Miso Soup: What Is It, and Would It Be A Good Part of Our Vegan Diet?

Miso soup is a particularly well-known dish. It’s notorious thanks to its easy pronunciation and simple recipe. Plus, it tastes great!

What is miso soup?

Miso soup is a very simple and straightforward staple of Japanese cuisine. It’s made from any number of different vegetables and hunks of meat, all allowed to stew together in dashi stock, and in the presence of the (not so) secret ingredient: miso paste!

Dashi stock is a basic stock made up of bonito flakes (derived from fish), kelp, and anchovies. When cooked low and slow, you end up with a rich broth, full of all sorts of flavorings which are ideal for a hearty soup like Miso.

Miso paste is a fermented paste made up of a mixture of soybeans, sea salt, and rice koji. Rice koji is, at its most basic level, rice which has been inoculated with a fermentation culture. This means it’s slightly alive and is the driving force behind fermentation in the Miso paste.

Hearty tofu miso soup

Where is miso from?

Miso soup is a Japanese dish that can be found everywhere in both homes and restaurants across the country. 80% of all of the miso paste produced in a year is used in miso soup, and 75% of Japanese people eat miso soup at least once a day. It is a staple of a typical Japanese diet, and as such, there are many different ways to make it.

Fresh vegetables for Miso Soup

How do we make miso soup vegan?

The main non-vegetarian ingredient in miso soup is the fish-based stock, dashi. It does help to provide the dish with its signature flavor, but the miso paste is the star. For that reason, you can replace the fish stock with vegetable stock, and the soup will be vegan while still retaining most of its flavor.

For an authentic dish, you could consider adding in tofu rather than a meat substitute. This would still be vegan, while also being a little more faithful to the traditions of the meal.

Miso Paste for Soup

Miso soup is a supremely popular piece of Japanese cuisine, so it’s a great dish to have in your repertoire. Making it vegetarian with the use of vegetable stock is a great first step to experimenting with miso soup in your kitchen, and there are many other variables you can alter, too. Get out there and make some veggie miso today!

For our miso paste, we used 2 tbsp blended chickpeas, our Madparadiso turmeric paste, veg stock, ginger, soy sauce and crushed red chillies. A quick stir-fry whipped up using fresh peppers, beansprouts, babycorn, pak choi, cabbage and our marinated tofu. 

We marinated the tofu overnight in some of the miso paste, then flash fried it with the veg.