I love to make soups and stews. Whether on the stove-top or in my slow cooker (my favorite way to cook lately) stirring up a quick pot of vegetables and beans is one of the best ways I know to feed my family good, nutrient rich food on a budget.
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I used to be a full-fledged vegetarian, and though I eventually returned to eating poultry and fish, I completely gave up red meat and pork well over twenty years ago. My whole family eats an almost meat-free diet, which means I use mostly vegetarian recipes, or recipes that have been adjusted to use primarily vegetarian ingredients. So most of my soup and stew recipes call for vegetable broth or stock as a base. And my favorite broth is Gayelord Hauser's Instant Vegetable Broth. I began using it many years ago, and while I do sometimes use other products (particularly if I want a vegetarian broth/bouillon that mimics chicken flavor) Hauser's is typically my broth of choice.
You might be familiar with Hauser's Spike seasonings, which I can sometimes find in mainstream grocery stores. I think its the best known of their product line. I typically can only find the Instant Vegetable Broth at my local health food store, so availability (if you decide you like it and want to use it regularly) might be a challenge. It can be ordered online direct from Modern Products, Inc., the company that manufacturers Hauser's products.
The Vegetable Broth comes in a small green box made from recycled paper. The 4 ounces of dry mix are packaged in a plastic bag inside the box. It's not resealable, so you'll want to tape, clip or otherwise repackage it (a ziplock baggie works) once it's open.
The box isn't the only thing that's green. The mix itself is greenish-brown. In fact, it resembles dirt (although the very fine texture is more like sand) but don't let the look put you off. There's a reason for all that natural color, because this broth mix is chock full of natural goodies. While it likely gets its texture from nutritional yeast and soy flour, the top two ingredients listed, it's got eighteen other fresh dried vegetables, minerals and herbs packed in there, including parsley, celery, onion, beet root, dill seed, spinach, alfalfa, carrot, basil, garlic, and even a bit of cayenne pepper. It's not at all spicy though; in fact, there are directions on the box for spicing it up a bit if you find it too bland. It only contains 166 mg of sodium per serving (1 teaspoon).
That's not a problem when you're using this broth as a base for soup and stews, which is how I primarily use it. But when I decided to write this review, I discovered, much to my surprise, that that use isn't even mentioned on the box or package directions. They're primarily selling this as a broth you can drink on its own, something I've never done. I can imagine it would indeed be a very healthy alternative to coffee or tea (as they tout) and it's certainly easy to make. Just dissolve a heaping teaspoon full in a cup of hot water, give it a stir, and you've got broth. Add spices or seasonings of your choice, and maybe even a few cubes of cooked chicken or tofu (my idea) and you'd have a quick, instant soup. I may need to give this a try for some quick winter-time lunches.
But my mainstay is still to use this broth as a soup base. The color of the broth is a sort of muddy greenish-brown, so this isn't a base you would use for a clear soup where presentation mattered. It works wonderfully well in bean or potato based soups or stews, however. I often throw a cup of this broth in my slow cooker, instead of plain water, when I'm making the vegetable stew for my slow-cooked potpie with biscuit crust (yum) and I love to use it in my stove-top version of lentil soup. It adds a lot of nutrients and minerals and the taste of the overall stew just ends up seeming richer.
I really like Gayelord Hauser's Instant Vegetable Broth. It's easy to make, rich in nutrients, and adds a level of healthy goodness to soups and stews. It's also completely vegetarian and low in sodium.
Thank you to bruguru for adding this to the database.
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