Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nourishing Japanese Vegetable Soup

I love to make this soup when I want to nourish myself. I feel so good whenever I eat this. It is one of those recipes I make time and time again when I do my weekend cooking. It is a great way to use up those extra vegetables kicking around your kitchen.

This recipe originally came from Alicia's Silverstone's book The Kind Diet. In it she has a recipe for Magical Healing Soup. When I first made it, it came out kind of bland (for me, but her recipes and the cookbook are great) so I kept adjusting the recipe to find my perfect balance of flavors. This recipe is the result of a lot of trial and error and is now my favorite. I find that the dried mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger and soy sauce make a wonderful broth with a lot of depth.

Once you have the broth down, this soup is very versatile and I adapt it constantly depending on what vegetables I have on hand. Some of my other favorite add ins are leeks, broccoli, seaweed, squash and burdock root. Experiment and adapt this soup to suit your tastes.

Nourishing Japanese Vegetable Soup


6 cups water
1/2 ounce dried mushrooms; I use a forest blend with shiitake, oyster, and porcini
1/2 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1/2 bell pepper diced
Few leaves of kale, shard, or spinach to equal 1/2 cup chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger (I usually keep fresh ginger on hand in the freezer)
1/4 cup soy sauce
4-8 tsp miso paste


Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil and add the dried mushrooms. Let them simmer for 15-20 minutes to soften. If any of the mushrooms are large, fish them out when they have softened to dice them and then add them back into the pot.

Dice and add the vegetables in the order listed and simmer them until soft. About 20 minutes check every now and then until the veggies are a texture that you like. I like mine somewhat crisp and firm as opposed to very soft, but to each their own, right?

Mince the ginger and take the pulp in your hand and squeeze out the juice right over the pan, I like to add about 1/2 tsp of fresh minced ginger to the soup as well. Then add the soy sauce.

Finally, serve each bowl with a teaspoon or two of miso paste. Miso has good bacteria in it (like yogurt does) from fermentation, and boiling it kills the bacteria. So I like to serve the soup piping hot and add the miso paste to each serving. It takes a little while to dissolve so I get a small scoop with a measuring cup, and get some of the hot broth in it. Then, I add the miso paste to the measuring cup and stir it in with a fork to dissolve it. Lastly, I add that back into the bowl of soup and it is ready to serve. Miso can be salty, so start with 1 tsp and add more to your liking.

For 4 servings
Nutritional information from

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 464 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 156%Vitamin C 56%
Calcium 5%Iron 5%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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