Miso soup is easy to make and easily customized for your palette with as many or as few ingredients as you like. It is healthy and nutritious and adaptable to most diets. Vegan and Vegetarian friendly
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made with savory miso and dashi broth. One almost always gets this on the side in Japanese restaurants, along with a bowl of rice. Different regions/cooks in Japan have their favorite ingredients to add to this soup.
Generally, it is a light soup with a few pieces of tofu, seaweed, and green onion floating in it. It is more of a digestive than a prelude to the meal, but when at home who cares about all this. You like miso soup, you make it the way you like it. Make a meal out of it, if that is what you feel like doing today.
This is my everyday version to which sometimes more vegetables are added and sometimes it is just a broth with tofu and scallions.
The authentic versions have miso, dashi, and veggies/protein. I can find miso paste in the grocery store here, but not dashi. I don’t make it at home either, as I am happy with the substitutions. If you are interested in making dashi check out this link .
So instead of dashi, I use one of these
- Water sometimes with a 1 tsp nutritional yeast and a dash of soy sauce
- Chicken Stock
- Vegetable Stock
Each of these creates slight flavor variations. I often make chicken stock or vegetable stock with kitchen scraps, and that is usually my go-to soup base.
Simply put miso is fermented soybeans. There may be other ingredients; ex- barley, rice; in small amounts. These help with fermentation and sometime introduce more flavors. It is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals as well as being a good source of probiotics. Check out this article on miso nutritional benefits – Why Miso Is Incredibly Healthy.
Miso has a complex flavor and adds to the tempting mouthfeel (umami?). It is delicious – and salty. Salt is the thing to keep in mind when using miso.
Miso contains soy and salt. Please exercise caution if your doctor has advised to avoid consuming these.
Miso comes in different colors, white, yellow, red, and brown. The red and brown varieties are fermented for longer periods, sometimes years. As a result the flavors are more intense and a little goes a long way. The milder ones – white and yellow are suitable for this dish. I want to clarify something – yellow miso sometimes looks light brown, but the packaging will usually indicate the type.
Since miso contains probiotics, to get the most benefit, do not cook it. Add to the soup after cooking is completed and the soup is off the heat.
Wakame or Nori
Wakame and Nori are both dried sea vegetables. These are processed differently so wakame looks like broken pieces of rope while nori looks like a thin sheet of greenish-black paper. Usually we use Nori straight from the package . Wakame, on the other hand, has to soak in water before cooking. Both these are available in the Asian food isles in my local supermarkets, but I have better luck finding Nori than wakame.
My favorite vegetable to add here is broccoli or Chinese broccoli, probably because the colors pop with just a little cooking. Other than these you can add sliced carrots, mushrooms, tofu, zucchini noodles, or any quick-cooking vegetable.
Making Vegan Miso Soup
Simple dashi is vegan, but check the labels and make sure. You can also substitute water or vegetable stock in place of dashi. Same with Miso.
Making Miso Soup Into a Meal
To make miso soup try any or all of these options. Adjust the amount of miso, and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Noodles – Add to the broth along with veggies or cook according to package instructions and add at the end
- Seafood – Add sliced seafood along with veggies
- Eggs – Add soft boiled eggs to the bowl or break into the soup right before turning off the heat. Ladle the soup over the eggs to help it set.
- Add more vegetable
And don’t forget to garnish with a few scallions.
Everyday Miso Soup
- 4 C Vegetable stock/ Chicken stock
- 4 Tbsp White/Yellow Miso Paste
- 1 Tbsp Wakame or
- 1 Sheet Nori
- 1/2 C Mushrooms
- 6 oz Tofu 1/2 standard pkt (Note)
- 1-2 Stems Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) (Note)
- 2 Stems Scallions
- If using wakame soak it in water for at least 10 minutes and drain.
- Heat the stock in a soup pot. Take the miso paste in a small bowl and add a little warm stock and stir to dissolve the miso. Use up to ½ C stock. Set aside.
- Chop the vegetables and tofu into small pieces. When the soup comes to a boil and the vegetables and tofu and wakame or strips of nori. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Take the soup off the heat, wait for a few minutes and stir in the thinned miso paste. Tasting in between. Stop when the desired flavor is reached. Add more salt if needed.
- Traditionally soft tofu is used. If using soft tofu add it after the vegetables are cooked.
- Other vegetables to use – broccoli, zucchini, carrots, spinach. Use any or all.
- Adjust the quantities to your preference
- Do not add extra salt until after adding miso
- See the post for ideas on how to make this into a meal or make a vegan version.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
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