Miso is a Japanese product made from fermented soybeans, wheat, rice or barley. It is commonly used as a flavoring agent for soups, sauces or pickling applications in Japanese culture. When making miso, soy is commonly used with other items added into the mixture. Yeast is then added to begin the fermentation process, creating a buttery textured paste. Miso is an essential ingredient for the classic and delicious Japanese recipe miso soup.
Miso Soup Nutrition
Miso contains several essential vitamins and minerals, as well as poly and monounsaturated fats. It also has a high level of protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You can consume as much as 7.78gm of carbohydrates, 3.36gm of fat, 6.02gm of protein, 1.9gm dietary fiber, 998mg sodium and 367mg potassium from one serving of miso. The soup is also high in manganese, zinc, iron, calcium, copper and vitamin C. Because miso soup is high in sodium it should be consumed in moderation.
Miso Soup Benefits
The nutrition in miso soup is the key to the overall health benefit of consuming this dish.
- Minerals. There are several benefits to consuming miso soup as part of your regular diet. Miso is high in zinc which can help to heal wounds and boost the immune system. The high amounts of copper and manganese in this ingredient can also help to protect the body from oxidative damage from free radicals while improving overall energy levels.
- Antioxidants. Miso also contains high amounts of antioxidants which will further boost the immune system and limit damage. Miso contains vitamin K which assists with blood clotting to prevent excessive bleeding during injury.
- Amino Acids. The combination of ingredients in miso soup is high in amino acids that allow this meal to act as a complete protein.
- B Vitamins. The vegetables in this soup are a good source of B vitamins with miso providing an excellent source of vitamin B12 in particular.
- Dietary Fiber. Miso is also high in dietary fiber that can improve overall digestive health. It helps to stimulate digestive fluid production in the stomach, replaces essential probiotics and strengthens the quality of lymph fluid and blood for better overall bodily function.
- Essential Bacteria. Miso is fermented, which means this product contains essential bacteria that can improve the digestive system. Fermented products, particularly those made of soy like miso, have been found to lower women’s risk of breast cancer. It can also help to control estrogen levels in a woman’s body.
- Others. Wakame seaweed, an additional ingredient commonly found in miso soup is known for helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The combination of miso and wakame is found to be helpful in battling disorders caused by nicotine consumption.
Miso Soup Recipes
Miso has a sweet and salty flavor that is ideal for a wide variety of recipes. The color of this ingredient may vary from light yellow to brown. Lighter varieties are sweeter and ideal for applications in warm weather while dark miso has a heartier flavor that is better suited to combinations with dark, leafy greens, cubed root vegetables or wakame sea vegetables consumed during colder months. You should add just enough miso to a recipe to increase the overall flavor of your dish without making it too salty.
1. Japanese Miso Soup
- 3 cups dashi stock
- 6 ounces firm silken tofu or soft tofu if desired
- 2 ½-3 tablespoons of miso based on personal preference
- 2 teaspoons of dry wakame
- 1 green onion
- If you are not preparing dashi stock from scratch, combine 1 ¼ teaspoons dashi powder or a dashi packet to 3 cups of water to create the stock in a medium saucepan.
- Bring the stock to a boil and then allow the dashi to simmer for 5 minutes before straining the stock.
- Dissolve the miso into the stock, adding as much or as little as you desire based on your flavor preference.
- Add the wakame and tofu. Note that the tofu may dilute the flavor of the miso so it may be necessary to increase the amount within the soup.
- Do not allow the soup to return to a boil as this can reduce the flavor.
- Serve the soup warm, garnishing with sliced green onion.
The following video provides additional instruction for preparing this recipe:
2. Miso Soup with Noodles
- 2-3 ounces firm tofu chopped into cubes
- 2 ounces dry soba noodles
- 1 handful of spinach or watercress with the stems trimmed
- 2-4 tablespoons miso paste to taste
- 1 handful cilantro
- 2 sliced green onions with the tops removed
- 1 pinch of red pepper flake
- Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions in salted water.
- Drain the noodles and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Shake off the excess water. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer before removing from the heat.
- Pour some water in a bowl to dissolve the miso pate so it thins and will not clump.
- Stir this into the pot of water and adjust the amount of miso to suit your taste.
- Add the tofu and remove the water from the heat, allowing the soup to sit for around one minute.
- Place the noodles in 2-3 bowls and pour the miso broth on top.
- Add green onion, watercress, spinach, red pepper flake and cilantro to each serving as desired and consume.