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Miso Soup: A simple, kitchen sink, love bowl for one

Miso Soup feels like a long lost friend, a tummy hug, a bowl of absolute simple goodness. It is also one of the quickest and most versatile soups around. From start to finish this will take you 15min, and leave you with a gingery, garlicky, nutty, flavorful broth, packed with vibrant veggies.

Here, I offer a framework for a recipe for one abundant love bowl, if you'd like to make it for a family, simply adjust the measurements per servings.

For ingredients it is really what you have on hand. I have been making miso soups for the last 15-20 years, at one moment it was what I ate for breakfast each day with a bowl of rice. I have yet to make it the exact same way twice. For me, that flexibility is part of its embracing appeal. So, by all means read through, make it this way, or just substitute with what you have on hand or what you love.

  • 1/2 cup shredded sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash, or parsnip etc...

  • 1 chunk fresh ginger, peeled (I use about a 2-3 inch hunk because I am a ginger nut, by all means whatever amount feels right to you)

  • 1-2 cloves garlic

  • 1 green onion (or a little onion if you do not have green)

  • 1 bundle of soba noodles (or ramen, or whatever noodles if you want to add them, in reality I usually use about 2/3 of one bundle of soba, which I love because they are 100% buckwheat)

  • 2 tablespoons miso, yet taste as you go too. This day I used white miso paste which is more mild and versatile recipe wise as a pantry staple, its a great basic miso to have on hand. Yet, red miso paste gives you the most richness and depth if that is what you are craving.

  • a handful of broccoli florets, or cut up kale, Swiss chard, spinach, asparagus etc...

  • a small handful of walnuts or whatever raw nuts you like

  • a dash of toasted sesame oil

  • chili flakes, or fresh chili if you like heat

  • seaweed strips or Wakame if you like seaweed, you barely taste it, yet its loaded with vitamins

  • cilantro or avocado cubbed, not traditional at all, yet delicious

  • protein: if you are craving more substance by all means add some cubed tofu, or left over chicken, some shrimp, or even cook an egg into broth similar to egg drop soup - this is in no way traditional, but if it makes this soup wonderful to you, that is what matters the most

In a medium sized pot bring about 2.5 cups of water to the boil. As it comes to the boil, in a mortar and pestle add in your ginger, garlic, and the white part of the green onion (if using regular onion, add in 2tbsp chopped regular onion) and smash it all up. You can mash it into a paste, yet I like it a bit rough, every now and then you come across a zing of fresh garlic or ginger that way. Grate your sweet potato, this allows it to cook super fast and texture wise it mimics and blends in with the noodles. Pop the ginger garlic onion mixture and the grated sweet potato into the boiling water and cook for about 2-3 min on high.

Meanwhile in the wiped out mortar and pestle add in a small handful of raw walnuts, these are packed with healthy fats and add a subtle earthiness to the broth. In the bowl you plan to eat this out of, add the crushed walnuts and 2 tbsp miso paste, whisk in 2 tbsp of the hot garlic ginger broth just to make a loose paste, so that when you add in the remaining soup the miso paste/nut mixture blends in evenly, then set the bowl aside. It is important to never bring miso to a boil to ensure its health benefits. You bring the hot water/broth to the miso paste rather add the miso to the boiling liquid.

By this time, your garlic and ginger has cooked enough to remove any raw bitter taste and has infused the water with a ton of flavor. While it is boiling, add in any seaweed now to your pot on the stove, and the broccoli, or whatever green veg you have on hand, as well as your soba noodles. It should take 5 more minutes to cook the soba and broccoli. Most soba noodles come in packs like this where they are already separated into servings which is super convenient. I find about 1/2-2/3 of one of these bundles is plenty for me with everything else going on, if you are hungrier add more, if you want this noodle free, they are entirely optional too. At about 4 min in, when you are almost done, add in your protein if you like really just to heat through. I'm assuming here its already been cooked if its meat or fish, or crack an egg in to make egg drop soup style. I like it just as is without any extra protein, maybe some tofu cubes if I add anything.

Once the noodles are cooked, gently ladle the soup into the bowl with the miso/walnut paste and give it a few gentle dip stirs to incorporate the miso paste into the broth fully.

Then add whatever toppings you choose. Here, I have drizzled a dot of toasted sesame seed oil, added some chili flakes, cilantro, the cut up green part of that green onion and cubed avocado. This combo with the creaminess of the avocado, the floral freshness of the cilantro, and the heat of the chili balances the subtle richness of the miso walnut ginger garlic broth perfectly. Its my favorite lunch or dinner for one on those days, and a cozy way to warm up on cold days without feeling heavy from comfort foods either.

Like this soup: "There is no right way to do life. There's only stuff that works and stuff that doesn't, and you're the one who gets to decide." - Brian Andreas

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