Vegetable broth or vegetable stock, call it whatever you want, is our grandma’s favorite dish. It is a simple kind of dish that contains only water and various veggies. It is actually made from vegetables that you don’t want to throw out.
But, this type of broth is actually notoriously healthy since it is full of important nutrients that are very beneficial for your health. Aside from that, it is very delicious.
However, there are some downsides to broth. One of them is its high sodium content. Most of the store-bought veggie broths are very high in sodium. And most people tend to buy their vegetable broth only from the grocery store.
So, if you want to avoid consuming that high amount of sodium or you just want to make a little change if your recipe calls for veggie broth, there are some good vegetable broth substitutes.
Continue reading and you will find out about some great alternatives for veggie broth.
What Are The Best Vegetable Broth Substitutes?
Here is a list of 12 great substitutes for vegetable broth that you definitely need to take into consideration.
1. Bouillon Cubes
I will start with bouillon cubes because those are actually broth, just in different shapes. The Bouillon cube is a French product made from vegetable broth.
Bouillon is a French word for broth. It is cheaper than buying cartons of vegetable broth and it is more simple to use.
So, it definitely makes sense that this ingredient is on top of the list of best vegetable broth substitutes. Bouillon cubes can actually be made from chicken broth base, beef broth base, vegetable broth base, etc.
It is up to the chef to decide which one best suits his dish. Although it is most logical to choose vegetable broth-based Bouillon cubes to substitute vegetable broth, it doesn’t always need to be like that and it is really up to you to decide.
You can use bouillon cubes in soups, stews, casseroles, and various other dishes.
Before you incorporate a Bouillon cube or Bouillon powder into your dish, remember that it is a highly salty ingredient, so you don’t want to add more salt to your dish.
Also, know that a Bouillon cube is nothing but a dehydrated form of liquid broth, so you have to mix it with boiling water before cooking.
Mix one Bouillon cube or one teaspoon of Bouillon powder in one cup of water and substitute it for one cup of vegetable broth in your recipe.
If your Bouillon is in granular form, just follow the directions on the label where you will find the exact amount that you need to use.
2. Chicken Broth
Both are broths, have the same texture, and have similar flavor profiles. Chicken broth also known as chicken stock and vegetable broth are quite similar types of the broth really. There are slight differences in flavor but they are not very significant ones.
The only real and quite obvious difference is that chicken broth has a somewhat more rich and meaty flavor. The vegetable broth on the other hand has a more sweet flavor. Also, meat-based broths contain a little gelatin, unlike vegetable-based broths.
However, when chicken is boiled for making chicken broth, veggies are mostly also added. This means that most chicken broths aren’t pure meat-based broths, but they also contain a certain amount of veggies.
Due to all of these facts, when substituting vegetable broth with chicken broth, you can freely use a 1-to-1 ratio in your recipe.
3. Beef Broth
Here is another meat-based broth that can serve as a good substitute for vegetable-based broth. It is a beef broth or beef stock. This kind of broth is quite similar to chicken broth.
It is almost the same in terms of color, texture, and flavor. It is brown in color, it has a liquid texture with a little gelatin, and it contains that rich and meaty flavor just like chicken broth.
In the process of making beef broth, some amount of veggies are added. It means that this type of broth does not contain a pure meat-based flavor profile, but it also contains hints of flavor characteristic of veggie broth.
When you are substituting vegetable broth with beef broth, you can add the same amount of beef broth to your recipe.
Also, if you happen to have some amount of veggie broth but not enough, you can freely add some chicken broth to fill the gap.
Yes, you can use water to replace veggie broth in some recipes and that is perfectly fine. So, if you are cooking some kind of meat dish that requires vegetable broth, you can freely add just water instead of it. But, that is not recommended if you are cooking vegetarian food.
The main reason for this is the fact that you will maintain that rich meaty flavor in the meat dish even if you add just a cup of water instead of veggie broth. On the other hand, your vegetarian food will remain tasteless if you add just water instead of veggie broth.
