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Hearty Vegetable Miso Soup Recipe

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Miso Vegetable Soup

Of all the places I’ve been, Japan is most definitely among my favorites.

I was lucky enough to spend five years of my childhood in the country, meaning its culture has greatly impacted the way I learn, communicate, and view the world even to this day. Modern yet traditional, fast-paced yet serene, Japan is a true paradox. And it fascinates me.

On the one hand, the nation is highly-efficient and at the forefront of modern technology. If you see something trending in the US, chances are good it was a trend in Japan first. Yet, at the same time the Japanese way of life is also one of tranquility and simplicity of spirit (shibumi), often lacking the urgency, stress, and flamboyance found in Western society. When you walk the streets of Japan, you may feel a sense of calmness and inner peace; this holds true even in a crowded supermarket or while riding on one of the country’s famous speeding bullet trains (shinkansen).

It is a country steeped in history and culture: the shoguns and the samurai, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, anime and cutting edge fashions, martial arts and sumo wrestling… If you ever get a chance to attend a sumo wrestling match, take it! The experience is unlike any other you’ll ever have.

Miso Vegetable Soup

And then there is the food…

Honestly, I could branch off and write an entire blog on my love of Japanese cuisine, encompassing everything from the traditional (sushi, yakitori, onigiri) to the not-quite-so-traditional (Pocky!!!).

miso soup

On a snowy day last week, craving comfort food to counteract the effects of this seemingly-interminable winter, I hibernated in my apartment and created the recipe you’ll find below: a simple-yet-hearty miso soup, to which I added a parade of vegetables and noodles for a one-bowl meal that took me back to childhood. All that was missing was the dezato (Japanese dessert).

miso soup

Hearty Vegetable Miso Soup

  • 5 cups vegetable broth (1200g)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (15g)
  • 1 tbsp powdered or 3 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped (170g)
  • 1 1/4 cup carrots, sliced (110g)
  • 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced (220g)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup miso, dissolved in 2 tbsp broth (For soy-free, use chickpea miso) (60g)
  • 2 cups raw kale or spinach, optional (100g)
  • cooked soba or noodles of choice, optional

In a large pot, combine the first three ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and add all remaining ingredients except the miso, kale, and noodles. Cover and cook on low for 12 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Turn off the heat and add the kale, stirring until it wilts. Immediately stir in the miso paste. Also stir in noodles if desired. Recipe makes about 8 cups total (without the noodles).

Click for: Miso Soup Nutrition Facts

Vegetable Loaded Miso Soup

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Steph says:

    Mochi recipe next time? 😉

    1. Ohhh…yes, please! Mochi green tea ice cream is my absolute favorite food on the planet. :) I’m vegetarian but not vegan so I can enjoy commercial mocha, but it would be nice to have a healthier, less-sugary version!

  2. trajayjay says:

    what a profound speculation on foreign culture!

  3. Kelly says:

    On cold, snowy days, I like to cook with lentils! http://kellytoups.com/2013/09/27/lentil-love/ I also love this lentil soup: http://instagram.com/p/j0O4ISOhHJ/

  4. How cool on your experiences in Japan, visiting is on my travel wishlist. And this recipe looks wonderful, perfect for a chilly day. Thanks!

  5. What a wonderful post Katie about Japanese culture! It is definitively a country I’d love to visit one of these days. In the meantime, I LOVE Japanese cuisine and sushi is something I could not live without :) Can’t wait to try this beautiful soup!

    1. Erwin says:

      Katie is spot on with miso soup. My personal favourite veggie soup combination uses broccoli and baby corn, with a touch of garlic, soya sauce and pepper. yum yum! Button mushrooms, brown mushrooms, enoki (straw mushrooms) and kailan also work well.

      2 things that definitely do not work with miso soup: curry paste, and kimchi. Bad idea.

      ooooh…. I just noticed the various other blog posts on Japan. Yup, with a bit of planning, Japan can be surprisingly inexpensive. (I’m a 7-time visitor to Japan LOL)

  6. Molly says:

    Ohhh my gosh I’ve been searching and searching for a good miso soup recipe ever since the last one I tried turned out to be a tasteless disappointment, and this looks delicious. Definitely gonna take a crack at it!

  7. Fran says:

    I make a very similar version of vegetable miso soup regularly ! I often add a vegan chicken-soup bouillon as well. Even when I’m aiming for “chicken” soup taste, I can’t forego the miso. It adds such a nice depth to the broth.

  8. Stefanie says:

    Wow, you make Japan sound exactly as cool as it looks. I hope I get the chance to visit someday! I love a good miso soup with lots of added veggies- awesome recipe! Thanks!

  9. This soup looks right up my street.

  10. samantha says:

    Thank you for this! It will be perfect for me. :)

  11. Shaina says:

    I love Japanese food; I’d love living over there… This soup sounds great, Pinned!

  12. kirsten says:

    I lived in Misawa Japan for three years, and your blog post perfectly and beautifully captured so much that I miss and appreciate about the Japanese culture. Thanks for both the recipe and the insider’s perspective of Japan

  13. EVA says:

    My lifelong dream has always been to go to Japan….of course I’m only 18, but I feel like it’s so expensive to go there that even in the classic traveling age of early 20’s that I still wouldn’t be able to afford it. I’m trying to attempt an art internship there, hopefully a free trip and great experience!

    I’m not sure I’ve ever tried any Japanese dishes due to the fear of them not being gluten free (besides in the past, when my former Navy cousin would send me Japanese candy). I have all but the miso on hand, so I shall check ‘er out! I love it when you post meal recipes.

    1. Casey says:

      hey, don’t let the thought of money stop you. Going to Japan has been my lifelong dream as well, and I’m finally making it happen this year (at the age of 24). The internship would be fun, and there are also other ways of traveling without having big-vacation expenses. I am going to WWOOF (volunteer on organic farms) or you could wait until after college and get a job teaching English (there are many programs for this).

      Good luck with getting the internship!! don’t let anything stop you :)

      1. EVA says:

        Wow, thanks for the words of wisdom! Volunteering at the organic farms sounds awesome. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to be an English teacher because I don’t know Japanese and I am a TERRIBLE teacher! I’m hoping the Japanese culture will be able to appreciate my art, since manga is huge and I’m a comic book artist.

        And I REALLY hope you have a great time in Japan! Report back on a random comment to tell us all how it went. I EXPECT PICTURES AND LINKS.

        I’m very demanding when it comes to such things.

  14. Angela says:

    What noodles are those in the pictures?

  15. Cora says:

    YUM. Do you cook the (soba) noodles completely separately and just add them in at the very end!?

    1. Very end. Sorry, post updated!

  16. vhema says:

    i should definitely give this it a try. it looks so yummy. this is my kind of food.

  17. I really loved Japan too! Though I could only stay for a week and a bit, before it started to break the bank! I was living in Korea at the time, so a short visit was quite easy.
    I love any miso based dish, so I am sure that I will love this soup!

  18. becauseHeloves! says:

    Looks amazing! I was in DC last week for a field trip, and loooved it!

  19. Suzanne says:

    What type of miso? The recipe doesn’t specify. Thanks.

    1. Bc says:

      I’m also wondering way kind of miso you prefer to use for this recipe.

      1. I’ve done it with both red and white, and both are delicious.

        1. B c says:

          Thank you!
          Is there a brand you find better than others?

  20. You are a wonderful narrator, I loved reading your memories of Japan. Such profound insights in so few lines! Thank you :)
    And as some others I’d be excited to see a mochi recipe here one day!