Soup's On! How to Make Vegetable Stock
Add a lean source of protein to the soup and you’ve got yourself a low calorie meal. It’s a great way to cut down on calories in a healthy way.
When you start with a basic vegetable stock, you can add in any number of vegetables, beans, legumes and spices to create spectacular soups. The only limit is your imagination.
Who says healthy eating has to taste bad?
If you don’t have the time, store-bought vegetable stock will do in a pinch. But I recommend making a homemade vegetable broth. The taste is so much better than a canned broth — and you can control the sodium. And when you make healthy meals taste good, you’ll be more likely to eat them. I make soup on Sunday afternoons, so that I have soup handy throughout the week.
Here’s my favorite homemade vegetable stock recipe:
I got this recipe from “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”. My mom worked full-time and raised four kids on her own, so she could only show my how to cook a few basic recipes. We ate a lot of canned soup. So much so that I kind of pitied the poor kids who had to eat homemeade soups. Didn’t realize what I missing out on!
Martha Stewart’s book showed me some of the basic techniques I was missing. I highly recommend this book if you’re a beginner or intermediate cook.
Vegetable Stock (Makes about 2 quarts)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (peeled; 1/2 chopped coarsely; leave the other half whole)
2 large celery stalks (cut into 1/2″ pieces)
2 medium carrots (peeled; cut into 1/2″ pieces)
2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
8 sprigs flat-lease parsley (I’m not a fan of parsley, so I skip this ingredient)
8 sprigs basil
4 sprigs thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
Coarse salt and ground pepper (to taste)
Note: if you don’t have fresh basil and thyme, used dried to taste.
Cook Time: 1hr 20 minutes
Step 1 – Brown the Vegetables
The first step takes a little while but is really worth it. This will give the stock a rich flavor.
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat until hot. Add the chopped onion, and cook until the onion starts to brown (about 10 to 15 minutes). Add the celery, carrots and garlic to the onion until the veggies begin to soften and are lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Be sure to stir occasionally.
The browning is really key. Don’t get impatient with this step.
Step 2 – Make the Stock
Pour 8 to 10 cups of water into the pot; add in the herbs, spices and the onion half. Season to taste with the coarse salt and ground pepper. Stir as needed.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to gently simmer for about an hour. Leave the pot uncovered.
Step 3 – Strain the Stock
Take a fine sieve or use a colander/strainer lined with cheesecloth to strain the stock into another pot (or a large bowl). Press on the vegetables to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
You now have a low cal vegetable stock you can use to make great tasting soups. You can add vegetables and cooked chicken to the stock and let that simmer until the vegetables are soft for a wonderfully simple but healthy and filling chicken soup. Or you can add a small can of diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes and red kidney beans to make a simple minestrone-style soup.
1 cup of vegetable stock has approximate 10 calories. You can analyze the calorie count in the soups you make by using the FitWatch Recipe Analyzer or by creating a custom by “by recipe” in the FitWatch Calorie Tracker.