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The perfect soup when transitioning from winter to spring – Creamy Miso Soup with Spring Vegetables. Packed with immune-boosting ingredients and tons of umami, this soup makes a delicious warming meal. The broth is super simple, but still flavorful, made with just a few ingredients. The soup simmers for less than 10 minutes, leaving the spring vegetables crisp and fresh. This is the soup we’re craving whether we’re getting through one of the last snowy days of the season, or welcoming a day of sunshine and t-shirt weather!
Why we love it:
- Supporting our immune system is a focus for all of us right now and this soup is packed with immune-boosting ingredients. Shiitakes, a type of medicinal mushroom that can commonly be found at grocery stores, have been shown to improve immunity, especially when consumed regularly. Shiitakes also have antiviral and anticancer effects. If you don’t have shiitakes on hand, other mushrooms will also have immune-boosting benefits!
- We constantly hear about the health benefits of fermented foods. A few of the many benefits include improving digestion, supporting diversity of the gut microbiome, enhancing mental health and, yup, supporting the immune system. Miso is a salty paste made from fermented beans (usually soybeans) that originates from the traditional Japanese diet. Miso can also be made using certain grains, such as fermented rice, barley or oats, mixed with salt and koji (a fermentation starter). An important note on miso: adding it to boiling water will kill the probiotics, which will reduce the health benefits it offers. As stated in this recipe, you want to wait until the soup has been taken off the heat before the miso is stirred in. The miso-based paste will dissolve in the warm soup.
- Kombu is an edible kelp (a type of seaweed) that grows in shallow, underwater forests. Seaweed absorbs many nutrients, making it a superfood! Kelp has been shown to aid with many conditions such as gut health, has shown promise to reduce certain cancer risk, supports bone health and has antiviral properties. Note that seaweed is very high in iodine and iodine consumption is a controversial topic. Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, to support breast health, stress adaptation and immune function. However, both iodine deficiency and excess iodine are associated with thyroid conditions. Since introducing mandatory salt iodization programs, there has been an increase in hyperthyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis; it is important to limit foods high in iodized salt (e.g. bread, sausages, cheese, savory snacks, frozen meals, etc.). Foods with high amounts of naturally occuring iodine include sea vegetables, cod, shrimp, tuna, eggs and plants grown in iodine-rich soil – these are iodine sources to focus on!
- 3 spring onions, bias sliced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup carrots, paysanne
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms- washed, stems removed, julienned
- 1 2-inch piece kombu
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, minced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups asparagus- 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch watercress (leaves only) or other microgreen
- 3-4 tablespoons organic mellow white miso (use chickpea miso if intolerant to soy)
- 3-4 tablespoons organic brown rice miso
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
- ½ cup water
- Blend the miso/tahini/curry paste in a bowl with a whisk until smooth; set aside.
- Put the oil into the bottom of a large soup pot over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, stir in the onions, carrots, mushrooms, kombu, garlic, ginger, and salt;
- sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer until carrots are tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add the asparagus, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove the soup pot from the heat, stir in the miso/tahini mixture and the watercress.
- Taste the soup and season to taste with salt.
(Recipe by Chef Lynda Lacher)
Daina Rasutis is a current student of NTI’s Nutrition Therapist Master Program. She plans to use her certification to spark a craving for health through movement, sustainable living and, of course, nourishing food. Follow Daina’s cooking creations and lifestyle tips at www.tabletocrave.com
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