Is miso soup vegan? The ultimate guide to choosing a vegan miso soup



Many Asian restaurants open their meals with miso soup – a Japanese staple made from fermented grains and soybeans, made into a broth called dashi. be mixed and often served with tofu and vegetables. Unfortunately for vegans, most miso soups use fish broth, which makes them inedible.

Fortunately, there are vegan miso soup options in both restaurants and grocery stores. Learn more about what’s in miso and how to make sure your next order is vegan.

Why most miso soups are not vegan

The most common forms of miso soup are made up of two main ingredients: Miso paste, after which the soup is named, and dashi, a family of traditional Japanese broths that generally contain fish. Depending on the region, other ingredients such as tofu, vegetables, soba noodles, shellfish, and even pork are also added to the soup and cooked.

Miso paste starts with koji – a vegan-friendly type of mushroom known as Aspergillus oryzae Grown on steamed grains such as rice, wheat, or barley. The koji or other fungi or bacteria ferment the mixture and convert the grains into sugar. Soybeans and salt are added to the mixture and fermented a second time, making the miso paste its own rich umami taste. For this reason, almost all miso pastes are vegan-friendly.

But miso soup is more than the sum of its paste; Dashi, a Japanese broth or broth, is the second most important ingredient and is responsible for much of the taste of miso soup.

Katsuobushi Dashi classically consists of dried shiitake mushrooms, seaweed (a type of brown seaweed), bonito (a type of bonito tuna) and whole baby sardines and is clearly not vegan. When shellfish are added to the soup, the clams often provide the flavor instead of the dashi. Some American and European versions of miso soup use western-style fish or chicken broth instead of dashi.

When is miso soup vegan?

While the most common types of miso soup use a non-vegan dashi broth, there are also vegan-friendly varieties. Use of vegan dashi sticks only seaweed and shiitake mushrooms and are popular outside of Japan. In the United States, you can also find miso soup, which uses a western-style vegetable broth made from vegetables like spring onions, daikon radishes, carrots, and potatoes.

If you order in a restaurant, you can ask your waiter if the chef can prepare a vegan-friendly shiitake (hoshi.) in Japanese) or seaweed (kombu) miso soup. Many varieties of instant miso soup that you can buy at grocery stores are also vegan. Like the restaurant vegan miso soup, these packets generally use seaweed or other seaweed as dashi. Be sure to read the label, however, as these dehydrated one-serving soup mixes regularly contain other non-vegan ingredients such as chicken broth or other fish products.

Did you know already?

Bonito tuna, a key ingredient in traditional Japanese miso soup, is generally fished at the same time as other types of tuna – bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna. Both bigeye and yellowfin tuna populations are declining due to overfishing. Scientists are working on Acoustic technology This will reduce bigeye and yellowfin fishing while allowing skipjack fishing.

Varieties of miso soup

Miso is classified by color, and these varieties relate solely to the type of miso paste used – not the finished soup. You will often see these differences on single-serving soup packs in the grocery store and containers of miso paste.

  • White (shiro) miso has a mild, slightly sweet taste that comes from its shorter fermentation time and higher rice-to-soybean ratio.
  • Red (aka) miso has a dark color and a deep umami taste. In addition to rice, red miso often also contains barley or rye and is fermented for a long time – between one and three years.
  • Yellow (awase) miso combines white and red miso for a sweet and salty taste.
  • Genmai miso– Miso specialty – gets its taste from brown rice instead of white.
  • Hatcho misoAnother specialty, miso, contains only fermented soybeans and salt, which gives it an intense taste.

frequently asked Questions

  • Is miso always vegan?

    Miso paste – made from soybeans, grains, and salt fermented with a mushroom – is usually vegan. However, miso soup often contains non-vegan ingredients like dashi broth, which typically contains fish.

  • Does miso have milk?

    No, neither miso paste nor miso soup contain milk. Miso is always dairy-free, but not necessarily vegan.

  • Is miso soup made from fish?

    In most cases, yes. Fish is an integral part of the Japanese broth known as dashi, the second main ingredient in most miso soups. Dashi usually contains a mix of dried fish (baby sardines and smoked bonito), dried shiitake mushrooms, and dried seaweed. Some versions also contain shellfish.

  • What is Miso stock made of?

    Most miso broth is dashi, a Japanese broth made from dried fish, seaweed, and shiitake mushrooms. Japanese versions of the vegan miso broth use dashi, which contains only mushrooms and seaweed. Miso broth in the United States can use Western-style vegetable, chicken, or fish stock in place of dashi.

  • Why is miso soup not vegan?

    Since the most common miso soup recipes contain fish, miso soup is generally not considered vegan. However, there are vegan versions that are available in restaurants as well as in stores.



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