An easy and light miso soup with iodine-rich sea vegetables, leafy greens, and mushrooms. One bowl and you’ll feel like a new person, truly!
Ah, the first week of the New Year!
I love this time of year, don’t you? There’s a palpable shift in energy where everyone’s a bit more hopeful and optimistic. People are hitting the gyms, saying yes to vegetables and no to cookies (unless it’s these cookies because hashtag basically a salad), embracing fresh starts, setting intentions, and making resolutions.
It’s also when the newest season of ABC’s The Bachelor airs again, which I am prettttttty excited about. Even though I have sworn off watching it too many times to count, I always get sucked back in.
Actually, my inability to stop watching The Bachelor franchise is a perfect example of why I’m more a fan of setting intentions than I am of making resolutions—they don’t usually work, at least not for long anyway.
But it’s the new year and seeing how the two of the most popular resolutions of 2016 are “lose weight” and “live a healthier lifestyle” (ALL the feels over here), there’s a good chance you’re eager to conquer one or both of those goals in the next 12 months.
Well, HIGH FIVES to you friend!
You’re already one step ahead because you’re here reading this blog and that means you not only care about what you put in your body (uber healthy recipes galore!) you also truly want to understand why certain foods are so good for you.
And I’ve sooooooo got you covered.
Last week, I gave you a vibrant, energizing, and detoxifying raspberry beet smoothie and this week, we’re kicking things off with a big ‘ol bowl of healing kelp noodle miso soup!
It’s full of warming ginger, salty and umami flavors from the fermented red miso paste, and crazy nutritious thanks to all the sea vegetables.
Since there a few newcomer ingredients making their HN debut in this post, let’s chat about each of them to better understand what makes them so bomb.com, shall we?
SOY — FRIEND OR FOE?
So. Much. Drama. surrounds this food.
Because while soy-based products can appear to be very nutritious—after all it’s a complete vegetarian protein—they can also be detrimental to your health. Excessive soy consumption has been associated with increased risk of cancer, immune and reproductive dysfunction, digestive distress, allergies, and ADD.
It’s for these reasons and the fact that soy is one of the top eight food allergens that I don’t encourage including a ton of soy products (if any) in a healthful diet.
When the soy product is both organic (soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified foods) and fermented.
FERMENTED MISO PASTE
Miso paste is about to become your new favorite pantry item. Cross my heart.
This savory, thick paste is a traditional Japanese seasoning agent similar to how we use salt. The texture is similar to peanut butter and it’s made of soybeans, salt, either rice or barley, and a koji inoculant.
The koji is the starter culture containing the live bacteria and microogranisms and is responsible for the fermentation process. When the soybeans are combined with koji and allowed to ferment for a period of days, the controversial soybean is transformed into an insanely healthy food.
The reason is that the fermentation process inoculates the soy product with loads of good bacteria, which are nourishing to your gut. And a happy gut means a happy body!
Benefits of consuming fermented soy products like miso, tempeh, or natto include:
Increased immune health
Powerful antioxidant properties
Improved digestion and nutrient utilization
Reduced risk of certain cancers (i.e. breast)
PS: If you’re allergic to soy, try this fermented chickpea paste to substitute instead.
The health benefits of this broth don’t stop here, folks! Read on!
KELP NOODLES: THE ORIGINAL ZOODLE
Yep. You heard it here first—kelp noodles are totally the original vegetable noodle.
These crunchy, noodles are made from three ingredients only!
- Sodium alginate (sodium salt that’s extracted from brown seaweed)
A four-ounce serving has a mere six calories, no fat, no protein (not exactly a bonus but still), and one gram of carbohydrates. So basically you can eat the whole bag if you’re so inclined.
I’ll admit that kelp noodles don’t taste like much of anything, but I see that as a bonus. You can flavor them however you like!
They are quite crunchy and snappy, which gives this simple broth a bit more oomph and texture.
Beyond soup, you can add them to salads, stir fry dishes, or make a cold noodle-style salad using them. In other words, this won’t be the last time you’ll see kelp noodles on Honestly Nourished.
Oh and did I mention that you don’t even have to cook them? Just a quick rinse under water and they’re ready to go.
BENEFITS OF SEAWEED
Nori, a.k.a. dried seaweed is incredibly nutritious. In fact, some posit that seaweed is one of the world’s most under utilized sources of nutrition and also it’s most abundant.
If you’ve ever had a bowl of miso soup at a Japanese restaurant or shared a sushi roll, then you’re already accustomed to its slightly fishy flavor and chewy texture.
