Vegan bone broth doesn’t mean any broth made of “vegan bone” because there are no vegan bones in the world. This name indicates a vegan broth that imitates the natural umami flavor of bone broth, using various types of vegetables. Once you have a pot of vegan bone broth, it can serve as the base for many vegan noodles and soups.

What is Umami flavor?

We often hear about the basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and salty. However, there are more than just those; umami is often described as the sixth basic taste. It’s a savory and rich taste commonly found in foods such as meat, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, soy sauce, and aged or fermented products.

The natural umami flavor primarily comes from the presence of glutamate, an amino acid, and nucleotides like inosinate and guanylate. These compounds are naturally present in many foods, and when they interact with taste receptors on the tongue, they create the sensation of umami.

In Asian cuisine, especially Chinese cuisine, umami flavor is highly enjoyed, leading to the widespread use of MSG, or monosodium glutamate, a food additive in cooking. It is the sodium salt of glutamic acid and is synthetically produced to resemble the glutamate found naturally in foods. However, some people claim to experience adverse reactions such as headaches or nausea after consuming foods containing MSG.

I’m also one of those who experience these symptoms every time I eat a dish containing MSG. Hence, I always try to avoid it by achieving natural umami flavor from fermented products like soy sauce, fish sauce, or foods like bones, cheese, and vegetables. Especially with noodles and soups, I often pre-make pork bone broth, or vegan bone broth if I would like to cook vegan meals.

Ingredients for Vegan Bone Broth

As I introduced above, no bone is “vegan”, but there is the name vegan bone broth because we’ll use vegetables to acquire the natural umami flavor like in bone broth. This vegan broth is then used in vegan recipes such as bun rieu chay (Vietnamese vegan crab noodle soup), hu tieu chay (Vietnamese vegan hu tieu), vegan pho, vegan porridge, ramen, soup, etc.

The ingredients for vegan bone broth includes various types of vegetables, and the list is flexible: you can remove and add some vegetables available in your region. Here in my recipe, I use the most basic vegetables, which are quite easy to find everywhere in the worlds:

  • 1/2 pineapple (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 chayote (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 baro onion
  • 1-2 carrots (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 small daikon (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 white/yellow onion
  • 3L (3.2 quarts) water
  • 1 tsp of salt

In this ingredient list, chayote and daikon seem not to be as popular as other vegetables, especially in Western countries. You can find it in some large supermarkets, Asian supermarkets, or grocery stores. If possible, it would be great to add luffa and shiitake mushroom to the list.

vegan bone broth
Left to right: white onion, baro onion, chayote, carrot, daikon, pineapple

How to make Vegan Bone Broth

Making this broth is not difficult, but it requires a long simmering time. While simmering, you also need to keep an eye on the pot at least once per hour to ensure safety.

Step 1. Preparing vegetables

  • Peel the skin off the white onion, carrots, chayote, and daikon, then cut them into pieces. For the pineapple, peel the skin and slice it into pieces; you can skip removing the pineapple eyes, as it’s not necessary. Gently wash the baro onion and cut it into 4-5 inch pieces.

Step 2. Simmering the broth

  • Add all the vegetables and salt to a large pot/pressure cooker or Instant Pot, then pour in enough water to cover them completely. If using a regular pot, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 4-5 hours. Remember to skim the foam floating on the surface every 30 minutes to keep the broth clean.
vegan bone broth
  • If using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, close the lid and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Afterward, release the valve, open the lid, and skim the foam. You should end up with about 2L (2.11 quarts) of broth.

Step 3. Filtering the broth

  • Because vegetables become very soft after simmering for a long time, it’s better to use a piece of cheesecloth to filter the broth, ensuring it’s as clean as possible. Prepare a large container, ideally a large bowl or cup, and place the cheesecloth on top. Gently remove the vegetables from the pot and pour them onto the cheesecloth, allowing the broth to drain out.
vegan bone broth
  • Next, to extract all the broth from inside the vegetables, smash and squeeze the cooked vegetables until they are dry.
vegan bone broth

Storing Vegan Broth

If you plan to use your vegan broth immediately, simply let it boil, add seasonings and other ingredients to make it your favorite dish.

To store it longer, you must keep it in the fridge. It remains in good condition for 1-2 days in the fridge, but for longer shelf life, you must transfer it to the freezer, where it can be stored for a maximum of 3 months. For convenience, you can divide your broth into smaller portions before freezing. When you would like to use it, just take out enough portions for your vegan recipe.

vegan bone broth

Vegan Bone Broth Recipe

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours

This name indicates a vegan broth that imitates the natural umami flavor of bone broth, using various types of vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pineapple (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 chayote (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 baro onion
  • 1-2 carrots (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 small daikon (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 white/yellow onion
  • 3L (3.2 quarts) water
  • 1 tsp of salt

Instructions

Step 1. Preparing vegetables

  • Peel the skin off the white onion, carrots, chayote, and daikon, then cut them into pieces. For the pineapple, peel the skin and slice it into pieces; you can skip removing the pineapple eyes, as it's not necessary. Gently wash the baro onion and cut it into 4-5 inch pieces.vegan bone brothLeft to right: white onion, baro onion, chayote, carrot, daikon, pineapple

Step 2. Simmering the broth

  • Add all the vegetables and salt to a large pot/pressure cooker or Instant Pot, then pour in enough water to cover them completely. If using a regular pot, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 4-5 hours. Remember to skim the foam floating on the surface every 30 minutes to keep the broth clean.vegan bone broth
  • If using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, close the lid and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Afterward, release the valve, open the lid, and skim the foam. You should end up with about 2L (2.11 quarts) of broth.

Step 3. Filtering the broth

  • Because vegetables become very soft after simmering for a long time, it's better to use a piece of cheesecloth to filter the broth, ensuring it's as clean as possible. Prepare a large container, ideally a large bowl or cup, and place the cheesecloth on top. Gently remove the vegetables from the pot and pour them onto the cheesecloth, allowing the broth to drain out.vegan bone broth
  • Next, to extract all the broth from inside the vegetables, smash and squeeze the cooked vegetables until they are dry.vegan bone broth
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 500ml
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180

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