Healing foods: Hearty Miso Soup

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Last week I wrote about immune-boosting strategies. One of my favorite immune-boosting meals is a big bowl of hearty miso soup. I’m not talking the little bowl you get before your sushi with a couple of cubes of tofu and the odd bit of seaweed. I’m talking about a nice, hearty, nourishing bowl of nutrient-packed goodness.

Miso is a type of fermented soy, so it’s easy to digest. This soup is very alkalinizing and balancing for your system, so it’s a great meal to eat on your way into or out of a cleanse. It’s also a great vegan alternative to chicken soup if you’re feeling under the weather and want a little warm soup love to make you feel better.

Here’s a recipe I’ve adapted from what I’ve learned from Chef James.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 large shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 4 large savoy cabbage or bok choy leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup adzuki beans or quinoa, pre-soaked and cooked (if using canned beans, make sure they’re the low- or no-sodium variety and are well rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons red miso
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (tip: keep your ginger in the freezer and use a zester on it, still frozen)
  • 1/4 cup arame, kombu or wakame (if you’re using kombu or wakame, cut them with scissors into thin strips)
  • 1 green onion, chopped


In a medium sized sauce pan, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the shitake mushroom, a dash of salt, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add carrot, savoy cabbage, and adzuki beans or quinoa. Stir to mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

While veggies are cooking, bring water to boil in a kettle. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of boiling water to the 2 tablespoons miso paste, and whisk together to form a more liquid-y paste using a fork.

Add remaining water plus miso mixture to the pot with the veggies. Mince ginger, seaweed and green onion into the soup. Stir to mix thoroughly. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to soften the seaweed, and serve immediately.

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  1. nicola @ gfreemom

    January 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks Margaret. I LOVE miso soup, but never thought about making it at home until now. This, and your immune boosting post, will change that.

  2. Margaret Floyd

    January 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks so much Nicola! It’s such a delicious soup and really so easy to make. I had it for lunch just today. That very bowl in the picture 😉

  3. Shirley @ gfe

    January 31, 2011 at 6:57 am

    While I avoid soy, this soup does look absolutely delicious! So sad to see D-Tox January end, but happy to find your blog! 🙂


    • Margaret Floyd

      January 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Hi Shirley! I avoid soy, too, but in this case it’s in its most digestible form: fermented. As long as you’re getting organic miso made from non-gmo soybeans it’s okay to have once in a while. Great to find you too!

  4. Eileen

    January 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I believe you can also get Miso made from Brown Rice, no soy, correct Margaret? Miso soup is also great when you feel sick or run down. Amazingly healing!

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 31, 2011 at 9:54 am

      I’ve never heard of that, but it’s possible. I buy tempeh made from rice and black beans from an amazing fermented foods seller at the farmers market here, so I’m sure a paste of fermented rice is possible. Yes, miso soup is incredibly healing.

  5. Yael

    December 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Margaret just came across your site by accident was really looking for a recipe to use with shiro miso paste I just bought. Your recipe just happened to be the one where I had all the ingredients in the house. I must say it turned out sensational, the taste was rich with complex flavors and felt very nourishing going down. I like that it took no time to make and was ready very quickly. I will be making this again. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to checking out the rest of your site.

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Delighted that you like the recipe! It’s one of my personal favorites.

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  7. Debra Joy

    February 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Everyone one around me is very sick today. I’m making lots of this to feed the village. Thanks so much for this Margaret and Chef James!

    It’s always a big hit when I bring it to friends.

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