Friday, November 18, 2011

Bouillon Cubes vs. Veggie Broth Mix Taste Test

After I posted about an interesting alternative to bouillon cubes that used nutritional yeast, I quickly ordered a can of the mysterious substance. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it so I could put it the supposedly-delicious broth mix through its paces.

When the nutritional yeast arrived, I have to admit that I was blown away by just how much nutritional yeast lives up to its name.

Nutrition facts for KAL nutritional yeast.
I'd like to see you match that, salty, junk-filled bouillon cube! I took a tentative taste of the yeast flakes and found that they actually taste pretty good. It has a savory, almost cheesy taste.

I measured out 1-1/2 cups of the yeast and followed the recipe as written in my previous post. All of the other ingredients for the broth mix are common pantry ingredients.

The finished mix 

The next step was to see how the broth mix fared in a test with that most basic of survival foods - rice.

The cast of characters: bouillon cubes, chicken broth, a rice cooker, broth mix, and white rice

Here's how it worked: I cooked 2 cups of rice in 2-1/2 cups of liquid - chicken broth, reconstituted chicken bouillon or reconstituted veggie broth mix. I didn't add any additional salt or seasonings. I used my rice cooker for all batches for consistency's sake.

After all three batches of rice were finished, I turned my crack team of taste testers loose (ie. my children and husband) and asked for their honest feedback.

Clockwise: Chicken broth-cooked rice, bouillon rice, veggie broth mix rice

The verdict 

The rice cooked in chicken broth was the winner. It was well-seasoned and tasted chicken-y. It was a definite improvement over plain rice.

The rice cooked in bouillon was the big loser! All but one of us put it in last place. It didn't taste anything like chicken and was overwhelmingly salty.

What about the rice cooked in the veggie broth mix? Well, it was definitely tasty. The problem was that I had a hard time looking past the textural problems. If you look at the photo above, you can see that the rice came out mushy and a bit over-cooked. I'm not sure why that happened since cooking rice in a rice cooker is usually foolproof. The rice didn't taste like chicken, but it was definitely flavorful. Hubby Dear said it kind of tasted like Rice a Roni, which is NOT a compliment coming from him. Besides the funny texture of the rice, my major issue with the veggie mix batch was that it lacked salt. That's an easy fix. I'll just add more salt to the broth mix than is called for in the original recipe.


Chicken broth was the overall winner, but it is bulky and relatively expensive. The cheaper alternative, bouillon cubes, produced results that were deemed unpalatable. The veggie broth mix is a viable alternative to bouillon cubes. It tastes good (when you tweak the recipe a bit), is healthy, and has an equal storage life to bouillon cubes.

I think I'll stick with chicken broth for my everyday cooking but kick the bouillon cubes to the curb. My food storage just got a little healthier. :)    

1 comment:

  1. Using nutritional yeast seems like it would be expensive. About 4 cups worth costs me @$9.00 here. I like to use it sprinkled on popcorn or mixed with olive oil, basil and garlic powder to coat potato wedges with (and then bake, of course).