Hearty Veggie Miso Soup: The Perfect Rainy Day Food

It’s week 3 of summer vacation for us, and the rain just.won’t.stop.

So prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after 3 meals a day (plus snacks) has got me feeling a bit twitchy. Especially when the meals are met with groans and crossed arms.

I actually said the other day, “do you know that there are kids in the world who have NO FOOD?? I’m not kidding. They have zero food to eat!”

<I’ll pause briefly here while I accept my mother of the year award>

Anyway, my go-to cuisine when meal selection stagnation occurs: Asian food.

Maybe it’s because it’s in their blood, or maybe it’s because it’s just delicious… but my kids will hoark down just about any Korean/Japanese/Thai dish without asking any questions. I often wonder why I don’t just cook Asian food exclusively, but then I remind myself — it’s all about diversity. They need to learn to enjoy a rainbow quinoa bowl just as much as they do fried rice!

Need to enjoy? Yes! NEED TO! (Or I’ll kill myself trying. So, one of those 2 things will definitely happen).

Since I was refusing to go to the grocery store yet again (I really have to draw the line at 3 grocery store runs/week), I rummaged in my pantry and fridge for something quick and delicious, and found Japanese miso paste, Korean dwenjang paste (similar to miso, but stronger in flavor), tofu, and some random veggies. Which means I can make miso soup. PERFECT.

It may be 80 degrees outside, but it’s raining cats & dogs, so this is perfect for sitting in a glorious, dry, air conditioned house and slurping up a bowl of liquid comfort.

My favorite miso paste: Honzukuri Shirt Miso (without MSG!)
Korean dwenjang: a stronger flavor and chunkier texture compared with Japanese miso

Almost anyone who’s been to a sushi restaurant has had miso soup: miso broth, tofu cubes, some flakes of seaweed, and maybe a handful of scallions thrown on top. It’s usually served as an appetizer or a light side to sip between bites of sushi. But I frequently make heartier versions of miso soup as a main dish, served with rice and toasted seaweed (gim, in Korean).

Gim: or roasted seaweed. My newest obsession is this giant package from Costco – organic toasted seaweed from Korea. Buy a flat of them and you’ll be enjoying it for several months 🙂

My version has tofu and tons of veggies, so combined with the rice and seaweed, it really is a perfect, light, healthy dinner.

I used leftover veggies I found in my fridge/pantry: onion, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and spinach. But the variations are endless!

Once you know how to prepare the super easy soup base, you are only limited by your imagination. Throw in your favorite veggies and protein and you have yourself a tasty, comforting bowl of yumminess. My go-to protein for this soup is tofu, but you can try shrimp or chicken, too.

Cubed tofu: so delicious, my kids will just eat this in a bowl as-is. No cooking necessary!

I always keep miso paste and dashi granules (Japanese seafood stock) around, so I’m only a couple of ingredients away from an instant meal. The good thing is, the miso paste will keep for weeks in the fridge, as will the dashi granules in your pantry.

All you have to do is create the broth, add your protein & veggies, simmer and serve. Could it get any easier?

Nothing beats a healthy, one pot meal. Even without rice or other accompaniments, this makes a delicious dinner.

I like to serve mine with a plate of baby gim-bap (Korean sushi) — which is simply little balls of rice wrapped in the gim. Just take spoonfuls of rice (a silicon baby spoon works great as a scoop) and wrap a halved seaweed sheet around it. It creates a perfect toddler sized sushi bite.

So easy. So delicious.

Scoop baby spoonfuls of rice into halved seaweed sheets. My kids have been eating them since they started eating solids. It’s the perfect toddler sushi bite!
Slurrrrp! 30 seconds into dinner and her soup has already been gobbled up. Note: serve with beer (seen in background) and enjoy the sounds of food being consumed by kids with zero whining. Ahhhhh.

Below you’ll find my full veggie miso soup recipe, but I’ll list the basic miso broth ingredients separately so you can play around with it and make your favorite variation.

For the adults: serve the soup alongside a bowl of rice and some sheets of seaweed. Wrap your rice in the seaweed between spoonfuls of the yummy soup. Oh, and don’t forget the beer 😉

I hope you enjoy!

– Julie xo

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