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A Nutritious Vegetarian Alternative to Bone Broth (+ Even a Pho Recipe!) » Simple and Healthy Recipe! ✅

Bone broth is all the rage right now, but if you don’t eat meat, take heart: vegetarians shouldn’t miss out on the nutritional benefits of bone broth. Some of the same nutrients can be doubled up in a delicious, nutrient-dense vegetarian bone broth substitute made from a combination of organic vegetables, wakame, water, herbs, and spices.

Warm, comforting and healing, this broth is also easy to prepare, as well as tasty, and is the perfect base for a vegetarian pho.

How to make vegetarian broth

It can be tempting to buy vegetable broth and call it good. But in reality, many store-bought broths are full of salt and not much else. And making broth from scratch is so easy to do!

I find I make it more often when I think about the future to save a lot of vegetarian leftovers and knick-knacks. It’s easy to put them back in the fridge or freezer as you go until you have enough to make a large batch of broth.

You may remember hearing that nutrients leach out of the vegetables into the cooking water. Well that’s right! And this recipe takes advantage of it.

Vitamins and minerals are released into the water as the broth boils. Filtering removes solids, leaving behind all those nutrients that are easily digested by the body.

In addition to the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, the flavor of this broth is fantastic. The long cooking time of the recipe produces great flavor and allows the flavors to meld and meld.

You can definitely use any vegetables you like in this broth. The sky is the limit! I tend to go with easy to find vegetables and then add flavorings for a richer tasting broth.

For additional minerals and other nutrients, I use wakame (seaweed), coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce instead), mushrooms (for umami flavor), ginger, and turmeric (fresh if possible!), along with lots of leafy vegetables. You can also add the veggie toppings and shells I mentioned, a great way to eliminate cooking scraps!

Shiitake mushrooms contain 18 amino acids and more than 30 enzymes. And whether used dry or fresh, shiitakes add B vitamins, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D.

These mushrooms are definitely worth including in any vegetarian broth you make. [source]. They also add an earthy, meaty umami flavor.

A quick note about wakame seaweed: You can find it dried in packets in the Asian section of well-stocked supermarkets, health food stores, and online. And if you still can’t find it, nori is a great replacement.

Its use adds minerals and other collagen-boosting nutrients to the broth along with a distinctive flavor that works particularly well for Asian dishes, such as pho. Helps replace the flavor of fish sauce that would normally have been added. Algae are rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium.

The other vegetables and seasonings add even more vitamins and minerals. Although this broth does not contain collagen, adding these elements can help increase the body’s natural collagen production. Vitamins A, C and E are particularly important for collagen production and this broth contains all three.

Consuming the broth on its own is absolutely delicious, but we also like to use it as a base for vegetarian pho. I have included a basic broth recipe and a pho recipe. Be sure to check out the notes for some shortcuts if you want to make broth specifically to use with pho.

The integral part of any pho recipe is its richly flavored, aromatic broth. When serving, the boiling broth is poured over cooked rice noodles, vegetables, and a protein or meat; in this case, I used meaty shiitake mushrooms.

And finally, a handful of bean sprouts, fresh herbs, green onions, a splash of fresh lime juice, and hot peppers. Traditionally, pho is served with a side of hoisin sauce and Sriracha, but you can also sprinkle it on top if you like.

Like I said before, “bone” vegetable broth makes a great base for pho. To add authentic flavor, I simmer a gravy packet (or whole spices tied up in cheesecloth) while I cook. I include dried coriander berries, whole fennel seeds, whole cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger root slices.

If you plan to make pho with the vegetable broth ahead of time, you can add them to the broth during the initial cooking time, and then the broth is ready to use without the extra step.

Vegetarian “Bone” Broth + a Pho Recipe

This vegetarian alternative to bone broth has the collagen-boosting benefits of bone broth, but without the bones! We love it as a base for meatless pho.

