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Sunday Food: Soup – Vegetable Broth Base

Vegetable broth base

Vegetable Broth Base

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated February 2015 issue. It makes about 1-3/4 cups base, enough for 7 quarts of broth.

For the best balance of flavors, measure the prepped vegetables by weight. Kosher salt aids in grinding the vegetables. The broth base contains enough salt to keep it from freezing solid, making it easy to remove 1 tablespoon at a time, but contains just 399 mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, much less than most commercial broths. To make 1 cup of broth, stir 1 tablespoon of fresh or frozen broth base into 1 cup of boiling water. If particle-free broth is desired, let the broth steep for 5 minutes and then strain it through a fine-mesh strainer.


  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped and washed thoroughly (2-1/2 cups or 5 oz.)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2/3 cup or 3 oz.)
  • 1/2 small celery root (not celery), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (3/4 cup or 3 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 oz.) parsley leaves and thin stems
  • 3 tablespoons freeze-dried minced onions (not fresh onion)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste (not fresh tomato)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Process leeks, carrots, celery root, parsley, minced onions, and salt in a food processor, scraping down sides of bowl frequently, until paste is as fine as possible, 3 – 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and process for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl every 20 seconds. Add soy sauce and continue to process 1 minute longer. Transfer mixture to airtight container, and tap firmly on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Press a small piece of parchment paper flush against the surface of the mixture and cover. Freeze for up to 6 months; reconstitute as needed.

Note: See recipes for Chicken Broth and Chicken Noodle Soup and rich beef broth and beef vegetable soup from previous Food Sunday posts.

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I retired from the University of Notre Dame in the Office of Information Technology in 2010. I'm divorced, with two grown children and 8 grandchildren. I'm a lifelong liberal and a "nonbeliever."