by Chef Heather Hartman
12-ounce block firm tofu (I love Wildwood brand)
8 cups water
1- 4 inch piece of kombu seaweed
6 tablespoons dark or red miso
2 tablespoons light or white miso
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and medium diced
2 cups fresh spinach (or kale), rough chopped
Bonito (dried fish) flakes for garnish (optional)
Wrap the block of tofu in 2 layers of paper towels and lay on a plate. Invert a
second plate on top of the tofu and weigh down with a 28-ounce can. Leave for
10 minutes then cut the tofu into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat the water, and the kombu seaweed in a 4-quart saucepan over medium
heat. When the water reaches a low simmer, ladle 1 cup into a small bowl. Add
the miso, and whisk until smooth.
Add the butternut squash to the seaweed broth. Bring the water to a bare
simmer, and cook on low until the butternut squash is soft (about 8 minutes). Add
the miso mixture and whisk to combine. Remove the kombu seaweed and
discard (or save for your next batch of green tea!) Return to a slight simmer,
being careful not to boil the mixture. Add the spinach and scallions and cook for
another minute or until heated through. Remove from the heat, ladle into soup
bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with the bonito flakes if using.
You can also add: wakame seaweed, chopped bok choy, napa cabbage, and
diced sweet potato.
Never boil the soup after the miso has been added! Miso, like yogurt has
beneficial enzymes that can be killed off by high heat. This soup will last a day or
two in the fridge, but is best-eaten same day. Does not freeze well.
Miso paste: Made from fermented soybeans, miso is a thick paste-like substance.
Miso is brownish in color and tastes extremely salty and tangy on its own. While the
most common use of miso is in Japanese-style miso soup recipes, miso also adds a
unique burst of flavor to salad dressings, sauces and marinades, baked tofu, or
Besides soy, miso can also be made from barley, rice, or other grains. These types of
miso will vary slightly in color and taste, though can be used interchangeably in
recipes. In general, the darker the color of the miso, the stronger the taste, so if you
find the taste unpleasant, look for white or yellow miso rather than brown or barley
Look for miso in Asian grocery stores or the refrigerator section of your local health
Photo credit: japanesefoodreport.com