Miso is an incredibly versatile soup base. Here, we add vegetables, tofu, and shellfish for a hearty, warming, complete meal.

It’s spring, and we’re trying to eat lighter to lose winter fat we’ve camouflaged under sweaters and winter coats. I always think of miso soup as a perfect way to waltz into spring.

This recipe take about 10 minutes total to make. It’s good the next day, too.

What is miso? It’s a traditional Japanese fermented food made from a paste of soybeans with a live culture known as koji, often with other ingredients. WebMD says miso “can get your digestive system moving. Probiotic-filled miso is often used to make a salty soup that’s low in calories and high in B vitamins and protective antioxidants.”

Miso has a complex flavor that adds “umami,” also known as the “fifth taste,” or a complex heartiness to dishes.

Make sure your miso is organic, and use organically-grown veggies as well. Pesticides and herbicides don’t do any body good.

I made this for myself all kinds of ways. I loved it with Hodu Soy Yuba, the thin skin that forms on top of a vat of boiling soy milk. I slice Yuba into ribbon noodles and slip them into the soup. For company, I once made this with baby scallops and everyone finished their portion and said, “More!”

Serves 4-6

8 C fish, chicken or veggie stock (I used Anneto fish broth) 2 C sliced shiitake mushrooms (trim stem end, but chunk or slice the whole mushroom)
2 Tbsp your favorite miso paste (I prefer a mellow white miso) 2# baby scallops or 1 package firm tofu, cubed, or 1 package Hodu Soy Yuba, cut into ribbons
¼ C seaweed (I used hijiki)  4 C sliced bok choy
some red or black pepper, about 1 tsp 1 bunch scallions, chopped, for garnish

In a soup pot over medium heat, bring stock to a simmer. Take out about a cup, and put that into a small bowl. Add miso to that cup of stock and whisk until paste is dissolved. Add back into the pot with the seaweed, pepper, bok choy, mushrooms and protein of your choice. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, just until soup starts to simmer (don’t boil) and protein is heated through. Ladle out and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.  You’ll be amazed how satisfying this is!