Japanese Miso Soup

I love some Japanese miso soup. All is right in the world (a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ll run with it) when that tiny bowl of mystically cloudy broth is placed in front of me, accompanied by the bare bones but wonderfully reliable iceberg salad with carrot ginger dressing.

The Best Miso Soup is Made at Home

However, the widespread acceptance and popularity of sushi make it highly likely that most miso soups are nothing more than bowls of cloudy broth and miso paste laced with MSG.

It would appear that is the end of the story. One of those seemingly simple dishes is miso soup. Soup is ready when miso paste is added to the broth, right?

Not so.

When I made this Superfood Miso Soup, I learned that the soup everyone loves with avocado, salmon rolls, and bento boxes is a wonderfully complex soup of layered seafood flavors. This is why I have settled on making miso soup.

Power-Up Formula

With a dashi stock made from dried kombu (kelp), shiitake mushrooms, and bonito flakes, this recipe is a “superfood” take on traditional miso soup. In addition to the miso, I put in some soft tofu, a lot of spinach, and some scallions for good measure.

The resulting miso soup is heartier and more filling than the kind you might get at your regular sushi joint. Since I started making this, I have always had a miso-paste jar on hand. It keeps forever and is ready whenever you are to make a pot of miso soup.


  • 2 to 6-inch square pieces of kombu
  • 6 pcs. of dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 12 cups of water (2.8 L)
  • 1 cup of bonito flakes (Katsuobushi)
  • 12 oz. of soft tofu (340g)
  • 5 tbsp. of white miso paste
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 scallions (chopped)


  1. Before adding them to a medium stockpot, wash the kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in cold running water. Then, let it sit for an hour after you’ve added 12 cups of water.
  2. Now that the stock has had time to soak, you can put the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring it up to a gentle simmer. Take out the kombu, crank up the heat, and get the water boiling. When the water boils, reduce the heat to low and add the bonito flakes. Leave at a low simmer for 20 minutes, checking it occasionally.
  3. Make your soup by pouring the strained dashi stock into a medium saucepan and heating it over low heat (while reserving the shiitake mushrooms). Separately, cube the tofu into 1/2-inch pieces and set it aside. Miso should be whisked into stock until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Put in the tofu, spinach, and scallion. Cut up a few shiitake mushrooms and throw them in the pot. Continue to simmer for two more minutes, then serve.
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