Friday, January 25, 2013

Marvelous Miso

The following is a guest post by my lovely sister, Rachel.

Basic Miso Soup
My new favorite soup to make is miso soup.  I've always loved it at Japanese restaurants and just discovered how easy and tasty it is to make!  The brand I like best from our local Asian market is Miso & Easy.  It looks like a ketchup bottle and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after opening, so I scowled at it and made my way to the tubbed misos in the refrigerated section.  Miso & Easy came out the winner over the fancy varieties, with no GMO soybeans or preservatives.  I know unpasteurized miso is ideal, and I can't tell if this is or not.  You can let me know if you come across a superior product.  Here's a basic recipe as I've adapted it from this original recipe.


    1 8oz package mushrooms, sliced (added by me and not in the nutrition facts)
    4 cups water
    1/3 cup miso
    3 green onions (scallions), chopped
    1 tbsp shredded nori or wakame seaweed
    1/2 block soft or firm silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
    dash soy sauce (optional)
    1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)


    Saute sliced mushrooms in water or oil. When tender, add water to a slow simmer.  Add seaweed. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.
    Reduce heat to the lowest setting and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until miso is well dissolved. Its best not to boil the miso, as this will ruin some of it's healthy properties as well as change the flavor of the soup. Makes 4 servings.

    Nutrition Facts (from Calorie Count):
    One serving provides approximately:
    Calories: 91, Calories from Fat: 32
    Total Fat: 3.5g, 5%, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, 3%
    Cholesterol: 0mg, 0%
    Sodium: 882mg, 37%
    Total Carbohydrates: 8.6g, 3%
    Dietary Fiber: 1.6g, 6%
    Sugars: 2.1g, Protein: 6.8g, Vitamin A 3%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 5%, Iron 8%, based on a 2000 calorie diet

    You can add other vegetables if you like.  Spinach would be good.

Now here are some reasons to make this soup, other than the fact that it's oh so delicious:


1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.
3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.
4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.
5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).
6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.
7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.
9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.
10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.
See this website for more history about miso and uses for it. The dipping sauce, cheese, and salad dressing sound the most intriguing to me.  Pass on any good miso recipes my way!


  1. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  2. There is this great book that was gifted to me called Wild Fermentation. It has a detailed section on making miso. The author is really fabulous. I highly recommend the book :)

    1. And thanks for the recipe!! I've been wanting to get into sea weed.

  3. Thanks, Rachel! I've never tried miso yet, but fermenting soy is the traditional way to prepare it, and a great way to get your umami! :) I'd love to try making my own. I'll check out that recipe in Wild Fermentation.

    I was curious about the comment that miso is great source of B12 and read the page you linked containing those 10 points. As there was no citation there, I did a little digging, and found a couple interesting pages by Jack Norris (author of Vegan for Life). He said that two studies have measured the vitamin B12 content of miso and have found none ( I started reading another page on his website with some in-depth explanations of how vegans might obtain B12 from plant sources ( Quite an interesting read (a little over my head sometimes).

    I have heard that nori might contain minute amounts of B12, and Norris addresses that in the latter post above. Here's a more brief discussion of nori and B12, for those interested:

    Regarding raw miso, I can only imagine it would be better, but would hesitate to use it in a soup, since that's akin to pasteurization in my mind. I wince at using my raw dairy, raw nuts, raw coconut oil (etc.) in baking for that very reason.

  4. Good tips ladies! Thanks for the additional research and book recommendations.