Preparation time 20 min

Cooking time 8 hours

Total time 8 hours 20 min

course: soup

Cuisine: Asian

keyword: vegan

Servings: 4 servings

  • large saucepan

  • mesh filter

Vegetarian “bone” broth.

  • 2 cups fresh leafy vegetables (cabbage, cabbage, etc., chopped and also stemmed if desired)
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops if desired
  • 4 celery sticks (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (well washed and cut into thick slices)
  • 1 large fennel, cut in half
  • 1–2 medium onions, halved
  • 1 large leek root, peeled (cut in half lengthwise and rinsed well)
  • 6–8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced ​​or a small packet dried
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger (peeled and cut into thick slices)
  • 2 inches fresh turmeric, peeled and thickly sliced ​​(or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of wakame
  • 3 tablespoons coconut amino
  • Optional herbs and spices.
  • 12-16 cups of filtered water

vegetarian pho

  • vegetarian pho
  • 2 liters of vegetarian “bone” broth.
  • 2 tablespoons liquid tamari or aminos
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • Anise 2 stars
  • 2 teaspoons coriander berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • sea ​​salt to taste

Vegetarian Pho, for serving

  • 8 ounces dry brown or white rice noodles or any width “sticks”
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cut into thick strips
  • 1 medium Chinese cabbage, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, well washed
  • 1 bunch of thinly sliced ​​shallots (green and white part)
  • Fresh coriander, basil and mint to decorate
  • 2 limes cut into quarters
  • Fresh Thai chilies (dried or frozen)
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha

Vegetarian “bone” broth.

  • Wash and rinse all vegetables well before slicing or chopping. Place in a large pot or slow cooker. Add ginger, turmeric, garlic cloves, bay leaves, wakame, coconut aminos, and any other herbs or spices. Cover with water.

  • If using the stove and a saucepan, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 2-3 hours. If using a slow cooker, cover with lid and turn on HIGH for 6-8 hours or overnight. (Note: I don’t like to use LOW heat when using my slow cooker for broth. It should just simmer and it only happened to me when I used HIGH heat.)

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove solids from pot or slow cooker. Place a large, fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or other pot and strain the broth. If not using right away, transfer broth to jars or other airtight containers. Let it cool slightly before placing it in the fridge or freezer. The broth should keep well for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.

  • This broth has very little salt (except amino acids), so add salt depending on how it will be used in recipes.

vegetarian pho

  • Put the vegetable broth and tamari in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Prepare the spice packet by placing the spices in several layers of cheesecloth, tying it with kitchen twine, and then placing it in the boiling broth. Simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably longer, to allow their aromatic flavors to infuse the broth. Remove the spice packet and discard it.

  • Meanwhile, cook rice noodles according to package directions and rinse well under cold water. Reserve until the time of assembly.

  • To assemble the pho, prepare four wide, shallow bowls. Divide the noodles among the bowls. Top with the thinly sliced ​​mushrooms, bok choy and carrots. Pour over hot broth. (The vegetables need to be wilted and softened. If you prefer more tender vegetables, lightly sauté them in the oil before assembling the bowls.) Garnish each with bean sprouts, a handful of spring onions, fresh herbs, lime wedges, and Thai chilies. Serve with shallow plates of hoisin and Sriracha on the side along with chopsticks and bouillon spoons.

Bone broth notes
Feel free to substitute or add any vegetables you have on hand or that you prefer over those listed above. Variation: For a tomato-based broth, add 2-3 large tomatoes, halved or diced. Add various spices and herbs, depending on how the broth will be used in recipes or based on your preferences. Example: thyme, parsley, sage and rosemary for savory recipes or coriander, cumin seeds and chili for Mexican or Indian recipes, etc.
Pho Notes
If you prefer, sauté the bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and carrots in a little oil before adding to the noodles. Other leafy greens can be used in place of bok choy, such as cabbage, collard greens, or thinly sliced ​​cabbage. Feel free to add or omit other vegetables based on your preferences. Rice noodles can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or online. For a low carb version, replace the spiralized vegetables with rice noodles.

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