I am a flexitarian. Whenever I say that to people I get some raised eyebrows and a confused face. Ok, so to clear the air of this massive confusion being flexitarian means you are consciously lowering your meat intake. 35% of brits nowadays are flexitarians so I am in good company :). So whenever I don’t feel like eating meat but I feel like having a warming broth I make this delicious vegan broth. It’s vegan because rather than using bones from chicken or beef to extract flavour I use veggies, mushrooms and seaweed.
If you read my previous post you would have learnt that I really like pho. So basically this vegan broth is my interpretation of a meat free broth. Therefore I’ve packed it with the same kind of spices as my chicken pho. However, it will be a bit more subtle than the meat broth because it uses plant based ingredients to deliver flavour, however it’s just as delicious.
Don’t worry about the time it takes this to cook. It takes 10 min to prep and then you just forget about it in slow cooker or on the stove in a normal pot. And because you are doing a big batch you can then just freeze it in smaller containers and take out when you need it.
So what if I don’t want to wait 6 hours and I want something now!! Well, in that case you can follow the recipe but rather than using a slow cooker use a pot and rather than simmering bring the soup to a steady boil and cook it for about 1 hour. I haven’t personally tried it but I would imagine the soup is not as intense and most of nutrients will be lost as you are using high heat.
You can use the vegan broth to either just drink it like a tea, before a meal, in between meals or you can use to make a vegan pho and you can find the recipe here.
- Seaweed – Rich in protein, iodine which is necessary for metabolism. Good source of fibre and chlorophyll which helps remove toxins. Magnesium and potassium protect blood vessels. Wakame has a high content of magnesium;
- Mushrooms – Contain fibre and protein and ergothioneine an amino acid which helps reduce inflammation. Germanium enhances immunity. Shiitake contain lentian which has antiviral, antibacterial properties. Boosts the immune system by stimulating the production of white cells;
- Chilli – Capsaicin helps remove toxins and reduces hunger, boosts metabolism;
- Turmeric – Contains curcumin (an antioxidant) thought to help reduce inflammation;
- Star anise – has potent antiviral properties;
- Cinnamon – is a digestive aid that help normalise levels of glucose and triglycerides;
- Cardamom – effective digestive stimulant and diuretic, boosting the metabolism;
- Ginger – Fights colds and flu. It also protects and heals the gut.
Vegan brothPrint Recipe
- 4 carrots
- 2 onions or 4 shallots
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- 7.5 cm root of ginger
- 6 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Handful of fennel seeds
- ½ Handful of cardamom pods
- 2 chillies
- 5cm turmeric root grated or 1 tsp of turmeric powder per person
- Big Handful wakame seaweed (about 30g)
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- Bunch of coriander
- Slice of lime per person
- Soy sauce (1 tbps per person)
Cut the onions in 2 and put them in a pan (with no oil) along side the spices (star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds and cardamom). Gently dry fry these ingredients. This will help the onion to develop more intense flavour and the spices to start releasing the oils, helping to achieve flavour in your stock.
Bash the lemongrass to start releasing the flavour and put the following ingredients: 2 of the carrots (the rest will be added closer to serving), onion, spices, ginger, 1 of the chilli, lemongrass, seaweed and mushrooms in the slow cooker. The turmeric will be added later just before serving as this will help achieve flavour and you want the fresh taste from this. Cover with water according to the instructions. Turn on low heat and leave for 6 hours or over night. The longer you leave the more flavour it develops.
After cooking strain the liquid but retain the carrots, seaweed and mushrooms. Cut the carrots, slice the seaweed and mushrooms and put them back in the stock. This stock makes a perfect start to a meal just drunk from a mug or even as a “snack” in between meals. Or you can add some noodles, thai basil, mint, coriander, soy sauce and lime to make a vegan pho. (check my pho recipe here to see how to put together the pho. Just replace the chicken stock with the vegan one). Heat through enough stock for however many people you want to serve (enough to 1 mug per person). Grate the turmeric root or add the turmeric powder and stir well until it is dissolved. Add the soy sauce. Cut the coriander (stalks and all) and slice the chilli. Pour the stock into mugs, add the coriander, chilli and squeeze the slice of lime. Enjoy the savoury cup as a starter or a snack in between meals.
If you don’t have a slow cooker then you can just use a big pot. Half cover with a lid and just check it from time to time to ensure it’s not overflowing.