I love Miso soup! Whenever we go out for vegan sushi or eat at our favorite Asian restaurant, I always order Miso soup.
But, I've never made my Miso soup until now. Since I made a Soba Noodle Salad, miso soup seemed like a perfect match. I tried several times, of course, until I got it just right.
Sometimes, I feel sorry for my family, because they are my test subjects. At least they are honest, so I know to keep trying to get the right flavor.
What is Miso, and which one is used for Miso soup?
As a fermented food, miso provides beneficial gut bacteria that help us stay healthy, vibrant, and happy; good gut health is linked to our overall mental and physical wellness.
In my opinion, miso is such an excellent ingredient only because it adds immediate flavor to almost anything I make. Often, I use miso in sauces and dressing, but you can also roast potatoes in it as well.
There are different varieties of miso:
White Miso (Shiro) is made from soybeans and rice and fermented for no longer than two months. Shiro (means “white” in Japanese) is light in color and sweet to mildly salty. For example, Shiro is very versatile and provides a bit of oomph to salad dressings or sautéed vegetables.
Another mild type that is fermented for slightly longer than white miso is yellow miso (Shinshu). Yellow miso is adaptable in a wide range of recipes, as well.
If a recipe calls for dark miso, you’ll want to use an aka or red miso. Russet in color, this type is made from a higher proportion of soybeans, is fermented for up to three years, and is saltier and more profound in flavor. Its full flavor is best used in hearty dishes like stews and tomato sauces. Use with caution – its flavor can overpower other ingredients.
Barley Miso (Mugi), from barley and soybeans, usually has a longer fermentation process than most white miso. It has a strong barley aroma but is still mild and slightly sweet in flavor.
Red Miso, Dark red or reddish-brown in color and is saltier than other misos. Some say it is bitter but has an overpowering flavor. For this reason, red miso is typically used to make Miso soup.
The benefits of including Miso in your diet
When I went on the Holistic Holiday at Sea: Health Cruise and Vacation a few years ago, every meal started with miso soup, even breakfast.
Not only is Miso soup the cheapest breakfast on the planet, but it also boasts a lot of nutrients to start the day. Miso provides protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, linoleic acid, lecithin, and dietary fiber.
Furthermore, misoIaids in digestion too. Its high content of the amino acid tryptophan makes miso a good choice right before bedtime as well. Tryptophan is nature's sleep inducer.
- Calories: 56
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sodium: 43% of the RDI
- Manganese: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 10% of the RDI
- Copper: 6% of the RDI
- Zinc: 5% of the RDI
Interestingly, the varieties made from soybeans are considered sources of complete protein because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for human health (1).
Moreover, the fermentation process used to produce miso makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients it contains.
The fermentation process also promotes probiotics' growth, beneficial bacteria that provide a wide array of health benefits.
Miso Soup Ingredients
Typically, restaurant miso soup is a broth with green onions, seaweed, and small soft tofu bits.
My miso soup, however, has some added veggie love.
- Vegetable broth
- Green onions
- Collard greens or Swiss chard (or any hearty green of choice)
Once the miso soup ingredients are prepared, it takes 15 minutes from start to finish to make miso soup. It doesn't get any easier than that.
One suggestion I have is to stir the miso paste with a little water to thin it out before adding it to the soup pot. As a result, the miso paste blends well when heated without leaving clumps.
Additionally, start cooking the green onions in the pan before adding the other ingredients. Then, the flavors of the onions are more intensified.
Next, add all the ingredients into the pot, except for the miso paste mixture, bring it to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. The last step is to add the miso paste into the broth at the last minute.
Making miso soup at home is simple and takes 15 minutes and very few ingredients. Add your twist by including ramen noodles, soba noodles, tofu, or any other element you find tempting.
Is store-bought miso soup vegan-friendly?
Generally, yes. Miso paste is traditionally vegan. However, you have to watch out for added ingredients like fish-derived ingredients or chicken stock. I recommend making your own, though.
Do you love healthy Asian recipes? Check these recipes out.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