Simple Preparations

No-Chicken Broth

Being plant-based means that even if the broth has flesh meat in it, I cannot eat food that’s made from it. Ingredients matter. As a child, my parents taught us all to read the ingredients (or ask for them) before we ate anything. We knew to stay clear of foods like jello (because of the gelatin, which is derived from pig, beef, or fish bones), and we knew that we could not eat anything with chicken or beef broth in it.

As I started to expand my horizons, I noticed that many recipes called for chicken broth. Why-oh-why?!!! I was in college when I saw my first carton of NO-chicken broth. I read the ingredients and they were ALL PLANT-BASED!! So, I bought a carton. I have since been using it for years! I consider it a staple.

Now, some of you may know the brand. I usually bought the no-chicken broth from health food stores under the brand name Imagine Foods. However, over the years, it has become more and more expensive. When I first started buying this brand, one 32 ounce carton would cost $1.99. Then I noticed it increased to $2.99. Then it increased further to $3.99, which was the point at which I started to look at making my own. Yeah, what took me so long!?! When I did a taste test with this broth and Imagine Foods’ brand, I actually preferred mine; so… And, I cannot tell a difference in the recipes I make with this broth, except for color, as mine is darker.

Now, I actually prefer this broth over veggie broth, but both broths are plant-based. I love making it because I control what goes into it. When searching online for a no-chicken broth, I only found one; so I adapted this recipe from Oh My Veggies’ Vegetarian Chicken Stock. I made a few changes to that recipe below; so I decided to share it with you. I don’t use black peppercorns (I substitute dried papaya seeds instead and I use more of them) because it is a stimulating spice and I upped the amount of bay leaves by two. I also reduced the amount of turmeric in the recipe by half. Lastly, I added a definite amount of salt (3 Tablespoons) as I love a salty broth.

The hardest part about this broth is cleaning and cutting up the veggies, but you don’t have to be perfect with cutting them up. You bring the stockpot to a boil, then turn it down to medium low. Let it simmer for about 2 hours. I usually add my salt, turmeric, and smoked paprika about 30 minutes before it is done.

I don’t let mine cool, but you can. I prepare mason jars (usually a 2-quart, 1-quart, and a pint) as if I were canning. Then while the liquid is still hot (be careful not to burn yourself!), I strain it and pour it into the jars. I cap it with a mason lid and close it tight to seal. Turn it upside down on a towel and let it seal. I check to see if it is sealed when it cools. I leave it on my counter for a few days to make sure it’s okay. This works well for me as I don’t have to refrigerate what I’m not using. You can also freeze this broth too. This makes about 112 ounces. In truth, I would make it make 120 ounces (a gallon) if my stockpot could hold enough water. So, if your pot can hold it, increase your water to 18 cups instead of the 16 cups I use in the recipe below. You may end up with about a gallon in the end.

Important note: There are broths that say low sodium. You control the amount of sodium you put into this broth. I like my broths salty. Therefore, I use a copious amount of salt. If you rather your broth more bland, then by all means, drastically reduce the salt.

Now, without further ado…

No-Chicken Broth


  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 large carrots, trimmed and cut into large pieces (more if smaller carrots)
  • 4 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 2 leeks, white and pale, halved and rinsed well
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 8 sprigs parsley
  • 3 medium bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried papaya seeds
  • 18 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (even use 1/8 teaspoon is sufficient)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons pink Himalayan salt (or to taste)


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large stockpot and then pour the water, bringing the contents to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow it to simmer for an hour and a half, then stir in the turmeric, paprika, and salt. Then, let simmer for an additional half hour.
  2. You may either let broth cool and jar to freeze or while it is still hot, drain broth through the strainer, mashing the vegetables to release as much liquid as possible, and pour into mason jars, using the same process as canning (make sure your jars are sanitized with the lids and rings; turn each jar upside down on towel to cool).
  3. NOTE: If you care about the color being a bit lighter, strain through a doubled cheese cloth to remove the excess spices. For a yellower broth, cut back on the smoked paprika.
  4. Discard the depleted drained veggies.
  5. Use broth in any recipe as a substitute for chicken broth.
How the no-chicken broth looks at the end of the process.

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