Miso soup is naturally vegan, using vegetables instead of chicken stock. When a vegan swap is as easy as that, you know that the main recipe will be just as simple. Today, we will teach you how to make the recipe, some helpful tips to get you going, and the best sides to go with your main.
Our step-by-step guide will empower you to recreate this Japanese classic in your own kitchen, using minimal effort and readily available ingredients.
But that’s not all. We’ll also share some valuable tips and tricks to enhance your miso soup goodness. Plus, we’ll unveil the perfect accompaniments and sides to elevate your dining experience, creating a well-rounded, satisfying meal.
Get ready to master the essence of simplicity with a dash of culinary finesse!
What Is Vegan Miso Soup?
Vegan miso soup is a plant-based version of the traditional Japanese broth. Miso provides a rich, umami flavor originating from fermented soybean paste.
The vegan variation ensures that all ingredients exclude animal products, including the broth base.
Typically, it combines miso paste with seaweed, silken tofu, and green onions. Some variations might add mushrooms or other vegetables.
This heartwarming soup offers a nourishing blend of flavors, making it a culinary and ethical choice for many.
History Of Vegan Miso Soup
Vegan miso soup, though a contemporary twist, finds its roots in ancient Japanese traditions. Miso, a fermented soybean paste, has been a staple in Japanese diets for millennia.
Historically, many miso soup variations were naturally vegan, focusing on vegetables and seaweed. As global awareness about veganism grew in the 20th and 21st centuries, there was a deliberate shift to create purely vegan versions, excluding fish-based broths.
Interesting Facts About The Vegan Miso Soup
- Umami Powerhouse: Vegan miso soup boasts a high umami content, often likened to broths with meat.
- Fermentation Prodigy: Miso, its key ingredient, undergoes a fermentation process lasting from a few months to several years!
- Gut-friendly: The fermentation provides probiotics, beneficial for gut health.
- Seaweed Benefits: Often featuring wakame seaweed, it’s a source of essential minerals and vitamins.
- Historical Roots: Some ancient Japanese miso soup recipes were inadvertently vegan, focusing solely on plant-based ingredients.
- Tofu Types: Silken tofu is popular in the soup, but firmer types can add a varied texture.
- Versatility: From seasonal veggies to different miso types (red, white, or mixed), there’s no fixed recipe, leading to endless vegan variations.
What Makes The Vegan Miso Soup Special?
- Ethical Choice: Embracing vegan ingredients ensures no harm to animals.
- Flavor Depth: Its umami richness rivals traditional meat-based broths.
- Health Benefits: Packed with probiotics, it supports gut health and digestion.
- Cultural Fusion: Merges ancient Japanese culinary practices with modern vegan values.
- Versatility: Adapts to various ingredients, making it seasonally fresh and varied.
- Nutrient Density: Seaweed and tofu bring essential minerals, proteins, and vitamins.
- Quick Fix: Effortlessly prepared in mere minutes, it’s both gourmet and time-saving.
|Green onions (sliced)
|Enough to garnish
|Kombu (dried kelp)
|3 or 4 large pieces
|1 cup (variety is encouraged)
|Silky Tofu (cubed)
|4 or 5 cups
|Wakames (dried fine seaweed)
|White Miso Paste
|4 or 5 tablespoons
- The best miso paste for this meal is white Shiro. White shiro miso has a wonderful balance of soybeans and yeast, creating a cloudy visual and a tasty soup.
- If you’re allergic to soy or don’t like the taste, try chickpea miso to recreate the cloudy visual or brown rice miso for a richer flavor.
- No matter which Miso you choose, turn the heat off before adding it to the soup. Fail to do this, as your paste will turn into a clump.
- In our detailed recipe, we use Kombu instead of packaged stock. This helps create a delicate yet deep flavor. To get the most out of Kombu, soak the dried kelp for as long as possible before you start cooking.
- Aim for an overnight soak, which will bring out the most flavor.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Keto: Swap regular tofu for tempeh or increase mushrooms for more protein and less carbs. Consider using a lower-carb miso alternative.
