MISO SOUP with SPRING GREENS
POSTED ON June 10, 2017
The enthusiastic response I got last week from posting a simple clean-out-the-fridge miso soup photo on Instagram made me realize I needed to share how I approach miso soup making. Essentially, miso soup can be prepared with any vegetables you have on hand any time of year; and, you needn’t follow a recipe.
Because it’s the perfect balance of a light yet deeply nourishing meal it has the ability to ground and soothe while seriously boosting immunity, miso soup is the perfect thing to eat for the transitional weeks between the seasons. Miso is what I reach for when I feel a tickle in my throat (which has been a lot during this cold, wet spring) or when I feel out of balance in any way. It has been used in Japanese cooking for centuries for maintaining optimum health and vitality.
This recipe is not only a great vehicle for adding any vegetables you have around, but also for cooked beans, grains and seaweed –which transforms the broth-y soup into a complete meal.
Although this recipe is simple and comes together quickly, I often whip up this Virtually Instant Miso Soup and find it hits the spot in about the time it takes to make a cup of tea. There is also a lot of helpful information in my post about miso and my favorite brands. The bottom line is that when you purchase naturally fermented, unpasteurized miso (from the refrigerated section of your grocery store) you are buying a product packed with probiotics that help support your immune system and overall health. The natural fermentation process breaks down the proteins and carbohydrates into easily assimilated amino acids, making miso a complete source of protein. For this soup I took advantage of the abundance of spring vegetables and decided to pack it with all sorts of tender greens. I have given the amounts of vegetables used so you can customize it to suit your mood and the contents of your fridge.
For my friends in the southern hemisphere check out Winter Miso Soup with Ginger and Kale.
Note: This soup includes a recipe for dashi which is a Japanese stock that includes dried shitakes and kombu and sometimes bonito flakes. Since it is used in so many recipes in Japanese cuisine, it’s the reason many dishes are not vegetarian. It’s a great mineral rich broth to make and use anywhere you would vegetable stock, plus its most likely the simplest broth you’ll make.
I usually add ginger juice to miso soup but this time I decided to leave it as it and enjoy the delicate flavors of the spring vegetables.
MISO SOUP with SPRING GREENS
This recipe requires 3 cups of sliced vegetables, if you are using winter squash, carrots or other harder vegetables allow extra simmering time for them to cook. When using delicate greens like I did, be sure to remove the pot from heat before adding them. Alternatively, you can add the most delicate greens to your bowl and pour the hot soup over. I recommend doing this if you are not serving all the soup at once, otherwise the greens will lose their vibrancy when stored in the fridge.
Makes 12 cups/serves 6
8 cups filtered water
3 dried shitake mushrooms
1 large strip kombu
2 teaspoons unrefined sesame oil
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cups sliced vegetables (I used: 1 cup radishes, 1 cup asparagus and 1 cup whole fiddle head ferns)
6 cups greens (I used a mixture of bokchoi, purple mustard, watercress, pea shoots)
1 cup peas, I used frozen, if you use fresh be sure to add them before the greens
2 to 3 tablespoons grated unpeeled fresh ginger, squeezed, optional
Thinly sliced scallions and chive flowers to garnish.
Make the dashi:
Add water, shitake mushrooms and kombu to a large pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.
Make the soup:
Meanwhile warm sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden. Transfer to dashi along with 3 cups vegetables—adding any firmer vegetables first and simmering until just tender then add faster cooking vegetables. I added radish first then asparagus and fiddle heads and cooked for 30 seconds. When vegetables are tender add hardy greens and cook 30 seconds more. Remove ½ cup of broth and pour it into a small bowl along with miso. Stir until dissolved—some miso will have larger pieces of beans and grains that won’t dissolve, which is fine. Stir into soup and taste, it should be complex and flavorful with a lightly salty finish. If it’s watery add more miso by dissolving it in a little more broth. Add peas and remove from heat. Stir in any delicate greens and ginger juice, if using. Serve topped with scallions and chive blossoms.
Once cool any leftover soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat gently making sure the miso does not boil as it will destroy the delicate enzymes.