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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
March 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm
i looooove miso soup
March 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm
Me too – and it’s so packed full of healthful goodness 🙂
March 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm
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!
March 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm
You are halfway there if you have miso paste on hand – hope you enjoy it, and thanks for your comments!
March 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm
I love miso soup, but I’ve never made it myself. This looks so good, I’ll have to give it a try soon!
March 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm
If you can find miso paste and dashi powder it is super easy! Hope you try it 🙂
March 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm
March 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm
March 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm
This is a delicious-looking miso soup. I’ve never had it with salmon before – great idea! I want to try it…
March 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm
Thanks, Sar. The salmon makes it a hearty meal. Cooking anything Japanese reminds me of our time there 🙂
March 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm
Miso soup is so delicious. I love your addition of extra protein to make it hearty!
March 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm
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 🙂 And this Hokkaido version is one of my all-time favorites.
March 4, 2014 at 9:05 pm
What warm and comforting looking soup!
March 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Thanks – that’s just how I think of this soup 🙂
March 5, 2014 at 4:45 am
Beautiful dish! I’ve never tried to prepare miso soup on my own… thanks for sharing your recipe!
March 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm
Thanks! It’s really easy, especially this version with the instant dashi. Hope you try it 🙂
March 5, 2014 at 6:31 am
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! 🙂
March 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm
Thanks, Angie, but I can’t say I want to force-feed you salmon 😉 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 🙂
March 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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!
March 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm
Thanks, that’s so nice of you. Glad I reminded you to make more miso soup; it’s so good for us!
March 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm
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 http://www.theglutenfreetreadmill.com
This looks delicious!
March 12, 2014 at 11:29 am
Oops! Thanks, Laura! I will go check out your new blog 🙂
March 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm
No, thank you! I just wanted to make sure you knew!
March 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm
That looks wonderful! I just made Soupe à 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. 🙂
March 12, 2014 at 11:30 am
Definitely. It’s warm & hearty! Here’s to hoping spring is on its way 🙂
March 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm
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!
March 12, 2014 at 11:33 am
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!
March 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm
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. 😀
March 12, 2014 at 11:48 am
I love variations on miso soup too — in Oita we had dango-jiru with homemade wide, flat noodles — so comforting and hearty! I think they put carrots and other vegetables not usually in a traditional miso-shiru. Have you heard of this? A little village in the mountains of Oita specialized in this and had a dango-jiru festival every year 🙂 http://www.pref.oita.jp/10400/o_net/back_no/vol_01/english/taste.html
March 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm
Although I had many kinds of miso-shiru, I cannot say that I had this marvelous sounding dango-jiru. A cool website too. 😀
March 12, 2014 at 4:27 am
I also added sake, shirataki (yam Noodles), and daikon just because I had it on hand
March 12, 2014 at 11:38 am
That sounds wonderful! I’ve been craving daikon lately, why didn’t I think of this? 🙂 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!
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November 4, 2017 at 5:10 pm
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!
March 21, 2019 at 5:41 am
Will the recipe work as well with red miso paste versus white (I have a bunch of red, trying to use it…)
March 21, 2019 at 2:30 pm
Hi there, I do think it will work fine, though I haven’t tried it this way myself. I imagine it will be an even heartier umami flavor.