Flipping through a magazine, I came across a blurb recommending consuming bone broth for beauty benefits. When animal bones are simmered, the piece explained, they release collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine. Collagen, of course, is a major beauty buzzword thanks to the role it plays in keeping skin supple and smooth (including cellulite-free). While the body produces it own collagen, it does so less and less as we age, prompting many to find ways to ingest collagen via supplements and now, bone broth. Ever skeptical (and, you know, vegan), I gave my best side eye to the photo of bone broth powder and pointedly flipped to the next page.
But it got me thinking—is there a vegan bone broth alternative?
Yes and no. Collagen is an animal product (as are bones!), so there’s not some special vegan bone water out there (sorry). There are, however, an abundance of plants that support the body’s production of collagen—many of which are featured in this beautifying vegan bone broth alternative recipe.
This vegan bone broth alternative includes a cornucopia of veggies that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect the body from free radicals while supporting collagen production. These superstars include cabbage, avocados, red bell peppers, beans, sweet potatoes, garlic, carrots, and tofu. (Yep! Soy is a source of genistein, a plant hormone that increases collagen production in the dermis.)
We’re probably not missing much by giving bone broth a pass. Experts aren’t completely sold that ingesting collagen actually gives you better skin, and it is unclear how bioavailable this out-sourced collagen is, meaning—who knows if your body can actually use the collagen in supplements or bone broth beyond its function as an animal protein. So why not boost your own supply and enjoy a good meal while you’re at it?
I hope you like this vegan bone broth alternative!
Vegan Bone Broth Alternative (Collagen-Boosting Veggie Bowl)
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/3 block tofu, cubed
- 2 tablespoons (divided) olive oil
- 1/2 cup pinto beans (freshly cooked or canned)
- 1 small avocado, cubed
- 3 large leaves purple cabbage, shredded
- For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic
- handful raw cashews
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil, and bake for 50 minutes or until they’re easily punctured with a fork.
3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prep your veggies and tofu.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and sauté cubes of tofu, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until tofu is lightly browned at the edges. Salt to taste. Remove from heat.
5. Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pan and reduce heat to low-medium. Sauté celery, carrot, red bell pepper, and beans for 5-10 minutes. (I prefer a very light sauté to reduce nutrient loss). Salt and pepper to taste
6. Blend all of the sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender.
7. Remove finished potatoes from the oven, and carefully scoop the flesh out and spread onto a plate. Top with cooked veggies, tofu, avocado, and raw shredded cabbage. Dress with tahini sauce. Enjoy!
Related: Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell