What is miso all about?
If you haven’t heard of miso before, it’s a type of fermented soybeans. Miso usually comes in the form of a paste and can be added to soup, salad dressings, or stir-fry for a boost of flavor. But besides flavor, miso is one of those incredible, good-for-you foods that we don’t hear about all too often.
Miso is your gut’s best friend.
What makes miso so healthy for our bodies, and particularly our digestive and immune systems, is the fermentation. During fermentation, enzymes and probiotics are formed naturally in the soybeans, and we consume them when eating miso. Instead of your stomach working solo to break down all the food you eat, you can think of these enzymes and probiotics as your stomach’s helpful assistants. Since they help with the process of breaking down food, your body can expend less energy during the digestive process—meaning you won’t feel so sluggish after eating a large meal!
What are some other fermented foods?
Other examples of fermented foods are kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, water kefir, and coconut yogurt.
What else can miso and fermented foods help with?
- The digestive system requires certain conditions such as optimal nutrition, fiber, and probiotics.
- Your body’s systems are interconnected and an imbalance can trigger a domino effect (acid reflux, indigestion, irritable bowel disease, etc.) and lead to poor absorption and malnourishment.
- When you adopt a plant-based diet and consume whole foodsandfermented foods, you give your body what it needs.
- Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your digestive system?
- Fermented foods contain naturally occurring probiotics. Antibiotics and digestive illnesses can reduce the number of good bacteria, weakening your immune system, so probiotics are especially helpful for those with a history of antibiotic use.
- In order to get the most benefit from fermented foods, incorporate them into most of your meals throughout the week.
- A few sips of a fermented beverage (such as kefir or kombucha) or a few tablespoons of fermented fruits or vegetables (such as sauerkraut) is all you need.
Country Miso Soup
10 minutes prep, 40 minutes total
10 full servings
Can last 3 days in the fridge
What’s In It:
- 10 cups water
- 1 sheet kombu
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small onion, halved and cut into slices
- 2 large carrots, peeled, halved, and cut into small pieces
- 2 to 4 stalks of celery, cut crosswise into small pieces
- 1 block organic tofu, cut into chunks
- 1 package King Soba brown rice noodles or kelp noodles
- 4 pieces of kale, stems removed and leaves cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup miso paste (½ dark and ½ light)
- ½ cup wakame (seaweed), soaked for 5 minutes and cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 green onions, chopped
How It’s Made:
Boil the 10 cups of water in a pot. Lower heat and add the strip of kombu and half the shiitake mushrooms (this adds extra nutrients to the soup broth). Add the onion, carrots, and celery and simmer for 30 minutes.
At the end of the 30 minutes, add the rest of the shiitake mushrooms and the tofu cubes and simmer for another 10 minutes. While that’s cooking, cook noodles according to package.
Add the kale to the soup and let simmer for 10–15 minutes.
Remove 1–2 cups of soup stock and pour in a separate bowl. Stir the miso paste into the separated stock*. Once dissolved, add the miso mixture, noodles, and wakame into the pot. Turn off the heat and stir.
Serve soup in bowls and garnish with chopped green onions.
*Always add miso paste at the end. Miso is very delicate and should never be boiled; too much heat will destroy its natural enzymes.