A lot of healthcare providers I know who are also fans of bone broth spend a lot of time trying to convince their vegetarian patients to eat bone broth. While I do think bone broth is essential, I don’t think that’s particularly fair to vegetarians to try to get them to eat meat. So, if a patient is unwilling to try bone broth, it’s equally essential to meet them where they are instead of trying to coerce them. Here’s my version of a vegetarian “bone” broth.
The gelatin component of bone broth cannot be replicated for vegetarians (fish gelatin is healthful for the pescatarians out there; just use fish bones and heads).
The mineral component can be replicated, and thank goodness! All of those minerals will help strengthen bones and teeth, keep the body alkaline, and benefit digestion.
First thing to start doing is saving all of your organic vegetable peels. Save them in a baggie in the freezer until you’re ready to make broth. Anything vegetable you peel is fair game.
If you eat your peels, that’s OK too. For the sake of this soup, select a wide variety of vegetables – potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, beets, zucchini/squash – peel them, put the peels in the pot, and cut up the vegetables to put in the soup. You can also add celery, fennel and soft skinned vegetables that aren’t generally peeled. You should also liberally add herbs like parsley, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, whole chiles and any other you like. The goal here is to maximize the quantity of vegetable matter and the diversity of color of vegetables, with an emphasis on the green. Another key addition to vegetarian bone broth is nettles. These can be bagged in cheese cloth and removed if you don’t care for the texture. But don’t skip this part because nettles have an enormous amount of minerals to add to your broth.
But, first, back to the peels… actually, first we dice two onions, slice two shallots, and peel and halve the cloves of a head of garlic. In an 8 quart stock pot, sweat these ingredients in extra virgin olive oil or pastured ghee with celtic mineral sea salt (to taste; check again at the end for desired saltiness) until the onions are translucent. Fill 2/3 of the way with filtered water and add a large piece of kelp or other preferred seaweed (check with your doctor first if you have thyroid issues). Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
While the onions and friends are simmering, put all of your vegetable peels in an unbleached soup sock. Add the soup socked peels to the pot and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until they’re soft. Also add the herbs and spices at this point. If you don’t want any plant matter in your stock, you can put the herbs and spices into the soup sock, too.
You can stop there if you want, or you can proceed to making a hearty vegetable soup by adding in all your vegetables. Remember, color variety and quantity are what you’re going for. Cook the soup a bit longer, until the vegetables are your preferred level of done-ness.
Et viola! A mineral rich, vegetable extravaganza!
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