So, if you are making some kind of meat dish that requires veggie broth, you can freely add just water. But, make sure to add some salt and herbs like rosemary or thyme because water misses that sodium content from the vegetable broth.
When you do that, you can substitute one cup of vegetable broth with one cup of water that is seasoned with salt and herbs according to your preferences.
5. Mushroom Broth
If you want a bold and meaty flavor, but don’t eat meat, adding mushroom broth to your dish could be a great option. Mushrooms have that characteristic umami flavor, but their broth is really more similar to beef broth in terms of flavor profile.
Mushroom broth can include different ingredients like celery seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, bay leaf, and various other seasonings.
But, for a really simple and delicious mushroom broth, all you need is a cup of water and a few mushrooms of your preference. I would suggest you use maitake, lion’s mane, or shiitake mushrooms because they are the healthiest ones.
You will have a delicious broth full of important nutrients such as vitamin B, potassium, copper, and various antioxidants.
You can also use this broth in various dishes like risottos, pies, stuffings, soups, and stews.
Using a 1:1 ratio when substituting is perfectly fine.
Tomatoes are a very suitable substitute for vegetable broth. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that tomatoes are, in most cases, the main part of that same vegetable broth.
The second reason is the umami flavor that tomatoes can add to your chosen dish, as well as the fact that tomatoes are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
The last reason is nutrition, of course. Tomatoes are a great source of fiber, as well as some very important vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, B9, and K1, as well as potassium and various antioxidants like lycopene, naringenin, chlorogenic acid, and beta carotene.
The most popular way to use tomatoes instead of vegetable broth is to mix half-cup of diced fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce with half-cup of water to replace the cup of broth.
7. White Wine
Incorporating wine in general, into various types of dishes is considered to be a great thing. The main reason for that is the fact that wine enhances the flavor of other ingredients inside the dish.
The same thing in this case is when we decide to use white wine as the vegetable broth substitute. Here, you may be wondering why white wine. The fact is that you could use red wine as well, but you won’t maintain the same color and the flavor of your dish will be stronger.
So, it is better to use white wine when substituting vegetable broth. You will achieve a slightly richer flavor of your dish, the alcohol will evaporate, and the color will remain the same.
When it comes to ratio, instead of one cup of vegetable broth, use one cup of the wine-water mix. In order to make that mixture, use 1/4 to 1/2 part of the wine and fill the rest of the needed quantity with water.
Although tea might be a little odd option when it comes to choosing a vegetable broth substitute for your favorite dish, it is actually a great alternative. Tea in general can be used in various types of dishes.
It can be used to infuse the richer component of a dish. You can use it in products like heavy cream or milk, as well as in ice cream or panna cotta. Teas can also be used in marinades and rubs, as well as in stir-fries, baked goods, and smoothies.
But one of the best ways to use tea is to substitute it in a dish that requires vegetable broth. Virtually any type of tea can be used. Jasmine and white tea are great for poaching, as well as in soups.
On the other hand, black tea is good in dishes with more complex flavor profiles. Also, if you have some other ingredients like soy sauce and mushrooms, you can combine them with steeped tea and add that mixture to dumpling soup instead of veggie broth.
You can use a 1:1 ratio to replace the veggie broth.
If you are a fan of Japanese cuisine, you certainly know what Dashi is. It is a Japanese type of broth made by steeping kombu in hot water and replacing it with bonito. Kombu is a piece of seaweed and bonito consists of dried fish flakes.
As you can see, you only need two main ingredients needed to make dashi. The process of making dashi only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of your precious time. And dashi can also provide your dish with that characteristic umami flavor that you are looking for.
The only real difference is that dashi has a little bit thicker consistency than vegetable broth, but that is really that.
Also, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you can make your own homemade version of vegetarian or vegan-friendly dashi just by using shiitake mushrooms as a substitute for bonito flakes.
