Vegetarian "Beef" Broth
While you could certainly use vegetable broth as a substitute for beef broth when converting a recipe to vegetarian, it’s not always the best option.
Why This Recipe Works
While you could certainly use vegetable broth as a substitute for beef broth when converting a recipe to vegetarian, it’s not always the best option. That’s because vegetable broth is meant to highlight the light, sweet flavor of vegetables, while beef broth should be rich, meaty, and savory. (Our favorite store-bought beef broth, Better Than Bouillon Beef Base, hits these points.) We set out to create a meat-free substitute that would match the flavors of beef broth using ingredients high in glutamates—the chemical compounds that create savory flavor. We tried broths with soy sauce, tomato paste, miso, Vegemite, Marmite, mushrooms, onions, and liquid smoke. After more than a week of testing, we had a recipe made in a roasting pan that mimics the rich, deep flavors of good beef broth. It requires more than an hour of oven time, so it’s not as fast as opening a carton of vegetable broth, but the flavor payoff is worth it. Try this broth in your favorite recipe for French onion soup or vegetable chili.