Food & Drink Magazine

Vegan Miso Soup

By Chuck Underwood @brandnewvegan

Miso Soup has been around for centuries, and is considered the ultimate comfort food for millions of people around the world. This week I tried my hand at making a very simple, but very tasty Vegan Miso Soup.

I hope you enjoy it.

Vegan Miso Soup

But isn’t Miso Soup already Vegan you might ask?

This may surprise you but no – it is not. You see the basic stock used to make Miso Soup, called Dashi, is made from 2 ingredients:

  • a type of kelp seaweed called Kombu
  • and something called Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi ) which are literally shavings from a smoked, dried type of Tuna.

So no, not Vegan.

Kombu is Vegan and is one of the main ingredients, so I took a trip to my local Whole Foods to pick up a pack. It comes in dried sheets, very much like the Nori Sheets used to make Sushi, and can be kept stored for a very long time.

By the way – to answer the question “Can I just use Nori to make Miso Soup?” that would be a definitive no. Not tradiitonal Miso Soup anyway.

True Miso Soup is made with Kombu. If you do not have a Whole Foods, try your Trader Joes, or other organic markets, and if nothing else, an Asian Market will definitely carry them. I’ll include Amazon links too.

To replace the Bonito Flakes – I tried something new and ground up a small package of dried Shiitake Mushrooms in my food processor. The broth this made, along with the Kombu, was VERY flavorful and I highly recommend it.

I can see this powder being used in lots of recipes.

I realize that many of the ingredients in this soup may be strange or unknown to many of you, but I will include Amazon links to all of the ingredients in the recipe below. I wanted to make this as authentic as I could and to me, the results were worth it.

You see, many of these ingredients have what is called an “Unami” flavor, which is one of the 5 basic tastes (sour, sweet, salty, bitter). Unami is the savory flavor, or the yummy flavor.

Umami was first scientifically identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, a professor of the Tokyo Imperial University. He found that glutamate was responsible for the palatability of the broth from kombu seaweed. He noticed that the taste of kombu dashi was distinct from sweet, sour, bitter, and salty and named it umami. – Wiki

So with the history lesson out of way, let’s go make some unami flavored vegan miso soup.

Vegan Miso Soup

Vegan Miso SoupVegan Miso Soup | Brand New Vegan

Start with a large soup pan and add 4 cups of cold water.

To this, add a 4-inch square piece of Kombu and turn the heat on med-high. I’ll put all the Amazon links down below for easy access.

Just as the water begins to boil, and you see the Kombu has completely rehydrated and begins to curl and bubble, turn down the heat to simmer. Then whisk in 1/4 cup of dried Shiitake Mushroom Powder.

To make the powder yourself, take a .5 oz package of dried Shiitake Mushrooms and grind them into a fine powder using a food processor (or Vitamix). I tried a coffee grinder and didn’t have much luck.

Note: I’ll also include a link to a pre-packaged powder you can buy down below. As I said – I see this being used in lots of recipes.

Allow the broth to simmer 10-15 minutes and then strain. You can save the piece of Kombu if you wish but it is mainly used to flavor the broth.

Place the broth back in the pan and then slowly stir in 4 tablespoons of Red Miso. Do not let the broth come to a boil – just a slow simmer as the excessive heat will destroy all the good enzymes in the Miso and change the flavor.

With the miso added, I simply stirred in 1 tablespoon of low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce will work also but Tamari is Gluten Free), an 8oz package of extra-firm Tofu I had cut into cubes, and about 3 to 4 Green Onions I sliced very thinly (about 1/4 cup).

The last ingredient to a traditional Miso Soup is another type of seaweed called Wakame, just a tablespoon or two. It also comes dried and will rehydrate into long ribbons one it mixes into the broth.

I, being as absent-minded as I am, picked up the wrong kind of seaweed when I was at Whole Foods, and bought something called Dulse instead. You can use dulse if you want, but wakame is traditional. Or – you could simply add 1/2 cup or so of shredded Kale – which is what you see in the video.

Dulse is a red seaweed and is being called the “Bacon of the Sea” due to its unique taste. It will work – but is chewier than wakame. Chop into thin strips before using.

The thing I like most about this soup, with all the different flavors and especially the different seaweeds – is how nutritious it is.

We’ve got protein, and potassium, and iron, and iodine, and all the healthy enzymes from the miso….  this Vegan Miso Soup is like a superfood!

Which is probably why millions of Asians eat this soup 3x a day and stay so thin and healthy (until we introduce them to fried chicken and pizza that is).

So that’s the recipe for the week.

It IS easy, but finding the ingredients might take a bit of effort. But as I said above, with all the nutritional qualities of this soup combined with its delicate unami flavor – I think it was well worth it.

If you make this please let me know how it turned out.

Thanks again for your support and until next week :

Keep on cookin’!

brandnewvegan Miso Soup has been around for centuries, and is considered the ultimate comfort food for millions of people around the world. This week I tried my hand at making a very simple, but very tasty Vegan Miso Soup.

Ingredient Links:

Note: The following are Amazon Affiliate Links and I do make a small comission on every purchase at no additional cost to you.

Print Vegan Miso Soup

Vegan Miso Soup

  • Author: Brand New Vegan
  • Vegan Miso Soup Yield: 3-4 servings
  • Vegan Miso Soup Category: Soup
  • Vegan Miso Soup Method: Stovetop
  • Vegan Miso Soup Cuisine: Asian, Vegan, GF
Vegan Miso SoupPrint


Miso Soup has been around for centuries, and is considered the ultimate comfort food for millions of people around the world. This week I tried my hand at making a very simple, but very tasty Vegan Miso Soup.


  • 4 cups water
  • 4″ square piece of dried kombu seaweed
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushroom powder
  • 1 Tbs low-sodium Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 4 Tbs red miso paste
  • 8 oz extra-firm tofu (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1-2 Tbs wakame or dulse dried seaweed
  • 1/2 cup kale (cut into thin strips) – optional


  1. Add the 4″ piece of Kombu to 4 cups of water – bring to almost boiling and then turn down heat
  2. Whisk is mushroom powder and simmer/stir until smooth
  3. Strain (or just remove kombu)
  4. Whisk in the Miso and make sure to break up any clumps
  5. Add Tamari, tofu, green onions and gently stir to mix
  6. Add wakame, or dulse, or kale and simmer until just wilted


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Vegan Miso Soup

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