Hearty Vegetarian Miso Soup
Traditional Japanese miso soup is a light broth with just a few ingredients in it.
Not so my miso soup!
I always want to get the most nutritional bang out of my dishes
so the miso soup I make is chock full of vegetables and I always start with dashi
(dashi is Japanese broth).
I like to have miso soup almost daily so I make a big pot to last the week and re-heat the amount I want daily, making sure not to boil it, which is said to destroy the beneficial nutrients created through fermentation. (miso is fermented)
To make miso soup you will need:
3 -4″ piece of kombu – a sea vegetable
4 – organic dried shiitake
For the soup
and assortment of vegetables – listed below
1 tablespoon dried instant wakame – a sea vegetable
1/2 – 1 cup organic miso – you can use either a dark or light miso or do a combination of both – miso is salty so start with less and then add more if needed
Dashi – Japanese soup stock
Dashi is the Japanese term for stock, which is the base of many soups and sauces.
There are several different types of dashi depending on the ingredients used to create the stock. A vegetarian dashi simply uses dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu.
Put 8 cups of water into a stockpot and add the kombu and shiitake.
Bring to a boil with the lid on and then turn to medium heat and simmer for up to 10 minutes. I often simmer it longer than that but 10 minutes is the minimum.
*Note: the traditional way to make dashi is to soak the kombu and shiitake first for at least 30 minutes, then simmer. I’ve never done it like this and I’m quite satisfied with the flavor of the soup.
Remove the kombu and shiitake from the stock.
Put the kombu on a plate to dry for later use in another dish.
When shiitake is cool enough to handle, remove the stem, slice it finely and return it to the pot.
While the dashi is simmering prep the vegetables:
1 onion – 1/2 moon
1/2 leek – cut lengthwise to get 1/2, then sliced finely and yes! use the green bit
1 carrot – matchstick
1 parsnip – matchstick
1 small sweet potato or yam (since they really are the same thing anyhow) – small dice
1 medium red or yukon gold potato – small dice
1 small zucchini – small dice
1 small yellow squash – small dice
1/4 head napa cabbage, bok choy or 1 baby bok choi – sliced finely
handful of baby spinach – whole
2 cakes organic tofu – 1/2″ cubes
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 scallions, sliced finely
Add the vegetables
Bring the pot of dashi that now has the sliced shiitake in it to a boil.
Put the onion, leek and wakame into the pot and simmer with the lid off the pot until the onions become translucent – about 10 minutes.
Next add the carrot, parsnip, sweet potato or yam, and potato and simmer for another 5 minutes or so, till the vegetables are just about cooked.
Then add the zucchini, yellow squash, napa cabbage (or bok choi or baby bok choi), baby spinach and tofu cubes and simmer another few minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
Turn off the heat.
Adding the miso to the soup
Holding onto the handle, submerge a fine mesh strainer into the soup.
Put the miso into the strainer (that’s in the soup) and using a wooden spoon, mash the miso to dissolve it into the soup.
Scape any undissolved bits of grain or beans out of the strainer and into the soup.
If you’d like to have ginger in the soup squeeze the juice of the ginger into the pot now.
Add finely sliced scallion to each bowl of soup when served.
Remember – when re-heating miso soup do your best not to boil it.
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