Seaweed grows in the ocean (um, obviously) and as such it absorbs much of what is in its environment just like other produce does. Thus, seaweed becomes rich in minerals—calcium, iodine, phosphorus, sodium and iron to name a few.
Whereas kelp noodles are devoid of protein, seaweed contains up to 38 percent protein.
- Reduce blood cholesterol
- Detoxify the body of heavy metals and radioactive elements
- Prevent goiter (due to its high iodine content)
- Offer anti-aging properties (i.e. more luminous and glowing skin)
It’s sounding a whole lot less fishy, isn’t it? (Bah. I know, I’m such a nerd. Seriously how do you put up with me?)
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
I know there’s a tried and true process for making a traditional miso soup and this recipe follows it for the most part, BUT I’m here to tell you that you can ultimately do whatever you want once you have the broth.
For real though! Remember that most recipes are merely guides (the exception being baking since it’s a bit more finicky). And when it comes to soup, it’s really hard to mess up. Spread those creative wings and fly!
Don’t like seaweed?
Cool. Simply add more kale, spinach, or whatever greens you fancy.
Want to add more protein?
Easy. Add organic tofu, chicken, or even a cup of lentils or chickpeas.
Can’t find those elusive kelp noodles?
Opt for rice or soba instead. It will be more hearty and filling, but just as delicious.
You’re going to L-O-V-E this recipe. It’s slightly sweet from the steeped ginger root, oh-so nourishing from the anti-inflammatory turmeric, and crazy soothing and comforting on a cold, rainy or snowy winter day.
Plus, it even looks ridiculously healthy doesn’t it? Let’s get to it!
Simple Healing Kelp Noodle Miso Soup
gluten free + dairy free + vegan, paleo friendly + 30 minutes or less
Yield: 4-6 servings | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes
1/4 cup gluten-free miso paste* (I use this one)
1-2 sheets nori (dried seaweed)**
6 inches fresh ginger root, chopped in small chunks, peel on
1/4 cup coconut aminos (could also use Bragg’s liquid aminos, gluten-free tamari or soy sauce)
1/2 pint crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
3-4 green onion stalks, sliced (about 1/2 cup) + more for garnish
2 cups lacinato kale, torn into small pieces with stem removed
6 cups filtered water (plus more as needed/desired)
1 tbs turmeric root or powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs sesame oil (or olive oil!)
1 package kelp noodles (about 2 cups)***
- In a large pot, add filtered water, ginger root, and coconut aminos (or soy sauce). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover.
- Allow broth to simmer for 5-10 minutes then remove from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the ginger root from the broth and discard.
- Transfer a small amount (about 1 cup) of broth from pot to a small bowl. Allow this to cool for a few minutes before adding the miso paste. The live bacteria in the miso will die if subjected to heat greater than 105-degrees Fahrenheit!
- Whisk miso paste into hot broth until it dissolves, set aside. This step will help prevent chunks once you add the miso to the main pot!
- If you need to add more water to the broth, do so at this time. Pour miso mixture into pot.
- Add sliced mushrooms, green onions, seaweed, kelp noodles, and kale to the pot and stir to cover completely with broth. Reheat soup on low as needed until vegetables are tender and greens are wilted.
- Serve soup in a shallow bowl with chopsticks or a deeper bowl and drink like a broth. Enjoy!
- Organic tempeh or natto
- Organic shredded chicken
- A fried egg on top — YUM
- Vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, leeks, white onion, zucchini, watercress, or parsnips and even fresh herbs like parsley
*Miso paste is typically found in the refrigerated section of your market, often near the hummus and other spreads. Sometimes I’ve seen it near the pickled and fermented vegetables and you can also find it in a dried version in the aisle with the other Asian ingredients. If you can’t find it, try asking a grocer—they should be able to direct you! Be sure to find certified gluten free if you don’t tolerate gluten. Avoiding or allergic to soy? Try fermented chickpea paste!
**Dried seaweed can also be found in the Asian section of your regular market.
***Kelp noodles are more of a specialty item and you may not find them at your grocery. However, you can always substitute rice or soba noodles (a.k.a. buckwheat noodles) and both of these are found in the Asian aisle, too!
Happy slurping friends!
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU >>>
Ready to kick-start your journey to a healthier, happier you in 2016, but not sure where to start? Let’s work together! Through 1:1 Nutrition Coaching, I’ll help you create a blueprint to elevate your health and nutrition with small, simple changes.
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
Have you ever tried making your own miso soup? How did it turn out? What about kelp noodles? New to you or old news? Leave a comment and join the discussion!