This gut-healthy vegetable miso soup is the perfect way to give your body a natural dose of probiotics and vegetables. It's light yet also satisfying and customizable.
Call it serendipity, a happy accident, or simply fate, but a few months ago I discovered the wonder of miso paste. I know a little late to the game and sure you may be thinking - okay, miso soup?...the kind you get with takeout that has a few pieces of tofu, a mushroom or two, and sea-weed. But there is so much more to miso than that. Don't get me wrong, I love all miso soup, but there is something wonderful that goes into preparing your own. Where you are in full control of everything that goes into it.
For me, making miso soup several times a week has become a bit of a ceremony. In the middle of a busy day, there is nothing quite like taking the time to eat a proper meal that starts with a gut-healthy soup.
While experimenting with different recipes, I've played around with a variety of vegetables, seaweed, mushrooms of all kinds, but I settled on this recipe to share with you. It's nutritious, comforting, gut-healthy, and easy to digest.
While most vegetable soups are inherently wonderful and easy on digestion, this is particularly so because it uses miso, which is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans and kōji (which I will explain in detail below), that adds an unmistakable umami flavor. So let's talk a little bit about the miso and this easy gut-healthy soup.
Recipe At A Glance
- It's vegan, gluten-free, grain-free
- Simple to make
- Easily customizable
- Nutrient dense
- Umami powder
- Dried Shiitake mushrooms
- Taro root
- Button mushrooms
- Napa (Chinese) cabbage
- Yellow miso paste
- Optional: sliced green onion
Let's Make It
Step 1. Add kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms to a large soup pot along with 6 cups of water and umami seasoning or a dashi packet.
Step 2. Once the water comes to a boil, remove and discard kombu, lower the heat and add the rest of the ingredients aside from miso paste. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Step 3. Turn off the heat and scoop 1-2 tablespoon miso paste into a ladle. Add some broth and gently mix the paste with the warm broth in the ladle until the miso is mixed in with the broth. Add it to the soup and mix well.
Step 4. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced green onion.
Tips and FAQs
What Is Miso?
Miso is a traditional seasoning that's been produced in Japan for thousands of years made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (Aspergillus oryzae). The combination yields a thick, salty paste with an umami flavor that can be used in a variety of dishes but most popularly in making miso soup. Miso paste can come in a range of colors ranging from white to yellow, red, or brown. White/yellow is milder and less intense. The darker the color of the miso paste, the saltier it is.
Why Is Miso Good For You?
Miso contains probiotics from the strain Aspergillus oryzae which is beneficial to gut bacteria and reduces inflammation in the gut. Reducing inflammation and improving digestion has a ripple effect on the entire body by improving immunity, focus, and overall function. By maintaining a healthy gut, you also support hormone balance and skin function as well.
Where Can You Find Miso?
It's possible to find miso in your grocery store but most often you're going to find miso paste in an Asian Market or you can just order it online.
Why Is It Important To Add Miso Paste At The End Of Cooking The Soup?
Because miso is a probiotic-rich seasoning, it should always be added at the very end of the cooking process to preserve all the good bacteria. Boiling the soup further will damage these bacteria. Additionally adding miso last will also ensure the purest amount of umami flavor.
What Is Taro Root?
You may have noticed I mentioned Taro root in the ingredient list. If you're wondering what it is, taro is a starchy root, similar to potato with a slightly sweeter taste. I find it holds its shape particularly well in soups and doesn't get mushy.
Is There A Substitute For Taro Root?
If you can't find Taro root (which is also available at most Asian Markets), you can substitute a white potato, red potato, sweet potato, or even a yam.
What Is A Good Substitute For Chinese Cabbage?
Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage can easily be found in Asian markets and often in most grocery stores, but if you are unable to find it, some good substitutes for Napa cabbage would be Bok Choi, Kholabri or Daikon radish, sliced into sticks, since those can provide nice bite and texture to the soup.
How To Fully Flavor Your Miso Soup
Kombu is a very popular sea vegetable in Japan and comes in dry form that's used to flavor broth or chopped into noodles once soft, for topping other dishes. I like starting miso soup by letting the kombu soak in water along with shiitake mushrooms. Using kombu in the early stages of cooking the soup not only enhances the taste but also helps to aid with digestion.
- Umami Powder or a dashi packet
The first few times I made miso soup, it lacked a little something until I got some great advice from my local Asian market on seasoning early on. I find umami powder to add depth and flavor that miso alone can't quite reach. You can also use a dashi packet but be mindful of the ingredients as sometimes it can contain wheat or MSG.
- Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Another key ingredient in miso soup is dried Shiitake mushrooms. They may seem inconspicuous but actually, add lots of flavor to the broth and plump up nicely during the boiling process.
Can You Store Miso Soup?
While miso soup is ideally made every day, I'm a realist and know that that's just not possible so I like to make enough for several servings. Miso soup can be stored in the refrigerator and heated up gently without bringing it to a full boil.
More Gut Healthy Recipes You May Like
- Bone Broth Vegetable Soup (Vegan Option)
- Fermented Vegetable Medley
- How to Make Sauerkraut
- Strawberry Water Kefir
- ½ piece kombu
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoon umami powder or a dashi packet
- 1 tablespoon dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small taro root or ½ large, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces lengthwise and sliced thinly
- 1 small yellow onion or ½ medium peeled and roughly chopped into bite size pieces
- 6 small button mushrooms thinly sliced
- 4 leaves napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1-2 tablespoon white miso paste (start with one and add more to taste)
- optional: sliced green onion to finish
1. Add kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms to a large soup pot along with 6 cups of water and umami seasoning or a dashi packet.
2. Once the water comes to a boil, remove and discard kombu (and dashi packet if using), lower the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients aside from miso paste. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
3. Turn off the heat and scoop 1-2 tablespoon miso paste into a ladle. Add some broth and gently mix the paste with the warm broth in the ladle until the miso is mixed in with the broth. Add it to the soup and mix well.
4. Ladle into bowl and top with sliced green onion.
1. If you want additional flavor, soak the kombu and shiitake mushrooms for 30 minutes prior to cooking.
2. You can use potato or sweet potato instead of taro root.
3. Daikon radish makes a good substitute for napa cabbage as it adds a nice texture.
4. Start with 1 tablespoon miso paste as it is salty. You can add more to taste.
5. If you add too much miso, no worries, simply add a little bit of water to the soup and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 69Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 245mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g