Japanese Miso Soup
If you’ve ever eaten at a Japanese restaurant, chances are high that you’ve had miso soup before, as it’s often served as a starter. But you don’t have to order out to enjoy the cancer-fighting benefits of this healthy dish; you can prepare my miso soup recipe quickly and easily at home. What makes this miso soup recipe so nutritious is properly prepared miso, made from soybeans. While I’m not usually a soy fan, because the beans are fermented, miso is loaded with probiotic benefits.
And making this miso soup recipe from scratch means you can avoid the additives and excess sodium that too often are included in restaurant versions. You will love this miso soup recipe with mushrooms as a meal starter or even as a hot tonic when I feel a cold coming on, as ginger contains immune-boosting qualities. I’m positive you’ll enjoy it.
Miso Soup is Healthy If It Contains Soy
Soy is a controversial topic, and generally I am in the “no soy” camp. How come? Today, soy is touted as a “health food” that’s high in plant-based protein, and therefore it’s added to numerous processed products - especially things like packaged veggie burgers made with soy lecithin, soy milk, soy yogurt and so on. Of course, soy is also the main ingredient in soybean oil and soy protein powder (where it’s called “soy protein isolates”). But while some promote the benefits of soy, evidence shows that some forms of soy should be avoided.
Is soy bad for you? Hasn’t it been included in Asian diets for centuries? The majority of soy used today in commercially sold products is far from the type traditionally consumed in Japan and other parts of Asia. An extremely high percentage of all soy grown in the U.S. today - roughly 94 percent - is genetically modified (GMO) and is not harvested the same way as traditional soy was for generations; therefore, it doesn’t provide the same nutrition benefits or digestibility.
According to a 2013 report published in The Journal of Nutrition, the source of soybeans and the processing procedures used to make soy products are believed to be important aspects to consider - mainly because these have significant effects on the content of certain bioactive protein subunits and “ant nutrients” found in soy. The same report also mentions the documented potential safety concerns with increased consumption of soy products. Negative impacts of soy products have been observed in thyroid and reproductive functions as well as certain types of carcinogenesis.
Overall, existing data regarding soy’s risks is somewhat inconsistent or inadequate still (which is why the topic continues to be debated hotly), but the health benefits of consuming soy protein or isolated soy products are not well supported at all. What sets miso apart - and similarly natto and tempeh, two other soy products - is that they’re fermented sources of soy. When you ferment soybeans, you have a completely different product that yields a completely different set of available nutrients. Organically grown fermented soy products like miso, tempeh or natto are the only types of soy I recommend consuming for this reason.
- 4 cups organic broth or water
- 2 tablespoons mellow white miso
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms or 1/2 cup dried, chopped
- 1 large yellow or red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1–2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 cups coarsely chopped collard greens
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- In a medium pot, heat broth or water over medium-high heat. Once simmering, remove about half a cup and whisk together with the miso, incorporating until smooth.
- Add the miso mixture back to the pot along with the mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, collards and coconut amino. Return to a simmer and decrease heat to low, simmering gently for 20 minutes.