When you need something warm, comforting, and fast, look no further than vegan miso soup.
It is soothing to the throat and body.
Brimming with mushrooms, bok choy, and garlic, it’s ready to go in just 15 minutes.
This is the easy miso soup I like to make when I’m under the weather or just short on time.
It comes together in only minutes.
It can be tweaked to fit your preferences and what’s already in the refrigerator.
Plus, there’s a minimum amount of standing & waiting involved, which is key when you’re not feeling your best and eager to hop back in bed.
The first time that I made this soup, it was built out of necessity.
I wanted something soothing on the throat, satiating and healthy.
I have to admit, I was kicking myself for not keeping canned soup in the cupboard.
Then I just grabbed a few key ingredients from my crisper drawer and set to work on a simple miso soup.
After a few days, I was feeling a little more myself. So I started adding small cubes of tofu to the soup for extra staying power.
But feel free to omit it, if you’re feeling more like sipping than chewing.
What kind of tofu should I use?
For this soup, I recommend super firm tofu in vacuum packaging.
Just cut it right off the block and plop it into the soup.
(I usually buy it from Trader Joe’s. It’s one of my favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products. But Wildwood makes it as well.)
Water-packed tofu will work too, though. Simply drain it before use.
Pressing isn’t strictly necessary. But here’s how to press tofu in case you’d like to have a firmer tofu in the soup.
But what about the seaweed?
Traditional miso soup like you’d find in a Japanese restaurant is made with dashi, a Japanese soup stock.
Dashi is made with dried seaweed and bonito fish flakes.
Obviously, the fish aspect wouldn’t work for me vegan-wise.
And while I could add seaweed, I am not a fan at all.
In fact, seaweed would rank #1 in my least favorite foods. So I won’t be adding that.
But if you’d like to add seaweed to yours, by all means, go for it!
Step by step instructions
Bring a soup pot to a medium heat with oil.
Add sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Let the mushrooms cook.
Once they have softened & released their liquid, scoot them to one side of the pot.
Add more oil and sauté garlic in it until fragrant.
Add bok choy and sauté a minute or two.
Then add water and tamari.
To make the soup a more filling meal, add cubed tofu as well.
Bring the soup to a simmer.
Stir in miso paste until it dissolves.
Move the soup to a bowl and garnish with scallions.
Make it your own
Vegan miso soup is rife with possibilities, depending on your preferences & refrigerator staples.
- Vary the types of mushrooms you use. Cremini, button, shiitake, or oyster would all be great here.
- Add grated ginger with the garlic for an extra floral quality.
- Instead of bok choy, use a different leafy green like kale or spinach. (If you’re using spinach, I recommend adding it with the miso because spinach wilts so quickly.)
- Add a splash of brown rice vinegar for tang or sriracha for heat.
- Instead of tofu, add chickpeas or seitan.
- Add cooked noodles for a filling addition.
Cold-kicking vegan miso soup
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or other neutral flavored oil, divided
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms cremini, button, shiitake, or a mixture
- Pinch salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 stalks baby bok choy sliced thin
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon tamari
- 3 ounces super firm tofu from vacuum packaging, cut into small cubes (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 scallion sliced thin
- Bring a small to medium sized soup pot to a medium heat with ½ teaspoon organic canola oil. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Allow the mushrooms to soften and release their liquid. Stir occasionally.
- After a couple of minutes, move the mushrooms to the side of the pot. Add the remaining half teaspoon of oil, and sauté the garlic in it until fragrant.
- Add the baby bok choy and sauté it a minute or so, until it the leaves have just wilted.
- Add the water, tamari, and cubed tofu (if using). Bring soup to a simmer.
- Stir in the white miso paste until it dissolves. Taste soup and see if it needs additional tamari or miso and add if necessary.
- Move soup to a bowl and garnish with scallion. Serve immediately.
Looking for something heartier? You need to try this udon noodle soup with miso tahini broth. The tahini gives it luxurious body.
And if a cold has got you down, check out these other soothing foods to eat when sick.
Content, photos, and recipe updated February 2020. Originally posted May 2016.