Thrifty Vegan: Customize Your Own Veggie Bouillon

Thrifty Vegan: Customize Your Own Veggie Bouillon

Bouillon adds a flavor boost to any dish and is compact because it’s concentrated making it easy to store. Make it yourself and customize it with your favorite herbs and veggies – you’ll never buy it in the store again!

Store bought veggie bouillon can be expensive and my favorite brand has almost tripled in price! Most are full of salt and some have ingredients that many people are trying to avoid. It’s so easy to make and you can vary it to fit with the veggies and herbs you have on hand.

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The best part is you make one batch and keep about a cup in the fridge to use that week, then freeze the rest in ice cube trays to use whenever the mood strikes you. In fall and winter that can be everyday for me.

My most recent batch contains onion, carrots and mushrooms as the base. I also added some fresh parsley, marjoram and rosemary as my herb blend. It’s not remotely pretty, but this is no beauty contest – flavor is all that counts here!

Thrifty Vegan: Customize Your Own Veggie Bouillon

Here are a few suggestions for your bouillon:

Use any combination of these cut in medium pieces to make the base:

  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 small celery root
  • 1 small turnip

Grab a large handful of any of the following herbs:

  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • loveage
  • cutting celery
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • lemon balm

Options to add after cooking:

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh herbs

For this recipe I do not cook my veggies in water or oil in the oven, but you can certainly drizzle some olive oil if that suits you. In fact you can top it with some salt and pepper too. Typically I leave them out of my bouillon since I’ll be adding it to the dish I’m cooking. Layer the chopped veggies on the bottom of a Dutch oven and cook covered on 350 for 1 hour or until the veggies are soft.

I usually make my bouillon in a 4 quart slow cooker – just cook on low while you are asleep or at work, about 8 to 9 hours. If you think you will be gone extra or your slow cooker cooks hot just add 1/2 cup water to be on the safe side.

Once the veggies are cooked, remove any tough herb stems like rosemary or thyme that will not puree. Add it all to your food processor or a strong blender. This is the time to add salt, pepper, fresh herbs or nutritional yeast. The nutritional yeast adds another layer of depth and is my favorite addition.

Store what you think you will use in a week in the fridge in a covered jar. Put the rest in ice-cube trays and freeze. Once the cubes are solid remove them from the trays and put in a freezer bag. Use twice as much as you would for store-bought bouillon. I use 2 to 3 ice cubes for a large pot of soup.

Thrifty Vegan: Customize Your Own Veggie Bouillon



  1. says

    This sounds delicious Kathy. I’ve been putting together so many sweet things this week, I really need a big bowl of hearty salty soup. I’ve always used a homemade dry mix for my base but this one sounds like a great alternative!

  2. Courtney G. says

    Forgive me as it’s been a very long weekend, but I’m a little confused: do you bake the veggies before putting them in the slow cooker? Or was that an either/or step?

    • Kathy Hester says

      No problem Courtney! It is an either or so you could cook it in the oven or use your slow cooker. In the winter I use the oven and in the summer I cook it in my slow cooker.

  3. Kathi says

    Could I do this in my electric pressure cooker too? I’d imagine that I could. Or is the cooking process what we’re looking for? I love making things in my PC. Split pea soup…don’t have to blend it…cooks it to mush already! lol

    • Kathy Hester says

      You probably could make it that way. I’m not well versed in pressure cookers so I haven’t tried it myself.

  4. Ali says

    This looks great, and I’m about to make your chickeny bouillon from the vegan slow cooker. I’m used to cooking with broth, though, so if a recipe calls for broth instead of bouillon, how much homemade bouillon + water would you use?

  5. Felicity says

    Hi Kathy,

    I love the premise of this but I too am confused by the instructions so it’d be great if you could clarify this for me – so if I choose the slowcooker method, do I cook all those veggies + herbs without any water in the slowcooker if doing it for the approx 8 hour period?


    • Kathy Hester says

      That’s correct if you are using a 4 quart slow cooker or smaller that doesn’t run hot. Otherwise go ahead and add 1/2 cup water. I’d add the water if you’re not sure if it runs hot or not the first time you make this.

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