Miso is a paste made from fermented rice or barley as well as soy or other beans, sea salt, and water. This seemingly simple soup dish has gained respect and popularity in recent years both for its impressive nutritional benefits and satisfying taste. The color, taste, texture, and quality varies greatly depending on the ingredients, fermentation duration, and the skill of the producer. One good brand is South River Miso made in Western MA (available in the refrigerator section of most Whole Foods).
Miso is low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients such as vitamin K, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamin-B complexes, protein, copper, manganese, and zinc. Rich in natural enzymes miso soup has long been known to improve digestion. A natural probiotic to nourish the gut microbiome.
1-inch piece wakame sea vegetable, soaked and sliced into thin strips
4 c. water
½ – 1 tsp. brown rice miso per cup of liquid
½ c. thinly sliced vegetables such as onion, celery, carrot, turnip, leek
1 -2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
Firm tofu, about 10 small cubes (optional)
Finely chopped scallion for garnish
- Rinse wakame and soak until soft (1 – 2 minutes) then slice.
- Bring water with wakame and mushrooms to a boil over medium-high flame.
- Add vegetables and tofu and let return to a boil. Simmer approximately 5 – 10 minutes (until vegetables soft).
- Remove a small amount of broth and dissolve miso paste in it.
- Return broth to the soup. Simmer for a few minutes (do not boil miso because it destroys the natural enzymes and probiotics). Garnish with scallion and serve.
Miso soup is supposed to be brothy – not a dense, hearty soup. Make enough for two days but do not microwave when you reheat. Microwaving will destroy the medicinal benefits of the miso.
I recommend South River brand miso. They produce a variety of miso. I use the 3-year brown rice miso regularly for miso soup because the longer aged the miso is the more health benefits it has. I also like for variety and a lighter soup the chickpea or sweet rice miso.
Leslie Frodema, RN