It’s the time of year where rich, heavy dishes are becoming less appealing and I am longing for cleansing, lighter foods. However, it’s still a bit chilly out and yesterday it even snowed again! I thought we had seen the last of the snow, but I suppose not….
Luckily, the sun was shining so we had one last frolic in the snowy woods with a friend and her little man. It was a thick snow that clung to the trees and flew off in puffs in the wind. I have to admit, it was quite lovely although I do think I am ready to move on and embrace spring. It’s going to be so fun with a little one around!
The cold spring weather begs for some light, cleansing foods. I thought a warm and nourishing Spinach Miso Soup would fit the bill and it certainly did!
Miso is a rich and fulfilling (without being too heavy) way to get a fermented food into your diet. Increasingly, fermented foods have become popular because they contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that may benefit our gut health. Traditionally, miso is also considered to be one of the keys to longevity in some Asian cultures.
So what exactly is miso? It is actually fermented beans (and occasionally rice mixed in, too). The beans and rice undergo a long transformation (fermentation) process (usually over a year) before becoming a final product. Check out Wild Fermentation to make your own miso (I will be experimenting with this soon, too!). Miso is also available in the health section of many grocery stores and definitely can be found in all stores like Whole Foods.
Making miso soup is a pretty simple process and is quite customizable. I used tofu in ours, but you could leave this out. We also used spinach, but another leafy green or seaweed could replace this. You could take out the mushrooms, add other veggies, noodles, or whatever! Basically, this is like a vegetarian, probiotic version of chicken soup – highly customizable.
- 6 cups water (you could add some broth for part of this. I added a tablespoon of my broth powder)
- 2 cups spinach leaves, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
- 3 Tbs. minced scallions (I ended up using a whole scallion – why not?)
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari (we use Braggs Liquid Aminos)
- 1/3 cup mellow white miso paste
- 4 – 16 ounces firm silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (we like using sprouted tofu)
- Heat water/broth and bring to a boil over high heat
- Add spinach, mushrooms, scallions, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low.
- Place 1/4 cup of the hot water into a small bowl and mix in the miso. Blend it together well. Mix this back into the main soup mix, add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or you will destroy the probiotics.
- Adjust seasonings and serve warm.
Miso soup is one of the first Asian foods that I enjoyed when I was younger, and it is the first way that I became accustomed to tofu. I’m glad that I finally made this at home! Yum!