dairy free, gluten free, 2 vegan options, 1 fat free option
Winter is coming taking cold with it, and as we get home we often have the craving for something hot to eat or drink. When we don’t have much time it’s easy to pick a bouillon cube for a nice soup, especially when we have a flu or for seasoning your meals…. But what’s inside?
Commercial bouillon cubes have too many unhealthy ingredients like sugar, modified palm oil (potentially dangerous for your cardiovascular system and for your pancreas), monosodium glutamate (that may cause minor health problems) and often there is also disodium inosinate that should be avoided by asthmatics and people with gout.
Commercial organic stock cubes still contain sugar or syroup and almost always non-hydrogenated palm oil (rich in saturated fat). This is why I suggest you two recipes where fat consists of the much healthier olive oil (it has less saturated fat and is richer in monounsaturated fat, Omega 3 and vitamine K) and one cold fat-free option.
Cooking your own bouillon cube for soups and for seasoning meals does take some time (1.5 hour except for the cold recipe) but is very easy and your cubes will last up to 6 months in your freezer. Moreover you can avoid ingredient(s) that you might be allergic to, like celery.
With your home made bouillon cube your soup will not only be healthier but also taste better and be lighter.
Note: all three recipes are gluten free and two of them are vegan.
Makes 22-24 cubes, 1 cube for 1 litre of water, vegan
1 clove of garlic
1-2 sprig of parsley
5-8 leafs of basil
1 sprig of rosemary
2-3 leafs of sage
2-3 sprigs or thyme
200 rock salt
1 spoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 piece of turmeric (about 1cm3)
I recommend you to use all organic ingredients or from your garden, if you can’t at least do so for celery and tomato because they’re among the top 10 vegetables loaded with pesticides: they’re in the notorious dirty dozen list set out by the by Environmental Working Group. If tomato is not in season you can use 1 peeled tomato.
If you can’t have a lot of salt you can reduce quantity (up to 120 g is fine) or replace the half of it with the same amount of miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning derived from the fermentation of soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) .
- Heat a pan (a wok will be just fine) on a medium flame then put the oil in. While it warms up wash all the vegetables, then chop zucchini, carot, onion, garlic and turmeric and toss them in the pan. Dice the tomato, peel the celery and dice it, tear aromatic herbs in little pieces and add them. Stir every 5-8 minutes.
- When the veggies are dry (after about 30 min) put them in the blender. My advice is to blend it best you can to avoid the formation of coarse particles that will eventually deposite at the bottom of your bowl when you’ll have your soup.
- Pour the mix back in the pan and add rock salt. Stirr every now and then until it gets dry, that is when it peels off the edges (after 40-50 min).
- Put the bouillon mixture in the ice cube tray and remember that bouillon ken be kept for 6 months in the freezer (write the date of expiry for a safe use).
- 1 cube is about 13 kcal
- Because of the high quantity of salt the cubes barely solidifies, thus you can also put the bouillon in a container and withdrow the quantity you need with a spoon
- 1 spoon = 1 cube, adjust from there based on your personal preference
BOUILLON CUBE – MEAT VERSION
Follow the same recipe, you just need to add 250 g of organic minced meat (beef or chicken) at the beginning. After 5 minutes you can pour 1 dl of white or red wine and leave to evaporate.
Remember to add 20 g extra of salt.
- This recipe makes about 28 cubes (around 20 Kcal each)
COLD FAT-FREE VEGAN CUBE VERSION
You need all the ingredients of the regular recipe except for the oil, the only other difference is that you should use normal salt because at cold temperatures it mixes better than rock salt.
- Chop all the vegetables, put them in a clean cotton cloth and wring out 3-4 times.
- Blend the veggies and wring them in another cloth 3-4 times till the mix will be dry.
- Put the bouillon mixture in a bowl, add salt and mix with a spoon until you have an homogeneous mince.
- Since you’re using cold veggies you should pay more attention to hygiene: even if the large amount of salt prevents the bouillon to go to waste you better sterilize the cube tray or the container (boiling them with their lids for about 5 minutes) and the expiry date will be shorter (2 months).
- This version makes about 16 cubes (11 kcal each)
All photographed foods have been eaten, no use of chemichals to enhance effects.