Most store-bought stock cubes contain wheat flour, but food manufacturers are starting to take notice of gluten-free options and are adding friendly gluten-free ingredients like cornflour or potato starch to their cubes. Just double-check the packaging before adding it to your shopping basket.

Another very handy recipe to add to the stock family, and probably my favourite, is this Vegetable Stock Paste recipe. This paste is the fastest method of making a stock base in under 45 minutes compared to 24 to 48 hours for the beef or chicken stock and cubes. If you own a Thermomix® mixer, you will be familiar with this recipe from their introductory cookbook. The paste is gluten-free, healthy, has a long fridge-life and adds an Umami wow-factor to your dish. I tend to leave out the Parmesan cheese that they suggest as I often make curries and would prefer not to taste Italian cheese mixed in my butter chicken or beef madras! Don’t be alarmed by the amount of salt that is added, this preserves the paste and you only will need 1 to 2 teaspoons per 500ml of warm water to make the vegetable liquid stock. In fact, store-bought stock cubes have just as much salt plus extra chemicals to give it more shelf life. After you’ve made this paste, I’m sure you’ll never go back to buying stock cubes.

My recipe explains how to make this with or without a Thermomix®.

Vegetable Stock Paste
Ingredients:
  • 150g / 4 celery stalks
  • 150g / 2 large carrots
  • 50g / 1 small parsnip or swede
  • 50g / 1 medium white onion or 1 leek
  • 50g / 1 small zucchini
  • 50g / 10 button mushrooms
  • 50g / 10 baby tomatoes or 1 regular size tomato
  • 20g-30g fresh parsley leaves & stalks, basil leaves, thyme leaves, rosemary leaves & stalks & sage leaves *
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of peppercorn
  • 100g sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g / 30ml white wine or water
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (optional)

 * If you find it hard to find all five herbs, concentrate on one fresh herb, as long as it weighs between 20-40g

Method if using a Thermomix®

1. If using the Parmesan cheese, chop for 10 sec/speed 10 and transfer to a bowl.

2. Peel and roughly chop all the vegetables by hand.

3. Chop all the vegetables & herbs in the Thermomix ® for 10 sec/speed 7, stopping every and now again to push the mixture down with a spatula.

4. When thoroughly processed, add the salt, white wine/water and olive oil.

5. Cook for 40 mins/Varoma/speed 2. Towards the end of cooking, it should have a “baby food” texture.

6. If using the Parmesan cheese, add this now and blend in for 1 min/speed 10.

Method using a food processor and pot:

1. If using the Parmesan cheese, grate it into a small bowl.

2. Peel and roughly chop all the vegetables by hand.

3. Process all the vegetables & herbs in the food processor stopping every and now again to push the mixture down with a spatula. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this step in two batches.

4.When thoroughly processed, add the salt, white wine/water and olive oil.

5. Transfer to a medium pot, cover and simmer for 40 mins on medium/low heat. Check and stir the mixture occasionally, making sure the stock paste does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Towards the end of cooking, it should have a “baby food” texture.

6. If using the Parmesan cheese, add this now and mix it in for 1 minute or until the cheese has melted into the paste.

  • Transfer to a large sterilised jar and allow to cool
  • Once cooled, place a round cut-out baking paper/waxed paper on top of the paste before closing the lid
  • Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable stock paste to 500ml warm water to make vegetable stock
  • Store in the fridge at all times
  • Keeps for 6 months

If you intend to use the paste exclusively for spicy dishes, add some fresh red and green chillis, fresh coriander leaves and stalks.