Miso Soup

So I have been feeling a little under the weather. I had a rough cold right after Christmas and through New Years and I don’t think my body truly purged it because it snuck up on me again a few days ago. The weird part is I have not been sick in almost a year. I owe that to my healthy diet and lifestyle. But when I do get sick I try to stay away from over the counter drugs and antibiotics because I believe in my body’s ability to naturally heal itself. I am not saying I will never take medicine again, but I certainly hold it off until absolutely necessary. Colds are usually pretty easy to fight–lots of rest, fluids and nourishing food usually do the trick. I also take echinacea, drink herbal and home-brewed teas (The Kind Life Cure-All Tea is one of my favorites!) and add some extra vitamin supplements into my diet.

This morning Miso Soup seemed like the perfect feel-better comfort food. There are many benefits of Miso Soup for the body, especially during illness. It is fairly easy to whip up and since I am not feeling too hot I will probably leave it on the stove all day and have a bowl whenever I’m hungry–easy on the digestive system, soothing to the body and the full of active enzymes! Miso is a paste made by fermenting rice, barely, soybeans, sea salt, and koji (a Japanese fungus). Although Miso is a little high in sodium (in other words do not eat it all day every day!), its benefits are numerous. It is high in protein and very rich in vitamins, minerals and active-enzymes. Miso soup should never be boiled because the boiling process kills the active enzymes. I always cook my Miso on low! It is best to cook up a nice veggie soup and add the Miso last as I describe below. Miso is also believed to stimulate the digestive system and energize the body!

In addition, I load my Miso soup up with Sea Vegetables. Sea Vegetables (aka seaweeds) are so good for us! They are packed full of nutrients such as Vitamin K, iodine, folate, magnesium, calcium, iron and so much more. Research has also shown that Sea Vegetables may play a role in lowering the risk of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer. Read more here.

Ingredients:
1 large carrot
1 med. parsnip
1/2 med. sweet onion
1 Tbs. chopped Wakame (sea vegetable)
1 Tbs. chopped Nori (sea vegetable)
1 c. chopped kale
1 tsp. Tamari
1 tbs. freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 Tbs. White Miso paste
1 1/2 Tbs. Brown Rice Miso paste
1 c. cooked brown rice
Sriracha hot sauce to taste- spicy foods clear the sinuses, but it depends on how much you can handle it! :)
***I also usually include chopped bok choy and sometimes cubed tofu but did not have either of these ingredients on hand this morning

1. Bring 4 qt. water to boil. Reduce heat to medium and add Wakame. This sea vegetable is sold dried and hard so it will take awhile to soften, that is why I start my soup with the seaweed.

2.  Thinly slice carrots, onion and parsnips as shown.

3.  Add veggies to soup. Keep heat on medium.

4. Chop kale and add to soup.

5.  Add Tamari and grated ginger. At this point you will need to let everything cook on medium to med/low heat for about 30-60 minutes. I let everything cook through an entire episode of CSI so that would be about an hour :) You can speed up the time by covering the soup. Cook until the veggies are nice and soft.

6. While your veggies are cooking down you can make your rice. I made about a cup of brown rice with my rice cooker. After the rice is cooked and the veggies have softened you can add the rice to the soup.

**Should be looking something like this so far. 

7.  Pull your miso out of the fridge and scoop about 1 1/2 Tbs. each into separate bowl. If you want you can use 3 Tbs. of one kind of Miso, it is up to you. There are many kinds including Brown Rice, Red, White and Barley. Here I have Brown Rice Miso and White Soy Miso.

8. Ladle out some of the broth from you veggie soup on the stove top. Add about a ladle full of water to the miso bowl.

9. Carefully stir miso and water to incorporate paste into the liquid. Try to get rid of all the chunks. Sometimes I smear the Miso around the side of the bowl and then scoop it back down into the liquid to make this process a bit easier. Eventually it will look like this.

10. Add Miso liquid to your soup, stir it all together and take a small taste. Sometimes I add a little more miso, or if I have overdone it I add more water to balance it out. Turned out perfect this time :)
11. Last, I chopped up some Nori seaweed and added that to the soup. Cook for about 2-3 minutes to soften the Nori. Add some Sriracha, scoop yourself a bowl and enjoy!

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