Miso Vegetable Soup

...the kind of soup to eat on a rainy day.

This is the kind of soup to eat on a rainy day. Perhaps it’s the kind of soup to eat when your heart feels heavy or you feel empty inside. This is the soup for when you need something to brighten your day and also deeply nourish so you feel truly good from within. It’s an antidote to the common form of “emotional eating.” This soup offers a fully-satisfied, wholesome, well-fed, well-nourished, content-with-life kind of feeling.

For most, this soup will be easy to digest. So it’s a great support when emotional aspects of life seem hard to digest. The miso provides gut health promoting probiotics, aiding in digestion and boosting immune function.

This miso soup fulfills many of the flavor desires most of us have. The kabocha, carrots and miso all deliver a nourishing sweetness. The greens offer a tiny bit of bitter to balance and move the energy within. The shiitake and the veggie broth give a nice round umami flavor that touches on some special profound place in the palate, that even with the word “umami,” it’s still hard to describe. I often experience umami as “complete,” it offers a completeness of flavor. 

The broth in the recipe is key. Without the proper veggie broth this soup will be good, with the proper veggie broth, the soup will be wonderful. I recommend always having some homemade vegetable broth on hand. It adds a whole world of flavor to so many dishes, and if you always have some ready to use, then planning a meal like this can be much more spontaneous.

Most miso is made of fermented soybeans. There are many kinds of miso made of soy – red miso, yellow miso, white or “shiro” miso. There is also chickpea miso, barley miso and brown rice miso. Many misos to choose from! They could all work in this recipe, each with different flavor profiles, even with all the same other ingredients, they’d each make for a totally unique soup experience. I prefer white miso, it’s a sweet, mild miso. The gentle quality of white miso is perfect for this uplifting, soul warming soup. It gives you a kind of being-gentle-with-yourself feeling.

Proper melting of this miso and proper timing of adding the miso to the soup is essential. Don’t ever boil the miso, this will kill off the probiotics, reducing the nutritional value (and the happy belly feeling). As the veggies are simmering, remove about 2 cups of broth into a bowl. Let it cool just slightly. Add the miso to the warm broth and stir it in until it melts into a thick creamy liquid. Wait until all the veggies are cooked and the pot is removed from high heat to add the miso.

This technique ensures you won’t have clumps of miso floating in your soup and it preserves the life of the probiotics. 

Ingredients

8 cups homemade veggie broth

¾ c miso

½  kabocha squash sliced thin

1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped

4 carrots sliced thin

2-3 large scallions, whites and part of the greens, slices

½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced (save stems and use for veggie broth!)

2 – 3 T coconut oil

1 T ginger, sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Chop to prepare all veggies
  2. Saute shiitake in coconut oil, until browned and a tiny bit crispy
  3. Heat homemade broth in large pot in high heat
  4. Add carrots, ginger and sauteed shiitakes
  5. Remove some warm broth into a separate bowl, add miso and stir to melt it
  6. When carrots are half cooked, add kabocha squash
  7. Kabocha cooks quickly so keep an eye on it!
  8. When kabocha is just about tender, remove from heat, add kale and scallions and cover to let steam
  9. Add melted miso in broth to pot
  10. Stir and serve

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