This quick and easy Japanese Noodle Soup with Miso can be made in less than 15 minutes! It is a great way to use leftover vegetables, and the protein options are versatile as well. Miso is not only a tasty broth, but it is also rich in beneficial live-active-cultures which are important for a healthy gut.
This is a regular dish in our household because it is super easy and adaptable. You can usually find some sort of leftover vegetable in your fridge that would work perfectly with this dish. Miso is a little bit of a ‘superfood’, I use Genmai Miso as its made of brown rice rather than white, so it still contains the bran making it even more nutritious. This Japanese Noodle Soup with Miso is sure to be a favourite in your house, as it is in mine!
Why I Made This Japanese Noodle Soup
Japanese Noodle Soup with Seaweed
Seaweed is such a valuable source of trace minerals and is one of our best sources of natural iodine aside from seafood. Seaweed also has the benefit of being a sustainable crop – seaweed doesn’t need soil, freshwater or fertilizer, and is as fast-growing as it is nutrient-dense.
Using Miso In This Japanese Noodle Soup
I love using miso in my soups in place of broth for that distinct umami flavour, or fifth ‘savoury’ taste. Miso is rich in live-active-cultures and offers an array of beneficial bacteria that can contribute to a healthy gut – see my post 5 Tips On How To Improve Gut Health Naturally – Prebiotics, Probiotics and Fermented Foods for more information.
For more fun ways to use miso check out this Vegan Zucchini Noodles with Pesto, or The Ultimate Vegan Pesto Recipe with Hemp or this Japanese Salad Bowls with a Miso Tahini Dressing and Brown Rice.
Using Soba Noodles for a Japanese Noodle Soup
Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat, which is a gluten-free grain. It is important to note that not all soba noodles are completely gluten-free, and many of the cheaper varieties are blended with wheat flour. I love soba noodles for their nutty-flavour and 100% buckwheat soba noodles are lower glycemic index – meaning they have a lesser effect on blood sugars – compared to many other Asian noodles.
Variations For This Japanese Noodle Soup
Miso Ramen Noodle Soup
Ramen noodles are another traditional Japanese noodle. They are made with wheat noodles and are chewier than soba noodles. The noodles are prepared the same as soba noodles, in a separate pot from the rest of the soup ingredients. To cook ramen, boil the water in a large pot then add the dried ramen noodles. Cook for a few minutes, until the noodles are al dente or reach your desired firmness. Drain the noodles well and serve with the remaining soup ingredients.
Miso Udon Noodle Soup
Udon noodles are great when you are in a rush – no need to cook them separately, simply add them to the dish with all the other ingredients (they only take 3 minutes to cook). Udon noodles are made from wheat and have a soft chewy texture. They have a neutral flavour so go great with strongly flavoured dishes.
Ginger Miso Noodle Soup
For ginger lovers use a 2-inch piece of peeled and diced ginger in this dish. I suggest frying the ginger in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil before adding the water, mirin and tamari – this helps to bring out the flavour of the ginger.
Miso Noodle Bowl
To make this dish less of a soup and more of a noodle bowl, cook the soup ingredients (vegetables, edamame and noodles) in the water. Once the ingredients are cooked, drain the water and add the flavouring ingredients (mirin, tamari, seaweed). Use 1 tablespoon of miso, and blend the miso with 2 tablespoons of warm water before adding to the finished dish.
Miso Noodle Soup with Tofu
To mix things up a bit, use tofu as the plant-based protein in place of edamame. I love adding baked tofu to my soups, which adds a nice crispy topping. To see my favourite way to bake tofu check out this recipe for Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad Bowl with Glory Bowl Dressing.
Miso Noodle Soup with Eggs
I am a big fan of eggs (see my post The Health Benefits of Eggs and Why I Eat Eggs) and I try to get them in regularly for the choline content and quality protein. Depending on how you like your eggs will dictate when you add them to this recipe. I prefer mine soft poached – try cracking your eggs directly into the soup 1 1/2 minutes before the soup is finished cooking. Don’t stir the eggs, and this creates a beautifully poached egg right in your soup!
