RECIPE: Scrap Veggie Broth to Perfect Any Recipe

Maybe everyone knows to make their own veggie broth. I didn’t until a couple of years ago when I had a pile of veggie scraps and an aha moment. After a couple of quick searches, I decided to toss everything in the slow cooker and see what happened.

AMAZING happened. I ended up with a complex  unique broth that I was eager to cook with.

Since then I’ve saved almost all my veggie and fruit scraps in a bag in the freezer, and when it gets full it gets turned into what I lovingly call “trash soup”.


RECIPE: Scrap Veggie Broth in a slowcooker
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This simple veggie broth will use up all your fruit and vegetable scraps, and make your next meal that much better.
  • 1 Tsp. Salt (to Taste)
  • A Variety of Raw Vegetable Scraps*
  • You can use skins, scraps, and leftover: Zucchini, Greens, Spinach, Okra, Apples, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Artichoke, Peas, Green Beans, Onions, Cabbage, Broccoli, Leeks, Garlic, Peppers, Carrot, Mushroom Stems, Herbs…. almost anything.
  1. *Make sure to only use ingredients that you COULD eat fresh. Nothing dirty, slimy, moldy, etc. A little soft is fine. The key to the best broth is variety. Try not to use too much of anything with a strong flavor- but remember that this is a low pressure process. If it doesn't turn out, no big deal!
  2. Put all your scraps in a slow cooker and cover with water.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the mixture and mix it slightly with a spoon.
  4. Put crock pot on "low" and leave overnight– 10-20 hours– checking occasionally for taste and to stir gently.
  5. Ladle broth over a strainer to separate out vegetable scraps and broth.
  6. OPTIONAL: Simmer the broth on Med/High to condense the soup for freezing. Allow to cool completely before placing in a container or ziplock bag, and freeze until you're ready. (Make sure to label your container with tasting notes and a date.)


For my broth today, I had a wide variety of veggies. From highest to lowest volume I used: zucchini, brussel sprout greens, tomatoes, onion, okra, mushroom stems, lemon rind, apple, bell pepper, and basil stems.

Make sure your scraps are clean and in relatively small pieces, then dump them into a medium crock pot,

and cover them with water.

Add about a teaspoon of salt (to taste) to the water.

Cover the crock pot, set it on “low” and let it do its thing through the evening and overnight. (It’s good to taste the broth, and stir occasionally to make sure everything is going well. If it starts to get bitter you can either stop the process, or give it some more time to possible cook itself out.)

After about 10-20 hours your concoction will look more like this:

and will smell up your whole home in a delicious way. Use a ladle to spoon out the broth over a strainer…

to separate out the broth and veggie chunks. Throw those depleted veggie scraps in the compost and look at what you’ve made!

Beautiful, complex, broth– a perfect way to start almost any recipe.

Optional: If you want to save the broth for another day, you might find it useful to condense and freeze it. To do this, put your broth in a small pot and simmer on medium-high under a fan.

Excess water will be released as steam, and after a while you’ll have a thicker, darker condensed broth. (This process can take some time, so I usually plan to do dishes, cleaning, or other kitchen activities while I wait.) Take the pan off the heat.  As your broth is cooling, do a final tasting and label your container (or ziplock bag) with tasting notes and a date.

Then simply pour the cool broth into your container and freeze it for the perfect recipe. The more broths you make, the more you’ll notice differences in their flavor- making store bought broth seem ludicrous!

We love adding the broths to everything we cook. It will kick up anything from soup, to sauces, to quinoa, and make you smile. (Promise.)

What I’ve Learned

•I’ve said it before, but variety is really key here. I usually leave a small collection of scraps in my freezer bag for the next broth, rather than using too much of one flavor.
•You may be an onion and garlic maniac, but don’t make a broth out of just those. Other veggies are necessary to cut the bitterness of over-extracted onions. Trust me.
•Good advice from a friend- “If the broth doesn’t taste good, throw it away. Don’t let it ruin a meal.” If your broth turns out weird or bitter, it’s not the end of the world. Try again next time!
•Try out a parmesan rind sometime, but otherwise avoid oils.
•Mellow fruits (like apples) make for a carmelly broth that would be lovely in a lot of dishes. Bolder fruits (cherries, berries, citrus) are best used in very small quantities.
•Some vegetables are stronger than others- broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage can take over a broth completely. I don’t mind, but maybe you do?

RECIPE: 9 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Every year we hold a “transplant Thanksgiving” for friends who are far from their families, and encourage them to bring the dishes they miss the most from home– or to try something new. We usually end up with a beautiful selection of vegetarian comfort foods, and the house smells amazing.

Here are a few recipes that will make you completely forget about turkey.

1. Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Start off your thanksgiving feast with a glass of your favorite wine and these delicious Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. Recipe from Homemade Levity.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

2. Apple and Pomegranate Quinoa and Kale Salad with Feta in a Curried Maple Dijon Dressing

Fall salads don’t have to be smothered with mayo and loaded with bacon to be tasty. This crisp autumn salad is both festive in color and delicious. Recipe from Closet Cooking.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

3. Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini

Try serving something new this Thanksgiving like this Spiced Carrot Soup. Recipe from

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

4. Wild Mushroom Gravy

Any vegetarian knows that mashed potatoes are the star of thanksgiving. This Wild Mushroom Gravy will have you serving up a second helping! Recipe from Oh My Veggies.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

5. Kale and Wild Rice Casserole

Skip the green beans and try this casserole made with kale and wild rice. Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

6. Roasted Onions Stuffed With Curried Black Quinoa

These roasted, stuffed onions will fill your plate and your belly! Recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

7. Pumpkin Risotto

There are more reasons to eat pumpkin than just pie. Recipe from Eat Good 4 Life.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

8. Chocolate Bourbon Caramel Truffles

Before you reach for that second slice of pie, try one of these boozy truffles. Recipe from Spabettie.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

9. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut Pecan Crust

Make your thanksgiving even more inclusionary with this delicious recipe for gluten-free pumpkin pie. Recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Yesterday was our first day of winter weather here in Portland. We are in the process of moving at the moment, so today I decided to make a batch of my favorite soup to enjoy after a long, cold day of packing and moving boxes. I discovered this recipe years ago and have made it over and over again ever since. It’s my favorite soup to have on a cold winter night (like tonight) with a fresh loaf of crusty bread. The flavors alone will warm you to the bone.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
To make this soup, first chop up a sweet potato, onion, three celery sticks and two cloves of garlic. Then heat the olive oil in a large pot and throw everything in. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Next stir in the spices: Two teaspoons of paprika, and a teaspoon of each of turmeric, basil and salt. Then add in a generous pinch of cinnamon and cayenne pepper plus one bay leaf.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Add in three cups of chicken stock (or veggie stock) and a tablespoon of tamari (or soy sauce). Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Add a can of garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes plus one chopped green bell pepper. Let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Tip: This is a great ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ soup so feel free to add in more veggies. I often like to add in fresh spinach or kale.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable


Gypsy Soup
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 10 servings
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic and sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add in the spices and stir to blend.
  2. Add in the chicken stock and the tamari. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Then add in the bell pepper, garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable

What’s your favorite soup to make on a cold winter day?

RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza

RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden
Homemade pizza is often a weekly staple at my house. I found a dough recipe I love and can often find many combinations of toppings just by emptying our refrigerator. Every summer, I look forward to harvesting my garden vegetables for my favorite summer veggie pizza. Even though summer is usually the time of year that we wean ourselves from homemade pizza since it’s way to hot to turn on the oven, I eventually can’t resist baring the heat for a homegrown, homemade pizza.

The trick to my homemade pizza (aside from the garden harvest toppings) is the sauce. I use a combination of tomato paste, sriracha, and pesto. The combination is so dang delicious!

RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #gardenNow, for the dough recipe, which I originally found in the book, The Bread Bible. I’ve used this recipe so many times I’ve got it memorized. It’s simple and delicious!

Basic Pizza Dough
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Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 6
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup semolina flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus some extra)
  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Stir until combined. Set aside.
  2. Using a food processor and the blade attachment, combine semolina flour, bread flour, garlic powder and basil.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon flour and 1 teaspoon sugar to the yeast mixture. Stir until dissolved. Then add in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Process until combined. Then switch to the paddle attachment and process a minute or two more.
  5. Rinse the same bowl from the yeast mixture and pour some olive oil in to coat the bowl. Use a spatula to move the dough from the food processor into the bowl. Cover with a towel and leave on countertop to rise (about 1½- 2 hours).

Once you’re dough has risen, now comes the fun part! First preheat your oven to 500 degrees (F). Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, pick up the dough, stretch is slightly (you don’t need to do too much), then place it onto the parchment. Use your hands to press/stretch the dough out, covering the parchment.

RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden
RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden

Next use a spatula to spread a thin layer of tomato paste over the entire dough. Sprinkle on the sriracha and spread another layer of pesto on top. Then it’s time for the mozzeralla.

RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden
RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden

Slice up your garden veggies and top your pizza. I used zucchini, tomato, basil and onion from my garden. If using zucchini, I recommend slicing them thin, placing them on a paper towel lined plate, and popping them in the microwave for a few minutes. This way they cook slightly and release a little bit of their liquid before going on the pizza.
RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Then let cool, slice and enjoy!
RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden
RECIPE: Summer Veggie Pizza #homemade #garden