- Paleo: Skip tofu, as it’s soy-based. Boost the recipe with vegetables like bok choy or spinach, and add spiralized zucchini noodles.
- Gluten-Free: Ensure the miso paste is gluten-free; some may contain barley or wheat. Double-check other ingredient labels, too.
- Whole30: Avoid traditional soy-based Miso. Opt for chickpea or brown rice miso, and omit tofu.
- Vegetarian: The given recipe is already vegetarian-friendly!
- Vegan: The base recipe adheres to vegan standards. Just ensure all added ingredients are plant-based.
- Soak Kombu and Wakames for 5 minutes to 24 hours.
- Boil Kombu in 5 cups of water, add mushrooms, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Off heat, dissolve Miso in a bit of broth, then mix into the pot.
- Add Wakame, tofu, stir, and serve with green onions.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Grains: Quinoa or rice can be added to a heartier soup.
- Alternative Miso: Try chickpea or barley miso for a different flavor profile.
- Vegetables: Bok choy, spinach, and radishes enhance nutrition and texture.
- Spices: Ginger or garlic can be simmered in the broth for added zing.
- Noodles: Soba or udon noodles transform the soup into a filling meal.
- Seeds: Toasted sesame or flax seeds add crunch and nutrition.
- Herbs: Fresh cilantro or basil brings aroma and freshness.
- Heat: Red pepper flakes or a dash of chili oil for those who love spice.
- Zest: A touch of lemon or lime zest brightens flavors.
Scaling The Recipe
- Determine Portions: Decide on the number of servings desired. Double the ingredients if the original serves 4 and you want 8 servings. For 2 servings, halve them.
- Liquid Ratio: Ensure the ratio of solid ingredients to liquid remains consistent. Too much or too little water can affect the soup’s intensity.
- Taste Test: When scaling up, be cautious with seasonings. Rather than doubling immediately, add gradually, tasting as you go.
- Cooking Time: Increasing quantity might require slightly longer cooking times. Ensure ingredients are cooked uniformly.
- Equipment: Ensure pots and utensils can accommodate the scaled quantity.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Green Onions: Thinly sliced, they add a burst of color and a mild, tangy crunch.
- Sesame Seeds: Toasted for a nutty aroma and delicate crunch.
- Seaweed Strips: Thinly sliced nori or seaweed adds a visual appeal and deepens the oceanic flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes: A sprinkle introduces warmth and color contrast.
- Fresh Herbs: Cilantro or parsley can bring a fresh, aromatic touch.
- Lemon or Lime Zest: A hint for a zesty finish and vibrant color.
Can I Make Vegan Miso Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Both the slow cooker and Instant Pot can be used to prepare vegan miso soup, albeit with some modifications:
- Perfect for enhancing flavors through prolonged simmering. Start by placing soaked Kombu, water, and mushrooms in the cooker.
- Set it on low for several hours. About 30 minutes before serving, add the tofu and Wakame.
- Before serving, dissolve Miso in a small portion of the broth and reintroduce it to the pot, ensuring not to boil the Miso directly as it can destroy its probiotics.
- Use the sauté function for the mushrooms.
- Add the Kombu and water, then pressure cook for a short duration.
- After releasing pressure, stir in dissolved Miso, tofu, and Wakame.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
Both store-bought and homemade broths have their advantages when making vegan miso soup:
- Convenience: Quick and saves preparation time.
- Consistency: Offers a stable flavor every time.
- Variety: Available in different flavors and bases.
- Flavor Control: Adjust ingredients to personal taste.
- Freshness: No preservatives or additives.
- Cost-effective: Often cheaper in the long run.
- Versatility: You can use leftover veggies or specific ingredients.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
Vegan miso soup can be adapted with various ingredients:
- Meat: Chicken or pork can be thinly sliced and added, though this would deviate from the vegan base.
- Fish: Tofu can be replaced or complemented with pieces of white fish or even shrimp.
