Kitchn Love Letters

This Soup-Season Staple Has Been My Go-to for a Decade — And You’re Gonna Love It Too

published Jan 17, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Ah, soup. With colder temperatures comes one delightfully warm, brothy bowl after another. Soup season can start as early as September and last well into spring, depending on where you live. I have my regular go-tos (coconut split pea and a lentil-based tomato, kale, and quinoa combination), but this year, I’m experimenting with different vegetables and beans. One thing that will stay the same? My broth base. It’s been my go-to broth since since 2013 and I actually found it by happenstance.

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

I was introduced to Imagine’s Organic Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth at someone else’s house. Desperately hungry, I was offered a bowl of plain cooked quinoa to tide me over. The seemingly basic bowl was full of flavor. With no additional ingredients to be seen, I wondered where all that flavor came from. Their secret? They had used No-Chicken Broth instead of water. That’s it. No extra seasoning, spices, or hidden hacks. I was in disbelief, until they showed me the box.

Buy: Imagine Organic Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth, $3.50 for 32 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

After that day, I promptly started making all of my quinoa with the same broth and eventually graduated to using it as my base in soups. It’s versatile, whether I’m whipping up a thick stew or a light soup. It’s vegetarian chicken broth, which means it’s made of sautéed vegetables and savory herbs and spices. It’s earthy and flavorful but, again, was not made with chicken. Typically I use a box and a half for my large-batch soups and then freeze the rest. Then I’m able to curl up with a hearty bowl of soup for days to come. My friend, who does not eat vegetarian like I do, cried after a taste because it reminded him of his mother’s. (My mother has also made the swap!)

While I keep daring myself to start making my own stock with the vegetable discards from my prep, I stock a few boxes of these in my cupboard and break them out the instant a soup mood hits. It’s such a convenience. Plus the broth is so easy to track down: Almost every grocery store in my regular rotation carries it and I can also easily get it delivered, considering they’re shelf-stable.

Do you have a different go-to vegetarian broth? Tell us in the comments below!