A warming soup filled with nutrition, this brothy bowl is a twist on miso soup served at Japanese restaurants. Instead of a clear soup with a couple of tofu cubes, it’s filled with tempeh, zucchini noodles, mushrooms and chicken broth. You could use vegetable broth for a vegan soup. If your New Years eating plan includes lighter, healthier foods, this vegetable miso soup will help with your healthy eating resolution.
Miso and tempeh are traditional, nourishing, fermented foods. Miso is a Japanese condiment and all purpose seasoning. It’s been made for centuries following through a double fermentation process with soybeans, cultured grain (rice or barley), and salt.
While miso is most known for making soup, it can be used as a flavoring in many other dishes. The lightest style is sweet white miso, with a gentle flavor and smooth, creamy texture. I could eat it right out of the jar. Miso provides that “umami” flavor that is rich and savory, like in soy sauce, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
Tempeh is a terrific plant-based protein to add to your diet. Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans. It has a meaty, chewy texture and a nutty flavor. As a fermented food, tempeh a good source of probiotics which promotes gut health. Tempeh also contains all of the essential amino acids, so it’s a complete source of vegetarian protein. Just 3 ounces provides approximately 16 grams of protein. I’ve been buying LightLife Organic, original flavor. Look for tempeh in the refrigerated dairy section of health-oriented and ethnic markets.
The Rest of The Soup
Now that I’ve gotten carried away explaining miso and tempeh, what about the rest of the soup? I used homemade chicken broth as the liquid. You could also use vegetable broth for a vegan soup.
For vegetables, I added zucchini noodles and mushrooms. Use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles, or a hand julienne peeler. You don’t even need to cook them, just add them to your bowl and pour the hot broth over the top.
For mushrooms, I love the little beech mushrooms. They come in cello packages that last forever in the refrigerator. Use your favorite mushrooms. Even small white mushrooms will do, just be sure to slice them thin or quarter them, then brown. Don’t eat them raw.
- My favorite miso comes from South River Miso. A family owned, artisan company located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, this family has been making organic, unpasteurized miso for 37 seasons. Yes, you have to order on line and yes we all hate paying for shipping, but this miso is really worth it. Check out their other flavors as well. Miso lasts months (and years) when refrigerated.
- Another brand I have tried, purchased from Whole Foods, is Miso Master. It is also organic and unpasteurized. Find it in the refrigerated dairy section. Miso Master is good, but I still prefer South River.
- Make homemade vegetable broth, It’s far superior in flavor and nutrition than anything store bought, and it’s easy to make
- As both miso and tempeh are made from soybeans, buy organic products so you are not buying GMO (genetically modified) soybeans
- For gluten-free eaters, be sure to read the labels and buy products made only with brown rice and not barley, or no grains at all.
- Miso tends to be high in sodium so again, read labels and compare. Sweet white miso tends to be the lowest in sodium. The flavor of miso is concentrated, so a little goes a long ways. South River sweet white miso is lower in sodium than other brands I’ve tried. Read more about miso on the South River website.
Try These Other Miso Recipes
- Pan-seared Halibut with Miso Glaze
- Seared scallops with orange-miso sauce. This sauce also works beautifully with boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable Miso Soup with Tempeh
- 6-8 cups low or no sodium chicken broth preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sweet white organic miso low sodium
- 4 small zucchini about 1 pound
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 8 ounces small mushrooms or 2 packages beech mushrooms
- 12-16 ounces organic tempeh no flavor added, cut into small cubes
- 4 scallions sliced
- a spiralizer or a julienne peeler to make the noodles
- Add broth to a medium pan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat, covered. Whisk in the miso. When broth is hot, turn to low and keep hot for serving.
- Cut ends off of the zucchini. Using a spiralizer or julienne peeler, slice zucchini into thin noodles. Portion noodles between four bowls.
- To prep mushrooms: if using regular mushrooms, rinse lightly, trim the stem and slice thinly. If using beech mushrooms, just slice off the base.
- Add coconut oil to a non-stick pan and melt over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Place mushrooms in a small bowl to add to soup. Save the pan for cooking the tempeh.
- Add more 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to the non-stick pan if dry and heat over medium heat. Add tempeh cubes and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
- To serve, pour hot broth over the zucchini noodles, then top with the mushrooms, tempeh cubes and hoped scallions.