- Pasta: Soba, udon, or ramen noodles can transform the soup into a more filling meal.
- Vegetables: Enhance the dish’s nutritional profile by incorporating bok choy, spinach, radishes, or bell peppers. Root veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes could be thinly sliced and simmered until tender.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup
Making soup can be an art, and here are some essential tips and tricks to master it:
- Consistent Cut: Uniformly chopped ingredients cook evenly.
- Aromatics First: To build a flavor base, Sauté onions, garlic, or ginger at the beginning.
- Cold Start for Broths: Begin with cold water when making broth to extract flavors gradually.
Cooking Time Tips
- Low and Slow: Simmer soups on low heat to meld flavors without overcooking ingredients.
- Skim Off: During simmering, skim off any impurities or excess fat that floats.
- Add Delicates Last: Ingredients like greens, fresh herbs, or seafood should be added towards the end to prevent overcooking.
- Taste and Adjust: Continually taste and season throughout the cooking process.
Vegan miso soup isn’t just flavorful; it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Dive into its low-calorie profile, packed with protein, fiber, and essential minerals. An umami delight that nourishes.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
Calculating the precise caloric content of the vegan miso soup requires knowledge of the specific ingredients and their quantities used. This recipe’s average calorie will be around 50 to 80 calories per serving.
Further, the calorie count will vary based on the ingredients you use in the recipe. So, it is better to use a calorie counter to get a more accurate calorie count.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Vegan Miso Soup
- Vegan: Yes, it contains no animal-derived products.
- Vegetarian: Also suitable, as it has no meat or fish.
- Gluten-Free: Miso can sometimes contain barley or other gluten-containing grains. Always check the label.
- Soy Allergy: Miso paste and tofu are soy-derived, making them unsuitable for those with soy allergies.
- Low-Calorie: Generally, a lighter option, but exact calories can vary.
- Low-Carb: Mostly low in carbohydrates, but again, values can vary.
- Nut-Free: Naturally nut-free unless modified.
Health Benefits Of The Vegan Miso Soup
- Probiotics: Miso paste is fermented, promoting gut health with beneficial bacteria.
- Minerals: Kombu and wakame seaweeds are rich in iodine, vital for thyroid function.
- Protein: Tofu provides plant-based protein, supporting muscle health.
- Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain compounds that combat oxidative stress.
- Bone Health: Seaweeds offer calcium, essential for bone strength.
- Heart Health: Soy-based ingredients can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Immune Support: Mushrooms, especially shiitake, possess immune-boosting properties.
- Hydration: Being a liquid-based dish, it aids in hydration.
How Can I Make Vegan Miso Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Reduced-Sodium Miso: Opt for miso pastes labeled “low-sodium” or “reduced-sodium.”
- Dilution: Use less miso paste and dilute with more water or low-sodium vegetable broth.
- Fresh Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients, especially tofu and seaweed, are unsalted or low-sodium versions.
- Herbs & Spices: Intensify flavor with fresh herbs, ginger, or garlic without adding salt.
- Citrus Zest: A sprinkle of lemon or lime zest can enhance taste without the sodium.
- Avoid Salted Garnishes: Skip any salted toppings or accompaniments.
How Can I Make Vegan Miso Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Check Miso Paste: Some miso pastes may have added sugars. Opt for brands with no added sugars or sweeteners.
- Natural Variants: White Miso tends to be slightly sweeter than red or brown Miso. You should experiment with different varieties.
- Beware of Broths: If using store-bought broths, select ones without added sugars or sweet flavorings.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh veggies and tofu without any marinades or preservatives that might contain sugar.
- Mindful Toppings: Avoid toppings or additives like teriyaki sauce that can introduce sugars.
- Season Wisely: Enhance flavors with herbs, spices, or citrus rather than sugar-based sauces or seasonings.
How To Serve The Vegan Miso Soup At Its Best?
- Warm Bowls: Preheat bowls to keep the soup warmer for longer.
- Immediate Serving: Miso soup is best enjoyed immediately after preparation to preserve the vibrant flavors and delicate textures.
