Vegetable scraps (peels, skins, tops, cores, etc.) of carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, bell peppers, and tomatoes make a great homemade Vegetable Stock. Store your vegetable scraps in the freezer until you collect enough for a batch of stock.

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 cups (1 quart)


2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
6-8 cups vegetable scraps
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp. peppercorns
2 quarts water


  1. In a large pot, sauté the tomato paste in the oil until it starts to darken, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can skip the cheesecloth if you haven’t included any scraps of vegetables like leeks, which could have sand or grit in them.
  5. Return the stock to the pot and continue to simmer to reduce the liquid to 4 cups (1 quart). Let cool, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tip: Remember to label and date everything you put in the freezer.