There’s a hint of fall in the air, and what could be cozier than an evening at home with a big pot of soup. Alas, making soup often entails chopping up a bunch of vegetables and hunting through the pantry for seldom-used spices that might have passed the “use by” date three years ago.
The solution to this problem, Andrew Laurent says, is Broth Bomb.
Shaped like the familiar bath bomb, each Broth Bomb is packed with herbs and spices. Even the most inept cook can toss one in a kettle with beans and/or vegetables and make enough soup, stew, chili or curry for more than one meal.
“Part of our mission is to show people how easy it can be to cook healthy at home in a way that doesn’t take forever,”’ Laurent said.
The Great Recession started soon after Laurent graduated from the University of South Florida and, with jobs scarce, he launched a restaurant delivery service. He grew familiar with a variety of cuisines but long working hours and too much takeout food eventually took their toll: He had a small stroke and developed intestinal problems. Needing to develop a healthier diet on a tight budget, he began experimenting with plant-based, one-pot dishes. Renee Laurent, the mother of his daughter and co-founder of Broth Bomb, encouraged him to write down the recipes.
“I wanted to make seasoning packs to go with my recipes and it kind of snowballed,” Andrew Laurent said. “Renee works in the wellness industry and was already around bath bombs so she had the idea: Why not form spices into something more enjoyable for people?” Andrew had been cooking beans with baking soda to give them a more tender texture, and found that soda added to the seasoning balls gave them a pleasing fizz when dropped in the pot.
The two initially developed six different recipes, trademarked the name Broth Bomb and raised money from Kickstarter and other sources. They found a restaurant they could use after hours to make the balls but have since switched to a former banquet hall converted into a manufacturing facility. Sales, primarily online, started around the 2020 holiday season. (Broth Bomb seasonings are available from Amazon as well as from the Dunedin company’s own website: https://brothbomb.store.)
Each Broth Bomb comes in a little box with a recipe. The most popular flavor is Drops of Jupiter, described as “savory sage with a touch of sweetness and a pinch of black pepper.” Others include Garden Rome, a minestrone seasoning, and Drunken Dare, a “vibrant basil doused in red hot pepper.” Recipes call for various types of beans and vegetables, with canned or frozen suggested for ease of preparation. One Broth Bomb can make up to 16 servings of soup or stew. The leftovers can be frozen, or half a Bomb can be used to make a smaller amount.
“This product is the soup starter you need in your cabinet,” according to a March 2021 article in the Food Network’s online magazine. Testers said the seasoning balls are “ideal to have on hand for meal prepping or cooking for the entire family,” and said “they’ll add a little spark of joy when added to any dish.”
Grocery stores have expressed an interest in carrying Broth Bomb seasonings but Laurent said “the terms for groceries are difficult, you have to raise capital and do other things.” For now, the company will concentrate on its online sales and getting the word out about its signature product.
“When you spend a half an hour chopping stuff and get just one meal out of it, it doesn’t feel very worthwhile,” Laurent said. “With this style of cooking you take five minutes to throw everything in the pot, come back a couple of times to stir and you have a bunch of meals.”