Tips for Making This Japanese Noodle Soup
How To Prepare Miso
It is so important to not boil miso. Miso is filled with beneficial live bacteria that can be killed off with heat. Add miso after the heat has been turned off. I suggest blending the miso paste with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl before adding it to the soup so you don’t have to whisk the miso paste with the soup ingredients.
How To Prepare Soba Noodles
Soba noodles will go soggy if you cook them right in the soup, so it is best to prepare them separately. To prepare soba noodles, boil a separate pot of water and add the soba noodles, stirring to make sure they are all submerged. Boil as per package directions, usually 5 to 8 minutes. Once they are finished cooking, drain them in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Add the noodles to the bowls and top with remaining soup ingredients.
Using Leftover Vegetables
I love this dish for so many reasons, but one of them is that it is a great way to use leftovers. Most vegetables taste great in this dish – I love broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, mushrooms, beans and snow peas – but get creative! Edamame is easy to have on hand but feel free to use tofu, or eggs if you aren’t vegan, for an alternative protein source.
I love using leftover nori seaweed from sushi making sessions, or from making these delicious Nori Sticks. Use your kitchen scissors to cut the nori sheets into 3 inch long strips and add to the soup before serving. I also have a supply of dulse flakes on hand or hand-harvested nori. Feel free to use whatever seaweed you have access to.
Notes On Making This Japanese Noodle Soup
Make It a Gluten-Free Japanese Noodle Soup
Make sure you purchase 100% gluten-free buckwheat noodles. Often I find these at health food stores or some traditional Asian supermarkets. Some miso is made with barley grains to ensure your miso is also gluten-free.
Make It A Vegan Japanese Noodle Soup
This dish is naturally vegan with the use of edamame beans for protein. Soba noodles are not made with eggs, but be aware that some Asian noodles are egg-based.
Make It Soy-Free Japanese Noodle Soup
Use coconut aminos in place of tamari or soy sauce. Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with a grain. Chickpea miso is now more widely available and is a great soy-free alternative. Omit the edamame beans and use eggs for protein if you are not vegan. A vegan and soy-free protein alternative could be 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts per serving, adding right before eating.
Want More Soup Recipes?
Here are some more of my favourite soup recipes:
- Delicious Curried Squash and Lentil Soup
- Mixed Lentil and Bean Winter Warming Soup
- Easy Curry Lentil Soup with Kale
- Greek Lentil Soup with Lemon
Getting excited about fermented foods? Here are some of my favourite recipes using ferments – My Favourite Fermented Foods Recipes – 6 Recipes Using Ferments.
Japanese Miso Noodle Soup | Vegan GF
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp mirin optional
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari optional
- 75 g soba noodles dry (1/3 of a pack)
- 2 small carrots sliced on an angle
- 1 cup chopped leftover vegetables (mushroom, snow peas or broccoli) optional
- 1 1/2 cup frozen edamame beans shelled
- 1 cup kale or spinach chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp miso paste Genmai
- 2 green onions sliced on an angle
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
- 1 sheet leftover nori seaweed cut into medium strips (or 1 tbsp dulse flakes)
- Start by adding the water, and mirin and soy sauce or tamari if using into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- While you are bringing the soup water to a boil, heat another smaller saucepan of water up to cook the soba noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package directions (usually they need to be boiled for 6-8 minutes). Cooking them in a separate saucepan from the soup ensures the noodles won't go soggy. Once the noodles are cooked, remove from the heat and drain in a colander in the sink. Rinse the cooked noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Once the soup water is boiling add the carrots (and any other vegetables you are using such as mushrooms or broccoli or snow peas) and edamame beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to your desired firmness.
- In a separate bowl, mix the miso paste with 2 tbsp of water. Once the vegetables are finished cooking, turn off the heat and whisk in the miso paste water blend. Make sure to not bring the water back to a boil as this will kill off all the goodness in the miso. Add in the kale or spinach, and spring onions and let them wilt in the hot broth with the lid on. Taste and adjust for saltiness - add more tamari or soy sauce if needed.
- To serve, arrange the soba noodles into two bowls. Top with the miso soup and vegetables with edamame. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and seaweed. Enjoy!
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Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.