- Aesthetic: Garnish with green onions, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or a dash of chili flakes for color contrast.
- Accompaniments: Pair with steamed rice, vegan sushi rolls, or a light salad.
- Utensils: Traditional wooden or ceramic spoons add authenticity.
- Subtle Enhancements: A drop of toasted sesame oil or a squeeze of fresh lime can elevate the flavors right before serving.
- Pairing: Serve with green tea for a complete Japanese dining experience.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Vegan Miso Soup
Miso soup is light and delicious, but it’s best served as a starter or a lunch. Serving it as a dinner option will leave your guests hungry.
That doesn’t mean you have to change your plans, though. Instead, choose light sides that accompany the miso flavors.
- Sashimi salmon is raw and has to pass a quality and taste test before being labeled as such.
- You can buy sashimi salmon without doing any cooking. All you need to care about is the presentation of your side.
- Like the image above, you can layer each slice like a petal and create a bud in the middle of a dipping sauce, should your guests prefer it.
- Delicate flavors such as parsley and poppy seeds can add texture to this side. Try pickled apple slices for a refreshing, zesty feeling if you want to go all out.
- Consider a rice dish if you want to add a carby and filling side to your table.
- Include gentle ingredients such as bell peppers, sweet corn, and runner beans. This way, your rice doesn’t steal the show and continues the delicate dining idea.
- Although miso soup is delicate on purpose, many people prefer a crunch in their meals. If that sounds like you, you try a fried tofu side.
- You can dip the tofu chunks into your soup to carry on the flavor. Although this side is more hearty than the main, it still compliments it well.
- The image above shows a restaurant-quality plate; you can show off a dish like this, too. All you need is extra firm tofu, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and oil.
- Fry the tofu using the sesame seed oil until it’s mostly cooked, then brush the soy sauce over all sides. Put it back in the pan for another minute so the sauce darkens.
- And there you have it! Scatter some sesame seeds on for decoration, and your side is made!
Kimchi – Sour
- You can buy Kimchi in most supermarkets, and you don’t need a lot to add something sour and spicy to your meal.
- Soup and Kimchi don’t usually go together. So, if you want an extra kick, consider a complete plate instead of a store-bought dip.
- Making this side is surprisingly complex. There are a lot of stops, and although the technique is easy, you’ll have to have patience in your creation process.
- Also, make sure you look for vegan Kimchi. Normally, this side is made with fish sauce, which means it isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans. Still, if you substitute fish sauce with soy sauce, you can make a similar and vegan-friendly alternative.
- California rolls get their name due to the carbs and avocado, not the state. “CA” looks very similar to the state abbreviation for California, so the name stuck.
- This sushi roll is an excellent choice for miso soup as it continues the light flavoring element and can be displayed in a “pick your own” style.
- This means you can lay a long plate out, and your guests can pick and choose whether they want a side – no pressure, and nothing is wasted.
- Although making CA rolls isn’t difficult, you do need to invest in a bamboo mat to make the roll creation easier.
- Remember, because CA rolls are made with crab, this meal is inherently not vegan or vegetarian (Also check out Easy To Make Vegetarian Stew Recipes). However, you can use faux crab meat to simulate the flavors and textures.
- Refried beans are a vegan’s pride and joy. They are easy to make and use the cheapest ingredients in your cupboard.
- Get kidney beans, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, and stock. Cook them in a saucepan and mash them up.
- Now, you have a carb-heavy meal that’s tasty and smooth.
- This side can add the heartiness your main lacks for a miso soup. However, you may need some crusty bread to avoid eating it directly with a spoon. You could also use chips or any other sauce-shoving alternative.
- Choose a white bean and add some Kombu and pre-cooked mushrooms to make your flavors match the soup. This will transfer the flavors over with ease, creating a seamless side.
- Cauliflower is vegan-friendly, and dipping it in miso sauce doesn’t change that.
