried parsley, onion, lemon pepper, and garlic powder to prepare this stock.

If you have celery seeds on hand, you can also add them, as well as dill, oregano, thyme, sage, or other seasonings to taste. When your mixture is done, pour in the water and bring to a boil. You will get a delectable substitute for vegetable broth.

Historically herbs and spices have enjoyed a rich tradition of use for their flavor-enhancement characteristics and for their medicinal properties. A growing body of epidemiological and preclinical evidence points to culinary herbs and spices as minor dietary constituents with multiple anticancer characteristics (7).

Soy sauce:

Soy sauce is made using essentially five basic raw ingredients: soybeans/soybean flakes (as the main protein source), wheat/wheat flour (as the main carbohydrate source), salt, water, and Aspergillus oryzae/Aspergillus sojae, salt-tolerant yeast and lactic acid bacteria (8).

Vegetable stock can be substituted with a blend of soy sauce and water. To accomplish this, add one spoonful of soy sauce to each cup of water. The resulting mixture does not have the same flavor as vegetable stock, but it can be substituted for it.

Its distinct flavor is characterized by a strong umami, salty, and caramel-like character which enhances the overall savory taste and aroma of many kinds of dishes (8).

Homemade stock:

You may make a substitute for vegetable stock using common seasonings and spices if you don’t have any on hand. Combine dried parsley flakes and onion powder in a bowl. Add the celery seeds, garlic powder, and salt-free lemon pepper to taste. Combine sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, pepper, dill weed, and summer savory in a large mixing bowl. To make vegetable stock, combine this with boiling water. Herbs and spices used to season and preserve food may also contribute to eating behaviors and present intriguing possibilities for health promotion (7).

Chicken and beef stock:

Unless you adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, substituting chicken or beef stock for vegetable broth is a no-brainer. Vegetable and chicken broths, for an instance, have comparable flavor profiles and colors, making it simple to swap one for the other.

Chicken meat and its extracts have long been recognized as a source of bioactive molecules that can potentially improve health status in general, and exercise performance in particular. In traditional South-Asian medicine, chicken extracts are used to alleviate stress or mild disease symptoms. The activities of chicken extracts are suggested to be related to its active components, including proteins, free amino acids, taurine, many minerals, trace elements, and vitamins (9).

Tomatoes:

Glutamates, an amino acid found in tomatoes, give the fruit its deep, meaty flavor. This is why tomatoes are a great vegan and vegetarian alternative to vegetable stock in any dish that calls for a meatier flavor.

Tomato components exhibit bioactivity in rodent models of prostate carcinogenesis, reducing severity and incidence. Tomatoes are a source of other carotenoids in addition to lycopene, including provitamin A beta carotene. Processed tomato products, including soup, sauce and juice, are popular, affordable and frequently consumed by Americans. Per capita, Americans consume 65 lbs of processed tomato products, including sauces, soups and juices, and 21 lbs of fresh tomatoes each year (10).

Conclusion:

In this short article, we have answered the question, ”What can I substitute for vegetable broth?” with an in-depth analysis of vegetable stock, the substitutes for vegetable stock, important points to keep in mind while using them.

References:

  1. Sánchez-Moreno, Concepción, et al. Mediterranean vegetable soup consumption increases plasma vitamin C and decreases F2-isoprostanes, prostaglandin E2 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in healthy humans. J nutr biochem, 2006, 17, 183-189.
  2. Conty, Valentina, Sophia Theierl, and Eckhard Flöter. Improving the nutritional profile of culinary products: oleogel-based bouillon cubes. Food Funct, 2021, 12, 7185-7197.
  3. Snitkjær, Pia, et al. Beef stock reduction with red wine–Effects of preparation method and wine characteristics. Food chem, 2011, 126, 183-196.
  4. Kurihara, Kenzo. Umami the Fifth Basic Taste: History of Studies on Receptor Mechanisms and Role as a Food Flavor. BioMed Res Int, 2015.
  5. Palermo, Mariantonella, Nicoletta Pellegrini, and Vincenzo Fogliano. The effect of cooking on the phytochemical content of vegetables. J Sci Food Agric, 2014, 94, 1057-1070.
  6. Mannar, MG Venkatesh, and Richard F. Hurrell, eds. Food fortification in a globalized world. Academic Press, 2018.
  7. Kaefer, Christine M., and John A. Milner. The role of herbs and spices in cancer prevention. J nutr biochem, 2008, 19, 347-361.
  8. Diez-Simon, Carmen, et al. Chemical and sensory characteristics of soy sauce: a review. J Agric Food Chem, 2020, 68, 11612-11630.
  9. Barbaresi, Silvia, et al. Ergogenic effect of pre-exercise chicken broth ingestion on a high-intensity cycling time-trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2021, 18, 15.
  10. Grainger, Elizabeth M., et al. A comparison of plasma and prostate lycopene in response to typical servings of tomato soup, sauce or juice in men before prostatectomy. Brit J Nutr, 2015, 114, 596-607.