You know that cold that has been going around? The one everyone in class or at your office has had? The one I was so smug about having avoided, particularly after having spent hours sitting next to sick classmates, working with sick kids, and sleeping next to a sick husband? Yeah. It caught up with me.
Unfortunately, it caught up with me on blizzard day (which came after -20C day) and the aforementioned sick husband had left the country on a business trip and packed the cold medicine with him. Leaving the apartment? Not an option. Quick, hot, spicy soup? Yes please.
This soup is the kind of thing I reach for when I'm under the weather, but it is delicious at any time. I start with a ready-made vegetable broth which I trick out with a lot of fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, and, if I'm in the mood, some slices of red chilies. To that I'll swirl in a couple of tablespoons of nutty miso paste, and then add a few handfuls of whatever vegetables I've got on hand, and maybe some cubed up tofu. It'll warm you up nicely, and the whole thing comes together in about five minutes.
A note on broth: you know those awesome 1L cartons of high quality low-sodium organic vegetable broth? Those don't exist where I live. My choices are either to make homemade vegetable broth, which I quite simply don't have the freezer space for, or to use broth cubes. I've tried out many different brands of broth cubes and have settled on either Marigold, which is an organic brand from the UK, or a Swedish brand which I can't for the life of me remember the name of right now and I recycled the box earlier this week. But if you, like me, are in a broth cube situation, look for something which contains a lot of real dehydrated vegetables and a bit of salt. No funky ingredients. I find the cubes can have an overpowering flavour at times, so if I am making something like this soup or a risotto where I really want other flavours to shine through, I'll dilute it about 50% (so, if it says 1 cube for 2 cups of water, I'll use 1 cube for 4 cups of water, or cut a cube in half for 2 cups of water). Keep in mind that miso paste is quite salty on it's own, so even if you're starting with a carton of broth, you may want to dilute it with some water to cut down on the salt in this soup.
Five Minute Feel Better Miso Vegetable Soup Recipe:
This soup is very much a choose your own adventure situation. Use whatever add ins you have on hand, or choose none at all and just drink up the broth. I used thinly sliced carrots, broccoli spears, and some cubed tofu I happened to have in the fridge.
4 cups vegetable broth (see notes above)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
1 tablespoon thinly sliced red chilli pepper (optional)
3 tablespoon miso paste
1 green onion, thinly sliced
a handful each of julienned carrots, broccoli spears, and cubed firm tofu. Or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Place the vegetable broth, ginger, garlic, chilli pepper, and green onion in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to the boil, uncovered, then reduce to a simmer.
Put the miso paste into a small bowl, and add a little of the broth to it. Use a fork or a spoon and mash the paste into the broth to create a slurry. Add this into the soup pot. Do not allow the broth to return to a boil.
Add any vegetables or other add ins to the pot. Allow them to heat through for a couple of minutes so the vegetables cook just slightly.
Miso, fermented soybean paste, is a good source of manganese, vitamin K, protein, dietary fiber, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Additionally, miso is a good source of phytonutrient antioxidants, which are related to it's fermentation. Try to source out organic miso if you can, since miso is made from soybeans, and most non-organic soybeans are genetically modified.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012