This homemade vegan miso soup is easy to make and packed with flavor. Ready in 30 minutes with traditional ingredients (plus easier to find substitutes!)
Miso soup is my ultimate sick day food. The depth of flavor, belly filling warmth, and delicious umami always seems to kick whatever cold I have to the dust. Plus, I can always add tons of add-ins for a more filling meal or keep it simple if I don’t feel like eating much. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be sick to eat it!
Miso soup is a traditional Chinese soup that was brought to Japan 1,300 years ago. The original version used slat, grains, and soybeans (which is also the base of miso paste). It was not only nourishing, but a great way to preserve food during warm weather months.
Today, you can buy miso soup pre-made or “just add water” version in almost every supermarket. Sometimes however, store bought miso soup is made with fermented skipjack tuna or dried fish flakes, known as Katsuobushi. I obviously thought we need a vegan version, and so here we are! Let’s get cooking.
Miso Soup Ingredients
By nature of miso soup, it has miso paste (fermented soy bean paste) which is packed with umami – so tons of flavor! But to mimic the dried fish that we do not have in here, I wanted to add mushrooms and bok choy for earthiness, kombu (kelp) for saltiness, and tofu for substance to this vegan miso soup. The main ingredients in vegan miso soup are:
- Kombu: Kombu is a type of seaweed traditionally found in miso. Find it in most Asian supermarkets! If you are having trouble finding kombu, you can leave it out of the recipe and instead add ¼ cup of soy sauce to help develop that umami flavor. Or replace all of the dashi (kombu broth) with vegetable broth)
- Miso: Miso paste is a delicious fermented condiment can be found in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores. It adds savory deliciousness to this soup.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: Really any type of mushroom will do well here, but I like using shiitake for their rich flavor and texture.
- Bok Choy: I love the crispy crunch of bok choy! It makes this miso soup ultra-nourishing.
- Tofu: Silken tofu adds a nice texture to this soup without overpowering the other delicate flavors.
- Green Onions: Finish it off with one of my favorite types of onions, green onions (aka scallions).
Kombu cooks quickly, so be careful to not over cook it. If overcooked, the soup can turn bitter.
How to make Tofu Miso Soup
Making this miso soup is super simple and quick! It only takes 20 minutes start to finish to develop an intense depth of flavor.
Step 1: Dashi
The first step is to make the dashi. Dashi is basically a broth made from kombu seaweed. It is traditionally a family stock often using a recipe passed down from generations. To make this one, Add kombu to water and set over medium/high heat. Heat, watching closely, until water is steaming and just about to boil. Remove and discard the kombu. Don’t overdo it on cooking the kombu or it will become bitter.
Step 2: Soup
Sometimes miso can seize when introduce to liquid, so I’ve developed a trick to make sure it fully incorporates! Place miso in a soup ladle. Slowly lower it into the hot broth, whisking miso in the ladle while lowering, until miso is fully dissolved into the soup.
Step 3: Fillings
Add mushrooms, boy choy, and tofu. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer to get everything nice and hot. We only need the ingredients to be heated through, so be carefully not to cook too long where they become mush.
Step 4: Serve
The last step is the green onions to ensure their punchy flavors stays intact. Stir in green onions and serve!
Storage: Miso soup stores very well. Let it cool completely and then store in an air tight container in the fridge for 3 days. You could also store this is the freezer by letting it cool and then pour into ice cube trays and freeze. After frozen, transfer these cubes to an air tight container or plastic bag and keep in freezer for up to 3 months.
Variations: This broth can be used in many ways. I like to add it to ramen noodles but you could also use a splash in mashed potatoes or to make a salad dressing. The flavor of miso and umami is incredibly versatile.
More Mix In’s: With this broth, you can add many different filling ingredients. This could be radishes, carrots, spinach, bean sprouts, or a meat if not making this miso soup vegetarian.
Why this Recipe Works
Since you are probably already making this amazing soup, you may not be fully paying attention to what I am about to say. But if you are, here are more reasons why you should already be making the soup!
- Vegan-friendly might seem obvious, but not all miso is vegan so this one ticks that box!
- Easy to make is another win for this soup. It only takes 4 steps and 30 minutes (including prep). And my personal favorite sign of an easy recipe is that it all cooks in one pot so less clean up!
- Versatile is the name of the game. I mean what other dish can you eat on it’s own, use in mashed potatoes, or add to amp up the flavor of a glaze?
Why is miso not vegan?
Miso paste is traditional vegan, but miso soup is not. This is because miso soup often using dried fish to create the dashi or broth base.
Is miso good for your gut?
Miso is a fermented food and is packed with probiotics (similar to kombucha and kimchi). This helps the body maintain healthy bacteria levels, allowing the good gut bacteria to flourish and the bad gut bacteria no room to grow.
Miso Soup Pairings
If you need more to eat with this vegan miso soup, try any of these tasty dishes!
- Thai Cucumber Salad: Crunchy and tangy, this cucumber-based salad pairs with the savory umami soup perfectly.
- Citrus Watercress Salad: Pair your soup with something a bit sweet by going with this salad!
- Zucchini Corn Salad: Zucchini and corn salad is easy to whip up and is nice and filling.
- Grilled Watermelon Salad: This watermelon and feta salad is perfect contrast to the warm and cozy soup.
- Miso Eggplant: Keep the miso love going with this roasted miso-glazed eggplant dish!
- 2 pieces kombu about 4×4 in each
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup miso
- 5 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 2 cups shopped bok choy
- 12 oz silken tofu cubed
- 1 cup sliced green onions
- Dashi: Add kombu to water and set over medium/high heat. Heat, watching closely, until water is steaming and just about to boil. Remove and discard the kombu.
- Soup: Place miso in a soup ladle. Slowly lower it into the hot broth, whisking miso in the ladle while lowering, until miso is fully dissolved into the soup.
- Fillings: Add mushrooms, boy choy, and tofu. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer to get everything nice and hot.
- Serve: Stir in green onions and serve!