The Seasoned Traveler

Recipes and remedies using herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients from the world's pantry

Simple Miso Soup with Salmon, Tofu, Mushrooms & Napa Cabbage



Having lived in Japan for four years, I find miso soup comforting any time of day, any time of year. There is nothing quite like the earthy, rich flavor of miso and dashi combined with fresh vegetables and seafood. One spring during cherry blossom season, my parents visited me, and we toured around Kyoto, the old capital bursting with delicate pink petals everywhere. Chilled by the crisp spring air, we ducked into a restaurant specializing in nabe (pronounced “NAH-bay”), or hot pots of vegetables and seafood in a broth cooked at the table. We ordered a miso-based nabe made in the style of the northern Hokkaido region, and it came with a hearty and colorful array of salmon, shellfish, and fresh vegetables. It warmed and nourished us, and we still talk about that delicious lunch many years later.

I made this simple miso soup that evokes the flavors of that Hokkaido-style nabe. It’s simple because I used pre-cooked salmon leftover from dinner (we have baked salmon about once a week, so often have leftovers, but you can cook it straight in the broth if you prefer) and instant dashi powder (look for MSG-free dashi, or make your own homemade dashi — see this great tutorial here). Some fresh shiitake mushrooms, napa cabbage and cubed tofu round out this protein-rich and flavorful soup. Enjoy!


Simple Miso Soup with Salmon, Tofu, Mushrooms & Napa Cabbage

Makes 3-4 bowls

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. MSG-free instant dashi powder
  • 4 Tbs. white miso paste (or a red-white awase mixture)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups napa cabbage, chopped coarsely
  • 1 block firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 thin strip fillet of salmon, pre-cooked and broken into large pieces*
  • 2 fresh scallions, chopped finely


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot and add the dashi powder, mix well until the powder is dissolved. Turn the heat down to a low simmer.
  2. Put the miso in a small strainer and submerge it halfway into the simmering water. Use a spoon or chopsticks to swirl the miso and help it dissolve into the water through the strainer.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cabbage and stir until just cooked through, about a minute. Then gently add the tofu and salmon and cook until just heated through.
  4. Turn the heat off and sprinkle fresh scallions into the soup. Gently stir the broth to mix up the miso again, then spoon into bowls and serve with steamed rice and pickled daikon radish.

* If starting with raw salmon, cut into large pieces and cook in the dashi broth in step 1 before continuing to step 2.

Author: Laura Haugen

Writer, Traveler, Foodie

36 thoughts on “Simple Miso Soup with Salmon, Tofu, Mushrooms & Napa Cabbage

  1. i looooove miso soup

  2. Looks so appetizing! And what a great idea to add salmon . I have to find dashi now. I have miso paste and have tried making miso soup before. thanks for a great recipe!

  3. I love miso soup, but I’ve never made it myself. This looks so good, I’ll have to give it a try soon!

  4. This is a delicious-looking miso soup. I’ve never had it with salmon before – great idea! I want to try it…

  5. Miso soup is so delicious. I love your addition of extra protein to make it hearty!

    • I think miso soup is delicious too, although it might be an acquired taste for some. For me, it’s inseparable from happy memories of living in Japan πŸ™‚ And this Hokkaido version is one of my all-time favorites.

  6. What warm and comforting looking soup!

  7. Beautiful dish! I’ve never tried to prepare miso soup on my own… thanks for sharing your recipe!

  8. Love miso soup! Never had it with salmon before. I have to say that looks really, really good, and I’m not exactly a big salmon fan. But i”m going to try it ‘coz it’s healthy and you have it once a week! You must know something I don’t. Actually you know a lot I don’t, that’s why I’m going to start eating salmon, so I’ll catch up with you! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Angie, but I can’t say I want to force-feed you salmon πŸ˜‰ We eat it so often because it’s so easy on a weeknight and the whole family likes it. The salmon here is actually not very traditional in miso soup, except in some Hokkaido-style nabe. You could totally omit the salmon and do a vegetarian version or add little clams or seaweed for a more classic version. Anyway, I have a lot to learn from YOU, and could benefit from following your Lent regimen πŸ™‚

  9. This looks great, miso soup is one of those simple things I don’t remember to make. Thanks for reminding me with your fab photos!

  10. Hey there! I saw that you re-followed This is Thirty and just wanted to let you know I’m not blogging there any more! My new blog is at

    This looks delicious!

  11. That looks wonderful! I just made Soupe Γ  l’oignon, and am looking for other soup ideas to combat the unseasonably cold weather. I suppose it’s the winter equivalent of making lemonade. πŸ™‚

  12. OH, dear, this makes my mouth water! Great idea to put salmon in miso soup, especially nice in cold day, but I’ve never done that! (You are very right about it is not so common to put fish in miso soup. I’m from Nagano-ken, that’s probably why I never thought about doing this!) Oh yum yum yum. I should make this sometime soon!

    • Thank you, that makes me happy to hear you want to try it! I will never forget that Hokkaido-style nabe (ishikari nabe, I think?), and I think it makes sense to add fish to make miso soup a whole hearty meal on a cold day. Hope you enjoy it!

  13. I love these elaborate miso-soups. They are a meal on their own, and so healthy. You know that buta-jiru is related to ofukuro no aji. πŸ˜€

  14. I also added sake, shirataki (yam Noodles), and daikon just because I had it on hand

    • That sounds wonderful! I’ve been craving daikon lately, why didn’t I think of this? πŸ™‚ And the noodles would really make a satisfying meal. How did the sake work? Did you add at the beginning and let it cook off? Interesting!

  15. Pingback: Season's End Salmon Recipe Round-Up - FishwifeWrites

  16. This is such a lovely soup! So very warming. I usually can’t find the ingredients to make proper dashi, though. So when I make this I just end up adding a splash of whatever bone broth I have on hand. Usually moose broth lol

    I hope you don’t mind, I included this on a list of my favorite salmon recipes on my blog. Thanks for bringing salmon miso soup into my life!

  17. Will the recipe work as well with red miso paste versus white (I have a bunch of red, trying to use it…)

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