You can freely add dashi to any type of dish that requires vegetable broth including risottos, soups, sauces, and marinades. You can also use it as a poaching liquid for fish.
Add the same amount of dashi in a recipe that requires veggie broth.
10. Soy Sauce
Although soy sauce is often used in many types of dishes and is really a good choice as an ingredient, it is not on the top of this list for a very good reason.
With its sweet, salty, and slightly umami flavor, soy sauce is not that similar to vegetable broth in terms of its flavor profile.
It is really more similar to beef broth and just like beef broth, it will provide your dish with that deep brown color.
But, in the absence of other options, soy sauce can be a decent alternative for vegetable broth. That is especially the case with meat dishes since soy sauce can add some extra flavor.
If you eventually decide to replace the vegetable broth with soy sauce, the key thing you need to do is to increase the cooking time in order to increase the flavors.
Also, pay attention to the amount of salt that you are adding to your dish because soy sauce, just like vegetable broth, is very salty.
Add one tablespoon of soy sauce to a cup of water to make the mixture. Use an equal amount of the mixture when you are substituting veggie broth.
11. Potato Broth
Although potato broth is not something that comes first to the minds of many people in terms of vegetable broth substitutes, this type of broth can actually be a decent alternative.
Potato broth can be used as a base for many types of dishes including vegetable soup. Since vegetable broth is one of the basic ingredients in vegetable soup, it is not a surprise that potato soup can come in handy to replace veggie broth.
Also, potato broth is very healthy since potatoes are packed with important nutrients like vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, and folate. Potatoes and potato broth are also rich in various antioxidants.
So, when you decide to make some kind of soup, especially a vegetable soup, but you don’t have any vegetable broth on hand, you can freely add the same amount of potato soup and you will have a healthy and delicious soup.
12. Your Own Homemade Broth
I know that making broth on your own might take you a lot of time, but hey, what better than using your own ingredients and controlling the cooking process nowadays when most store-bought food is full of unhealthy preservatives and other chemicals?
Although it might take you some time to make vegetable broth at home, the process is really not difficult. It is rather very simple. When it comes to ingredients, i.e. vegetables in broth, there are really no limits.
The most common ones include onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, and potatoes.
You can use every part including roots, peels, and stems. Do not use cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts because they will cause an unwanted bitter flavor in the broth.
When it comes to herbs, it is best to use fresh ones. In my opinion, Italian seasoning is the best option. Although there are some substitutes for Italian seasoning when it comes to making vegetable broth, Italian seasoning is the best option so far.
It includes herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, and bay leaves. You can also use a bit of olive oil and salt-free lemon pepper.
You can freely add the same amount of homemade broth in the recipe that requires vegetable broth.
Also, if you don’t want to use homemade broth right away, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and there it will last for up to 2-3 days.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vegetable Broth?
The vegetable broth has a lot of health benefits. It is full of fiber and it can help you manage your digestive system. A veggie broth is also high in vitamin A which can improve eye health as well as healthy skin.
Calcium is another nutrient in vegetable broth and it can help strengthen your bones and help you to avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures. The veggie broth is also high in iron which can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
It is also great for your body’s metabolism, increasing energy, optimizing nutrient absorption, as well as for body detoxification.
What Kind Of Vegetables Can I Use?
The best types of vegetables to use in vegetable broth include garlic, onions (including ends and skin), carrots (and green carrot tops), celery (both stalks and leafy greens), tomatoes (including trimmed ends), potatoes (and potato skin), and mushrooms.
Avoid using broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage because they can give your dish an unwanted bitter taste.
Best Substitute For Veggie Broth
Vegetable broth is a very versatile, healthy, and delicious ingredient that chefs and home cooks use in various types of dishes. However, there could be times when you don’t have any on hand or you just want to make a change.In that case, vegetable broth substitutes enter the scene. In this article, you have read about 12 very good alternatives for veggie broth. You just have to choose the one that best suits your dish and I am sure that it won’t disappoint your taste buds.