Many great vegan recipes begin with a decent homemade veg stock. Unfortunately homemade stock conjures up all kind of labour intensive notions. The bubbling of cauldrons and the need for animal carcasses (perish the thought.) It’s actually a simple process that can be done overnight in a slow cooker while you sleep. Not to mention a great way to use up all those kitchen scraps that normally end up in the dustbin.
Good stock begins with good veg prep. I prefer to prep my veg either as I’m storing it away or the day after a full grocery shop. Not only am I prepping ingredients for the week ahead but also freeing up valuable space in the fridge. It allows me to make sure I have everything I need for the coming week, minimises waste and the likelihood that things are left lurking at the back of the fridge to perish.
Your stock will largely depend on what you have to hand and how you intend to use it. A good stock can do wonders to enhance the flavours and feel of the finished dish. For example if I’m making a spicy noodle soup I’ll add ginger peel into the stock. but would likely omit this if making a stew. If I’m looking for a risotto base I’ll add the vine stalks from tomatoes and ageing herb stems.
I tend to trim, top and tail most hardy veggies and store in a large, airtight container. Throughout the next few days I’ll add peels and trim from more delicate ingredients. Once I have enough to half fill my slow cooker I wash the lot together. At this point if I’ve had this on the go for a few days I’ll pick through everything to make sure nothings wilted. Drain thoroughly in a colander and then blitz in batches in a food processor. I use roughly a 50:50 ratio of veg to water. I usually allow mine to simmer overnight in the slow cooker on low but if you prefer it can be done on the stove top and allowed to simmer gently for 1-2 hours.
The list below is not exhaustive. Try experimenting with quantities and variety. Without a recipe in the traditional sense I hope it encourages you to see the potential in your veg trimmings.
Homemade Veg Stock
Good for most things including soups and stews.
- Onion tops and leathery outer skin
- Celery tops and small inner leaves
- Carrot tops and peelings
- Garlic tops and peels
- Leek tops
- Spring/green onion tops
- Potato peels (Can be a bit starchy and cause the stock to cloud if used in large quantities.)
- Parsnip tops (Small quantities)
- Cauliflower stem and smaller outer leaves (Less is more so go easy or omit if you need a more delicate stock)
- Green bean tops
- Bay leaves
Good for noodle soups and curries.
Any of the basic stock ingredients but also try variations of the following.
- Cabbage stem (Small amounts only. Too pungent for some tastes.)
- Broccoli stem (As cauliflower)
- Pea pods (Small quantities)
- Ginger peelings
- Lemongrass stem and tough outer leaf
- Fennel stem
- Coriander stalks (Tiny quantities)
- Used green tea bag (Single used bag added within the last half hour and removed first before straining)
Good for risotto, tomato based dishes and stews.
Any of the ingredients for a basic stock including variations of the following.
- Vine tomato stalks and tops
- Woody asparagus tips (Small amounts)
- Courgette tops
- Herb stalks such a basil, thyme and parsley (Less is more when it comes to herbs)
- Dregs of leftover wine
Let me know if you add any other kitchen scraps to your stock in the comments below. Tag me over on Instagram @applefalltree to show me how you put your homemade veg stock to good use.