- For this side, get your cauliflower heads, rip off the florets, and paint a mixture of soy sauce and Miso paste over each piece.
- Spread them on a baking tray and then roast them for around 30 minutes.
- This simple side will add a crunchiness and a slight carbyness without dominating the table or diverting from the main flavors.
- It is the best side dish for this meal and a fantastic side in most dinner plans!
- Serve this side with awesome lime wedges to help keep the light feeling.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
- Refrigeration: Once cooled to room temperature, store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge. It should remain fresh for up to 2-3 days. However, it’s best consumed as soon as possible, especially if it contains delicate ingredients like tofu.
- Freezing: While miso soup can technically be frozen for longer storage (up to a month), its texture, especially that of tofu and seaweeds, can change upon thawing.
- Reheating: Warm gently over low heat. Avoid boiling; it can degrade the flavors and kill beneficial probiotics in the Miso.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
- Broth First: Prepare the kombu and mushroom broth beforehand. Once cooled, store it in the refrigerator.
- Miso Mixture: To preserve the probiotics in Miso, mix it into the broth only before serving.
- Tofu & Wakame: Add these last to prevent them from becoming too soft or saturated.
- Reheating: Gently reheat the broth without bringing it to a boil. Then, integrate the Miso, tofu, and wakame.
- Storage: Broth can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for extended storage, but always consider freshness when serving.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Rice Accompaniment: Pour over steamed rice for a comforting rice porridge.
- Noodle Base: Add cooked udon or soba noodles to transform it into a noodle soup.
- Stir-Fry Base: Use as a flavorful liquid for stir-frying vegetables or tofu.
- Grain Cooker: Cook quinoa or barley in it, imparting the grains with umami richness.
- Smoothie Addition: Blend a small amount into savory vegetable smoothies for an umami boost.
- Sauce Creation: Reduce on low heat to intensify flavors, creating a base for sauces or dressings.
- Freeze for Later: Convert into ice cubes for easy future use in dishes.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Pot or Saucepan: For boiling and simmering the broth.
- Strainer: Useful for removing Kombu or any other non-edible ingredients.
- Ladle: To serve the soup and mix Miso paste with the broth without creating clumps.
- Whisk or Wooden Spoon: Helps dissolve Miso paste into the broth smoothly.
- Measuring Cups & Spoons: For precision with ingredients.
- Bowls: For soaking Kombu and wakame.
- Chopping Board & Knife: For slicing mushrooms, tofu, and green onions.
Miso soup is a quick and easy recipe that every cook can make. It doesn’t matter what skill level you are at. The simplicity of this meal means everyone can give it a go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Red Miso Instead Of White Miso In The Soup?
Yes, you can use red Miso. While white Miso offers a milder and slightly sweeter flavor, red Miso brings a deeper, more robust taste. Adjust the amount to your preference and experiment to find the balance you enjoy.
What Can I Substitute For Kombu If I Can’t Find It?
If Kombu is unavailable, dried shiitake mushrooms can serve as an alternative. They will impart a different but equally umami-rich flavor to the broth. Another option is to use a vegetable or seaweed broth as the soup base.
Does Miso Soup Contain Live Probiotics?
Yes, authentic miso paste is fermented and contains live beneficial bacteria or probiotics. However, it’s crucial not to boil the Miso to preserve these probiotics. Gently mix it into the hot broth to retain its health benefits.
Are All Miso Soups Vegan?
Most miso soups are vegan, as the main ingredient in Miso is soybeans and some grain (such as barley or rice). However, some manufacturers will add fish sauce to their miso paste to add a fishy-rich flavor.
Make sure you look at the ingredients of your miso paste before purchasing.If you buy miso soup from a restaurant, check if they use chicken or tofu. Silky tofu is often preferred for this meal, but some restaurants might use chicken.
Is Miso Soup Every Day Healthy?
Generally speaking, miso soup can be eaten every day to help create a healthy diet.However, because of the soybeans, this meal is high in sodium (salt). You shouldn’t have this soup daily if you are taking a low-sodium diet.
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