Best Chicken Stock Substitutes for Vegetarians

Chicken stock is used in numerous recipes – so much so that if you are vegetarian or vegan it’s imperative to find a good substitute.

So what vegetarian chicken stock substitutes are available?

With the right aromatics, vegetable stock, mushroom stock, or kombu stock can all make for great vegetarian or vegan alternatives for chicken stock!

You can mix these alternatives together, or just use one to try and mimic the taste of chicken broth. With any of these, heavy use of aromatics (garlic, onion, etc.) and herbs is suggested – these give your broth an extra kick, in a good way.

The Best Vegetarian Chicken Stock Alternatives

Vegetable Stock

Perhaps the most obvious alternative on this list, vegetable stock can be found in most supermarkets. It’s also very easy to make your own if you have the time.

If you’re making your own vegetable stock, carrots, onions, and celery are the ideal vegetables to work with. You can also use root vegetables, such as parsnips. Try not to use potatoes, as they may make your stock slightly starchier.

Top Tips:

Parmesan cheese rinds are a great addition to vegetable stock, giving it a rich, slightly tangy taste. Roasting your vegetables before simmering can also give your stock a delicious, slightly smoky flavor.

What to Avoid:

You should also avoid using beets in your vegetable stock, as they overpower the stock. Green beans and zucchini become bitter when simmered for a long time, so they should also be avoided when making vegetable stock.

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Mushroom Stock

You’re probably thinking “but wait, aren’t mushrooms vegetables?” Well, first off, mushrooms are fungi, but they are commonly grouped in with other vegetables. Second, mushroom stock deserves a category devoted entirely to itself – it’s that good.

Best suited as a dark meat replacement (think chicken thighs), mushrooms make for a beautifully aromatic and rich vegetarian chicken broth alternative.

While mushroom broth is readily available at most grocery stores, you can easily make your own. Mixing the types of mushrooms used will give you a stock with more dimension, too.

You can use any combination of the following mushrooms to make a great mushroom stock:

  • Button
  • Oyster
  • Shiitake
  • Chanterelle
  • Boletus

Make sure you carmelize the mushrooms before cooking them to make your stock! This gives them an even richer flavor.

Kombu Stock

Kombu is a type of Japanese kelp that has been dried. During the process of simmering kombu in water, you end up with a mild, flavorful stock.

You can find kombu at an Asian grocery store, or online. It usually comes in a pack of many flat, dried squares.

Bonito flakes – a dried fish – are a great addition to kombu stock. If you’re looking for a vegan add-in, consider green onion or ginger. Both ingredients will add to your kombu flavor without overpowering it.

Other Alternatives

Want to get creative in the kitchen? You can make an entirely vegan chicken stock alternative using common household spices.

You can find the best vegan chicken stock alternative here.

You’ll need a food processor or blender, in addition to the following:

  • Mustard Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Dried Parsley
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Celery Seed
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Paprika
  • Sugar
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Don’t worry if it seems like that’s an endless amount of spices! All of these mixed together will give your stock a rich flavor – similar to what you would get out of a chicken stock.

A Note About Gelatin

One of the things that makes chicken stock so good is collagen. Chicken stock is made by slowly simmering chicken bones in water for a long period of time. During this process, the collagen is released from the bones, making the stock a little thicker than normal water.

Vegetarian gelatin is a great addition when making a vegetarian chicken stock alternative. This works as a thickening agent in your stock. You can find vegetarian gelatin options at the grocery store, or your local health food store.

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