Miso soup is a delicious protein-rich soup and a staple in Japanese cuisine. One taste of the mouthwatering dish, and it's easy to wonder, "Is miso soup healthy?” Ultimately, there are many miso soup benefits to this low-calorie, rich-in-flavor dish.
It's no wonder that it's served with every meal every day in Japanese culture. It's such a popular soup that it has spread worldwide, hence why you see it at all Japanese restaurant locations in the U.S.
Below, we dive into the question of is miso soup healthy, along with its ingredients and miso soup pairings. Before long, you'll know everything there is to know about miso soup!
Is miso soup healthy?
Yes, miso soup is healthy, with the benefits far outweighing the negatives of consuming this soup. According to Japanese cuisine, it's a must-have for daily consumption because of its high nutritional content.
Miso soup is low calorie, low fat, and high in nutrient content, so it is safe to eat daily. However, it does have a high salt content. So, those on blood thinning medication or who have heart problems (including high blood pressure and heart disease) may want to limit their consumption of miso soup.
Nutrients found in Miso
What is miso? Miso paste, one of the main ingredients in miso soup, is partly why this dish is so nutritious. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, which help boost the protein content in the dish. Additionally, this paste has vitamin K and B vitamins in it. Other minerals and nutrients in miso include manganese, copper, zinc, and iron.
Potential Miso Soup Benefits
As this healthy soup is nutrient-dense, it is thought to have many health benefits. Some of the potential benefits include the following:
- Better digestion/gut health (from aspergillus oryzae)
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Lessened risk of cancer
The many vitamins and minerals, coupled with the probiotics found in this dish, add to the appeal of eating this soup daily in Japan.
How is miso soup made?
Now that you’re aware of all the good that a bowl of miso soup each day can do, you may be wondering how to make miso soup at home. Luckily, you can make this dish with minimal ingredients.
For a simple yet flavorful dish, you'll need cubed silken tofu, miso paste (red miso, white miso, or yellow (Shinshu) miso will do), dashi granules (similar to bouillon), wakame (a type of dried seaweed), and thin slices of green onion.
You’ll need to rehydrate the wakame by letting it soak in water for about 10 minutes. Ensure you squeeze out the excess moisture. Then, bring the water, miso paste, and dashi to a boil. Add in the wakame and tofu cubes. Finish the dish by adding the green onion slices and allowing the soup to simmer for a few minutes.
Alternatively, you can use kombu (dried kelp) if you prefer the flavor. Or, add kombu and wakame to help add more texture to this healthy soup.
Where can I get miso soup?
While you can make the above miso soup recipe, you can also purchase instant miso soup for a quicker meal. Instant miso soup usually requires hot water and a few minutes of your time. Then, you'll have a tasty appetizer or snack! Many instant miso soup options are available, though here are a few of our favorites:
- Ten to Ten-Market Aosa Sea Lettuce Miso Soup (10 Packs)
- Ten to Ten-Market Kinoko Mushroom Miso Soup (10 Packs)
- Nissin Foods Nissin Raoh: Rich Miso Ramen (1 Cup)
What foods and dishes go well with miso soup?
Miso soup is a versatile dish, hence why it's served all day long in Japan. You can eat most dishes and snacks alongside this yummy soup. Many drinks even pair well with miso soup. Below, you'll find some tasty treats that work well with this fermented miso soup.
Japanese mochi is a delightful snack to eat alongside miso soup. It comes in various sweet flavors that range from fruit to chocolate. This sweet treat has a fun, pillowy consistency and perfectly balances out the saltiness of miso soup.
In Japanese restaurants, you're often served miso soup as an appetizer before you receive your sushi rolls. There's a reason these pair so well together. Sushi with raw fish provides a refreshing flavor against the rich bowl of miso soup.
If you feel like you're still hungry after a bowl of miso soup, you may want to pair it with fried tofu. The additional protein will help keep you full. The delicious chewy consistency of fried tofu tastes great when eaten alongside miso soup.
Good quality green tea is a classic pairing. Its not-too-sweet flavor goes well with many dishes, especially miso soup. This drink is an excellent option with a Japanese-inspired meal; no matter which dishes you select, green tea won't have an overpowering flavor.
If you want a more filling and fun drink, try bubble tea alongside miso soup. This drink is a personal favorite and comes in various fruity flavors. The delicious sweetness offsets the rich, umami flavor of miso soup.
Final Thoughts on Is Miso Soup Healthy?
With the abundance of nutrients in miso soup, it's easy to see why it's a staple in Japanese cuisine. Combine the miso soup benefits with the rich umami flavor, and you have a delicious, addictive combo. The only concern with overeating miso is the salt content. As long as you don't overeat miso soup or overly salty food, you can incorporate this soup into your diet without concern about salt intake.
Curious about Japanese cuisine and want to learn more about Japanese culture? Why not try a Japanese snack box? Each snack box from Bokksu includes delightful Japanese treats which range from sweet to savory. Every month, you'll receive a box based on a specific theme, from holidays to a specific ingredient (like black sesame). Be sure to read the informational pamphlet with the box for more details on each product and the particular box’s theme.