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April 5, 2010

Quick and easy miso soup recipe

Miso soup 

When you order a bento box lunch at a Japanese restaurant, you typically start the meal with a bowl of miso soup. A fermented soybean or rice or barley paste, miso sounds weird, but isn't. With a few twists of the whisk, miso transforms plain water into a lightly salty soup stock. Where you take it from there is up to you; add little bits of tofu, greens, mushrooms, asparagus, soba or udon noodles. The lighter the color of the miso, the milder the flavor. I like mild miso for this soup.

Quick and easy miso soup

Inspired by many recipes online, especially from 101 Cookbooks, this recipe serves 4.


4 cups of water
2-1/2 Tbsp mild miso paste
1/2 cup diced firm or extra-firm tofu
2 large button mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
24 baby spinach leaves
Tiny pinch of red pepper flakes


In a 3 quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then turn the heat off. Place the miso paste in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, and add 2-3 Tbsp of the hot water to the miso. Whisk thoroughly, to a smooth paste. Then whisk the miso mixture back into the saucepan, until the miso is evenly distributed. Turn heat to simmer, and add tofu, mushrooms, spinach and red pepper flakes. Stir gently for 1 minute, then serve.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: pam | April 5, 2010 at 06:13 AM

I bought of tub of miso paste ages ago. I've got to find it in the back of my fridge and check the date! This would be wonderful quick soup for school.

Posted by: Milton | April 5, 2010 at 07:54 AM

Nice for a lunch soup....will try it today. many thanks

Posted by: susan from food blogga | April 5, 2010 at 09:53 AM

I always enjoy this soup in restaurants but never make it at home b/c I always forget to buy miso paste. Thanks for the delicious reminder, Lydia.

Posted by: Milton | April 5, 2010 at 03:32 PM

no tofu but the rest as listed.....delicious. thanks again. This is a bit of a benchmark soup for tasty yet so so easy to make and also so few ingredients. Maybe its time to say goodbye to those classic french vegetable soups??? haha

Posted by: Libby | April 5, 2010 at 07:14 PM

Thank you. I was lookking for something light after the big Easter dinner last night. This was perfect!

Posted by: Lydia | April 6, 2010 at 12:29 AM

Pam, time to dig out that miso! I've got a lovely little miso salad dressing on The Perfect Pantry, too.

Milton, I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I love that it's quick and easy, and not a heavy soup.

Susan, this soup makes such a great lunch or snack. It's worth having a tub of miso in the fridge.

Libby, this is perfect after a weekend of lots of eating.

Posted by: Julie | April 6, 2010 at 11:12 AM

This is one of those things that I never think of making and I have no idea why that is. I love miso soup and this looks so easy. Thanks for the inspiration.

Posted by: Dawn Hutchins | April 6, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I always order miso soup. Thanks you for the recipe and your blog is just what I've been looking for. I make a large pot of soup every Sunday for lunches and I always tend to do the same things. It will be great to find some ideas to change it up!

Posted by: Sandie {Inn Cuisine} | April 6, 2010 at 02:04 PM

Now this is where I've enjoyed Miso---in soup! If I buy a tub of Miso, I'll have to use it all up. Do you think this Miso soup & the Miso dressing featured you on The Perfect Pantry would be too much together for 1 meal?

Posted by: Lydia | April 7, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Julie, this is one of the easiest soups I've ever made!

Dawn, I always order the soup at Japanese restaurants, and when lunch comes with soup and salad both, I get a double dose of miso. So glad to meet another weekend soup maker!

Sandie, my favorite bento lunches are the ones when I start with soup and then find a bit of salad in my bento box. The soup is quite salty, as it should be for a starter, but the salad dressing is a bit sweet from the maple syrup and really doesn't taste strongly of miso So yes go ahead and serve them together, as the Japanese do.

Posted by: Cookin' Canuck | April 7, 2010 at 01:00 PM

I always feel that I have cleansed my body and palate after slurping up a bowl of miso soup. This looks so simple and nourishing.

Posted by: Will | May 3, 2011 at 09:37 AM

The whole process of making miso soup takes ten minutes or less. It's already quick and easy. But the most basic and important part here has been skipped. Making miso soup without dashi is like making chicken noodle soup without chicken stock.

Simplest Method for one serving of dashi(adjust accordingly for more servings):
Cut a few small strips off some kombu kelp, and take a small pinch of bonito flakes and but them in a heat-safe glass container. Boil one and a half to two cups of water and pour it over the dry ingredients. Let sit five minutes. Then you just strain the stock out and mix with the miso and continue with the recipe. It's so simple, and the flavor is so much more yummy and authentic with dashi.

Posted by: Willow | December 7, 2011 at 06:54 PM

The picture sure makes this a tempting bowl, but I'll have to think of something else to add to this besides tofu... can't do tofu.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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