Surprisingly substantial, this vegetable miso soup features roots, cabbage, tofu, and shiitake mushrooms. This flavorful, naturally vegan soup is quite warming, and more filling than the more traditional broth-y style miso soups.
This delightful winter soup makes great use of common winter vegetables potatoes (and/or sweet potato), napa or regular cabbage, carrots, plus a choice of daikon, turnip, or parsnip. Fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms add a lovely earthy flavor.
Shiitake mushroom broth as an optional starter: As an alternative to water with bouillon cube plus fresh or rehydrated shiitakes added right to the soup, consider making Dried Shiitake Mushroom Broth. The added depth of flavor that results is totally worth the little extra effort!
A few shiitake tips
Once only found in dried form in Western markets, shiitakes are now widely available fresh. They’re pricier than white or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, but with their more intense flavor, a little goes a longer way. This soup will be great with either fresh or dried (and reconstituted) shiitakes.
Dried shiitakes: To have shiitakes on hand and available, you might consider keeping a quantity of them in dried form. Store them in a tightly capped jar in a cool, dry place and they’ll keep for at least a year.
To rehydrate (aka reconstitute), it’s often advised to soak the mushrooms in hot water to cover for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until pliable. Squeeze lightly when cool enough to handle, then remove and discard the tough stems and slice the caps. Save the flavorful soaking liquid for use in stocks and sauces.
There’s an even better way to rehydrate shiitakes, if time allows (and if you think of it in plenty of time). According to Hannah Kaminsky, this site’s photographer, soaking the dried mushrooms in cold water for 24 hours rather than just a quick soak in hot water is the optimal method.
“This slow rehydration process allows for every cell to plump with moisture,” she says, “making even the tougher stems soft enough to enjoy.” There are lots more tips and info about shiitakes to glean on Hannah’s blog, Bittersweet.
If you do use dried shiitakes, in this soup, the quality of them matters a great deal. Hannah and I have gotten to be fans of Sugimoto, a company that sells only premium, forest-grown shiitake mushrooms straight from Kyushu, Japan.
Recipe is from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 tablespoon olive or neutral vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, quartered and sliced
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced (see Variation)
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage, preferably napa
- 1 large celery stalk, sliced on the diagonal or cut into thick matchsticks
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks (or 1 cup coarsely cut pre-grated carrots)
- 1 cup peeled, diced daikon radish, white turnip, or parsnip
- 6 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or see alternative in Notes)
- 8 to 10 fresh or rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (see Notes)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine or sherry, optional
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger
- 8 ounces medium or extra-firm tofu, blotted and cut into small dice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons miso, any variety, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and sauté over medium-low heat until golden.
- Add the potatoes, cabbage, celery, carrot, and daikon radish. Cover with the broth, then stir in the wine and ginger.
- Trim the shiitake mushrooms used in making the broth of their tough stems, then slice the caps and add them to the soup. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are done.
- Stir in the tofu and remove from the heat.
- Dissolve the miso in just enough water to make it smooth and pourable. Stir it into the soup, then taste to see if you'd like to add more. Season with plenty of pepper and serve at once.
Variation: Substitute one medium sweet potato for two of the white potatoes.
Broth: As an alternative to water with bouillon cube plus fresh or rehydrated shiitakes added right to the soup, consider making Dried Shiitake Mushroom Broth. The added depth of flavor that results is totally worth the little extra effort!
To rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms quickly: Soak in boiling hot water to cover in a heatproof bowl or saucepan for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove stems and slice. Use the soaking liquid as part of the broth for the soup. For the 24-hour method, see the notes above the recipe box.
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Here are lots more delectable vegan soups & stews.