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June 14, 2010

How to make vegetable stock in the slow cooker

Roasted vegetable stock

I've never been a fan of vegetable stock, perhaps because I've never tasted one that really turns me on. This recipe is better than most of the others I've made, but I still prefer chicken stock or water for most of my soup bases. Roasting brings out natural sweetness in the vegetables, and mushroom powder increases the umami, or "meaty", flavor. Vegetable stock, almost fat-free, lacks the gelatinous richness of chicken or beef stock, but it's a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans.

How to make vegetable stock in the slow cooker

For the slow cooker or stove top, this recipe makes 4 cups; can be frozen.


8 stuffing mushrooms (or 3 large portobello caps), cut in half
3 stalks celery, cut in half cross-wise
3 medium carrots, ends trimmed, cut in half cross-wise
2 parsnips, peeled, cut in half cross-wise
3 large leeks, white part only, washed, cut in half cross-wise
1 large tomato, cut in quarters
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
4 tsp olive oil
A pinch each of kosher salt and fresh black pepper.

1/4 tsp dried thyme leaf
1 large bay leaf
1/2 tsp mushroom powder*
1/2 tsp tomato powder or 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place all of the vegetables on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss, and spread the vegetables evenly on the pan. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are browned.

Place roasted vegetables in 4-quart slow cooker, and add remaining ingredients. Cover with 5 cups of filtered or bottled water. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. (To make on the stove top, place ingredients in a small Dutch oven or heavy pot, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour.) Remove and discard the vegetables. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper as needed. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a storage container. Use immediately, or chill and freeze for future use.

*To make mushroom powder, place dried wild mushrooms (porcini, cepes, etc.) in a mini-food processor and pulse until powdery. You can make this ahead and store in an airtight container or in the freezer.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types | June 14, 2010 at 06:32 AM

What a great use of the slow cooker. I would make this just to have a large quantity of vegetable stock on hand. I'm going to keep my eye on the CSA vegetables, especially when the leeks are ready.

Posted by: pam | June 14, 2010 at 07:25 AM

I used to make vegetable stocks all the time, before we started composting. Now all my scraps go in the compost bin.

Posted by: Kalynskitchen | June 14, 2010 at 08:32 AM

I've never made vegetable stock even once, but I do think the slow cooker would be a good way to do it.

Posted by: Karina | June 14, 2010 at 09:32 AM

Brilliant use of the slow cooker! What rich, gorgeous color. Most vegetable stocks are too heavy on the onion for my taste. I like the use of leeks and mushrooms in this one. A much more mellow flavor, I imagine.

Posted by: Teresa | June 16, 2010 at 08:06 AM

I like the "idea" of vegetable stock, but I don't think I have ever made one. Must try that sometime soon.

Lydia, just had an idea: maybe you could call for photos of soup tureens at some point?

Posted by: Donna | August 5, 2010 at 11:12 AM

LOVE the slow cooker idea. I use mine even in the summer!

Posted by: Geekmom | November 23, 2011 at 01:17 AM

I'm about to try this in the turkey roaster before brining the turkey in two days. My crock-pot is only 2 quarts so that won't be close to enough, but I spent $30 on the roaster so I might as well put it to use for something else.

Posted by: John | September 22, 2012 at 09:02 PM

Thank you very much for this. It's kind of you to take the time to help so many people out. This is a great recipe.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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