Bone broth has been attracting quite a lot of attention as a nourishing ‘soul food’ that makes the most of every morsel.
The original meaty version, made by boiling bones, has long been described as a digestible, soothing brew, with its many fans loving the fact it’s reportedly rich in magnesium, calcium, sodium and much more goodness.1
While bone broth has surged in popularity, it actually happens to have been about (and used) for a very long time.
It can be traced back to prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers turned otherwise inedible animal parts, such as bones, hooves and knuckles into a broth they could drink.
Bone both can be made using bones from just about any animal — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken or fish.
It’s also possible to pretty much use entire carcasses to make it too. This includes connective tissues, such as feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards and fins.
What is bone broth used for?
Bone broth, which is a clear liquid that doesn’t look too dissimilar to stock, can be used to cook with, making a delicious base for soups, stews and risottos, just like stock.
But there’s a big difference between stock and bone broth – stock can be whipped up in a matter of minutes while bone broth takes much longer to make.2
That’s the cooking aspect of bone broth. As we mentioned at the start, people drink it to boost their health.
The benefits of drinking bone broth range from helping digestion and gut health and supporting immune function, to supporting joint health. It’s also said to be a good source of beneficial amino acids too.
A quick breakdown of bone broth goodness
- The bones are packed full of – lots of different vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals (all found in animal bones). Meanwhile, iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function and metabolism, can be found in fish bones.3
- The connective tissues contain – that are a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help support joint health.
- The bone marrow provides - Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- All of the animal parts contain – the protein, collagen, which turns into gelatine when cooked and also contains several important amino acids.
Is vegetable broth vegan-friendly?
Absolutely. And the best way to guarantee it’s vegan-friendly, is to make a batch of it yourself, which is straightforward to do (not to mention, incredibly rewarding!)
As obvious as this may sound, vegetable broth can pass the vegan test if it doesn’t include any animal-derived ingredients.
So that means using onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips (optional), celery, salt and seaweed and miso paste (both optional), all of which tick the vegan box.4
Is there a vegan version of bone broth?
Yes, it’s perfectly possible to create a vegan-friendly version of bone broth by replacing the animal ingredients with plant-based alternatives.
The even better news is, there’s not just one vegan bone broth recipe out there, there are quite a few to try, including the three we’ve listed below.
Vegan broth ingredients alternatives
You can easily make a vegan bone broth by using ingredients, such as Shiitake mushrooms, seaweed, turmeric, ginger root, onion, garlic, carrot peel and fennel.5
For more vegan broth ingredients inspiration, check out the recipes a bit further down.
Vegan broth nutritional benefits
Using vegetables instead of bones makes a gentle broth, and selecting ingredients with high mineral contents can mimic the benefits of the traditional bone both.
Being water-based, a broth is great for your hydration levels and is low in calories. Because you’re also drinking the water the veggies were boiled in, you’re not throwing away any soluble nutrients.
All in all, vegan bone broth is as comforting as a cup of tea, but far more nourishing.
Can you buy vegan broth?
If you don’t fancy making your own vegan broth, that’s fine because there are vegan broth products on the market for you to buy.
There are a few different brands to choose from too, so hopefully you’ll find it relatively easy to find something that ticks your vegan broth box.
Bone versus vegan broth
Bone broth or vegan broth, which one should you choose? Well, if you’re vegan, then you’ll obviously automatically sway towards the second option. But if you’re not, how do you decide between the two?
The majority of the nutrients that are found in bone broth can also be found in vegan broths too.
The only thing is, there isn’t a vegetarian or vegan replacement for collagen.
However, plants do offer richer sources of collagen building blocks, as well as nutrients that aren’t found in particularly large amounts in meat or broth.
Both options offer nutritional value, it’s just a question of whether you prefer animal-based or plant-based ingredients.6
Best vegan broth recipes
Below are 3 recipes with vegan broth that you can whip up in no time!
Basic veggie broth
Best for: Using your leftovers!
Difficulty – Easy
- Freeze your vegetable scraps (such as stalks from herbs and mushrooms, carrot peel and off-cuts) in a resealable bag.
- When it’s full, place the scraps in a slow cooker or a large pan, cover with twice the quantity of water, boil then turn the heat to low for a couple of hours.
- When the veggies are soft, strain them out and reserve the liquid. Keep it refrigerated and heat a cup whenever you need a comforting brew.
Miso ‘bone’ broth
Best for: Getting your minerals. (Just one cup of miso contains a whole host of bone-building minerals, including calcium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.)7
Difficulty – Medium (only because you may not have seaweed or wakame in your cupboards and may need to source these ingredients!)
This version adds a Japanese spin with miso and wakame. Both are rich in minerals, with miso particularly high in potassium while seaweed is one of the best food sources of iodine.
Follow the basic recipe above, but add wakame to your vegetables and stir in a couple of tablespoons of miso paste towards the end of cooking.
Vegan bean broth
Best for: Protein. (Beans are high in amino acids AKA the building blocks of protein. They contain around 20 amino acids, nine of which are essential.)8
Difficulty – Medium
For a more filling version, which brings some protein to a vegan diet, make a version which is half soup, half broth.
This involves puréeing some vegetables to give your broth a thicker texture. Adding beans gives it a valuable protein hit, as well as plenty of carbs.
- Follow the basic recipe but, after straining, add some diced fresh vegetables (sweet potato or carrot works well).
- Simmer until soft, then purée with a stick blender. You should still have a watery liquid, just with a bit more colour to it.
- Add some tinned, rinsed blackeye beans, plus some chopped greens and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes to cook the greens.
Have you enjoyed reading this article? Check out this article for more vegan food insight, ‘The lowdown on vegan spreads.
Last updated: 8 June 2021