Vegetable stock, it’s so easy! Learn how to make vegetable stock! Perfect for use in soups, sauces, risotto, and more, this homemade stock is super flavorful and easy to make. Cut up some vegetables, add herbs cover with water, and simmer. Done. You can almost use every vegetable to make vegetable stock. Tomatoes, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and parsley roots make a great selection.
A stock is in simple terms an extract made by cooking meat, fish, or vegetables in water.
I tend to sweat my vegetables when I’m making my vegetable stock because it gives my stock oomph and adds another dimension It’s not necessary, but doing so brings out the vegetable’s flavors. Sweating vegetables is a technique that uses gentle heat to soften vegetables and gently draw out their flavors. Gently sweating veggies without caramelizing them is my favorite technique to create that wonderful layer of flavor. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you need your stock for and how you want your stock to taste. If you roast your veggies, your soup will taste like roasted veggies, if you put your veggies in raw they will taste like boiled veggies, if you sweat them over gentle heat you have the perfect vegetable stock.
Vegetables that should be always used in a vegetable stock
- Onions, red, white yellow onions leeks spring onions, or shallots. Do not peel the onions to get that wonderful color to the stock.
- Celery gives your stock that certain flavor. In case you are purchasing celery root with the greens you defiantly use the greens. The green top leaves are full of flavor and give your stock a wonderful aroma.
- Carrots, adding carrots will give your stock a little sweetness. Again sweating sweat my carrots or carrot peels add that flavor and aroma.
- Fresh mushrooms or dried mushrooms: even if you are not a mushroom fan, adding mushrooms gives your stock that amazing flavor. Specially dried mushrooms, like shiitake, add that extra layer of flavor. I sweat the fresh mushrooms, the dried shiitake goes straight into the stock
- Garlic, what would be stock without garlic? Adding garlic is definitely a must to elevate flavor and aroma.
- Fresh herbs are a must. Don’t be afraid to use the stems of parsley or cilantro
Keep a Ziploc bag or container of veggie scraps in your freezer and add to it whenever you cook. Scraps can contribute to a flavorful stock. Here are a few that work especially well:
- leek tops
- fennel fronds
- carrot tops and peelings
- herb stems
- mushroom stems
- scallion roots or tops
- onion ends
Remember flavor is key!
I love to use fresh herbs however should you be using dried herbs to cook your stock, using my estimated conversion chart for herbs will be helpful.
The proper ratio for this conversion is 3:1, or three times more fresh than dried. If your recipe calls for 1 tbsp of dried herb, plan to use 3 tbsp of the fresh herb. You use more fresh herbs because dried herbs have a stronger flavor, as their oils are more concentrated. Keep in mind that there are a few exceptions to the general conversion rule for replacing dried herbs with fresh ones. Basil, for instance, which has an exceptionally strong flavor, is usually best used in a 2:1 ratio. In other words, use twice as much fresh as you would use dried herbs.
Estimated conversion chart
Amount of fresh herbs – equivalent to dry herbs
Basil = 2 tsp finely chopped = 1 tsp dried basil
Bay leaves = 1 fresh bay leaf = 2 dried bay leaves
Chervil = 1 tbsp fresh chervil = 1 tbsp chervil
Chives = 1 tbsp finely chopped chives = 1 tsp freeze dried chives
Cilantro = 3 tsp fresh cilantro = 1 tsp dried cilantro
Dill = 3 tbsp fresh dill = 1 tsp dried dill
Garlic = 1 glove = 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Ginger root = 1 tsp grated ginger = 1/4 tsp dry ground ginger
Marjoram = 3 tsp marjoram = 1 tsp dried marjoram
Onion = 1 medium onion = 1 tsp onion powder
Oregano = 1 tbsp fresh oregano = 1 tsp dried oregano
Parsely = 2 tbsp copped parsley = 1 tsp dried parsley
Rosemary = 1 small – medium sprig = 1 tsp dried pasrley
Sage = 7 leaves (2 tsp minced) = 1 tsp dried sage
Tarragon = 3 tsp fresh tarragon = 1 tsp dried tarragon
Thyme = 1 small-medium sprig = 3/4 tsp ground thyme
Any stock can be made ahead. Let cool completely, then cover and chill, or as with all other stocks. Reducing stocks is convenient, just a small spoonful can add a lot of flavor to a sauce or soup. It’s easy to turn a reduction back into stock again simply by adding water. Reducing, in the culinary sense of the word, means to concentrate the flavor of a liquid by means of simmering or boiling. If you use salt in your stock, I don’t, be careful though, as the salt doesn’t leave with the stock. If you reduce too much, you may end up with an overwhelmingly salty concentrate.
If you have the space buy a freezer:
Stocks are convenient to have on hand and my favorite way of storing stocks is using my freezer. As with all stocks I sometimes reduce stock to a glace, pour it into an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Once they are frozen, shake them out from the tray and store them in freezer bags, and use them as needed.
A freezer will enable you to cook stocks in larger quantities, keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months and use them as needed. Purchase produce at the height of its season and freeze. Freezing does not significantly reduce the nutritional value of the produce. You may be surprised, research shows that certain frozen produce might have the edge over fresh when it comes to health.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 each onion peeled chopped
- 3 each celery stalks chopped
- 10 each mushroom button cut in quarters
- 1 each leek chopped
- 3 cup carrots chopped
- 1 each parsnip chopped
- 3 each garlic clove peeled
- 10 each parsley sprigs
- 10 each peppercorn black
- 4 each thyme fresh fresh
- 1 each rosemary sprig fresh
- 2 quarts water cold
Sweat the chopped vegetables
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Combine all ingredients in a stockpot, sweat vegetables over gentle heat to soften the vegetables, and gently draw out their flavors. Do not caramelize the vegetables, you want a white stock.1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 each onion peeled, 3 each celery stalks, 10 each mushroom button, 1 each leek, 3 cup carrots, 1 each parsnip, 3 each garlic clove, 10 each parsley sprigs
Add water and spices
- Bring to a quick boil, reduce heat, add spices and simmer for about 1.5 hours, skimming any foam that develops. As the stock simmers add water as needed., you want to maintain a water level of 2 quarts10 each peppercorn black, 4 each thyme fresh, 1 each rosemary sprig, 2 quarts water
- Strain through a fine-meshed strainer discard solids or cheesecloth
- Let cool completely, then cover and chill.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate