Soup can be great for breakfast. On cooler mornings when I have an extra half hour or so, this Creamy Miso Soup is my choice. And then my husband Paul and I continue to appreciate the seemingly endless pot of soup as we enjoy it for both lunch and dinner as well. Perfect: cook once, eat thrice!
The creaminess and rich flavor of this healthy and hearty American-style vegetable soup comes from blending tahini with two varieties of Japanese miso and a bit of Thai Curry Paste. Creamy Miso Soup is vegan and gluten-free when prepared with soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat.
One of the first recipes posted on this blog was from our Yellowstone Park camping trip where we enjoyed a similar Miso Soup. I call that soup a “Camping Version” as its miso flavor comes from packets of dehydrated miso soup. Creamy Miso Soup is an equally hearty “Home Version” which gains its deliciousness from the blended miso/tahini/curry paste.
Miso “An Oriental Prince in the Land of Soup”
Easily digested and nutrient-rich miso is a remarkable living food with a consistency similar to a rough-textured nut butter though with a rich aroma and flavor all its own. Depending upon the variety, miso is made by fermenting different proportions of rice, barley, and/or soybeans with salt and the fungus koji from a few days to years. The highest quality miso is traditionally made without pasteurization or additives such as MSG.
Traditional white miso has a delicate, sweet flavor and is the most common style available in both Japan and the U.S. Traditional red miso, aged for a longer time in huge cedar barrels, is saltier than white miso, and has a deep, savory flavor.
- As a living food, miso requires refrigeration for storage.
- To preserve miso’s microorganisms, keep the soup from boiling once you have stirred in the miso.
A Rainbow of Colors, Textures, Tastes, Shapes & Nutrition
Use an assortment of seasonal veggies for the greatest variety of colors, textures, flavors and nutrients in your soup. For example, choose from reds (chard, cabbage, beets); greens (kale, chard, cabbage, celery, beans, peas); yellows and oranges (carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, corn, rutabagas, winter squash); and white (onions, summer squash, turnip, daikon).
You might also enjoy playing with different vegetable cuts from diced to sliced on an angle to chunky, to delicate julienne (matchsticks). Onions, for example, taste the same anyway you cut them, however the chefs at Cooks Illustrated found that onions hold their shape better in soups and stews when sliced from end to end (also known as pole-to-pole.)
Use a mixture of seasonal veggies for the greatest variety of colors, textures, flavors and nutrients in your soup. If you substitute kale for the chard, put it into the pot to cook at the same time you stir in the soba noodles.
Makes about 16 cups
1 medium onion, sliced pole-to-pole
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups roll-cut carrots
2 cups celery, 1/3-inch dice
2 cups, yam 1/3-inch dice
1 4-inch piece kombu
1/3 cup fresh ginger, minced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces soba noodles, broken in half
1 bunch chard: stems cut into ½-inch dice and greens cut into 1-inch wide strips
Miso/Tahini/Curry paste—process in the blender together until smooth
1/3 cup mellow white miso
¼ cup mellow brown rice miso
¼ cup tahini
1 teaspoon Thai Red or Green Curry Paste (or more to taste)
1 cup water
Pour the oil into the bottom of a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions. Cover the pot and cook the onions until translucent and beginning to color, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, drained yam, kombu, garlic, ginger and salt and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add 9 cups of water, cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water comes to a boil stir in the soba noodles and lower the heat so that the soup simmers.
After two more minutes stir in the chard greens.
After another two minutes, turn the heat down to low and stir in the miso/tahini/curry paste. Add half a cup of water to the blender to release any of the paste clinging to the sides of the blender jar.
Taste the soup and season to taste with salt or additional miso.
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