Today, I needed to take a break of all the holiday indulgences I’ve been enjoying. They’ve been impossible to avoid. I baked my first pie this week, the break room at work has been littered with cookies and candy, and yesterday we got a package in the mail straight from Jeremy’s mom in Georgia with southern-style holiday treats. I recently heard that the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season each year. Which doesn’t sound like a lot…except that most of us never lose it again. Add that up over the course of a few decades and you’ve got a pretty sizeable problem.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to sit here and tell you to deprive yourself of all the sweetness that the holiday season brings. I am the worst (THE WORST!) at staying away from tempting goodies. For me, the best solution is to load up on healthy foods when I can so that I’m simply not that hungry when I’m faced with items that don’t fit into my healthy eating plan. Yeah, I’ll still eat them, but I’ll have smaller portions.
This soup, with its nourishing veggies and umami-filled broth is a good way to step back from the holiday fray…so you’ll be even more ready to fully enjoy that holiday meal. I used bonito flakes in the broth for a more authentic miso flavor. You can find them at a well-stocked asian grocery store, but feel free to substitute low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (the miso and soy sauce will add plenty of their own saltiness at the end).
Miso Soup with Vegetables
makes 6 servings
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups lightly packed bonito flakes
- 3 carrots, halved and sliced
- 2 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- 1 block medium-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- 3 Tbs miso paste
- soy sauce, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, cook 1 minute longer.
2. Add water. Place bonito flakes in a mesh container (I used a nut-milk bag) and immerse in the water to steep. You just want to be able to remove the flakes once they’ve imparted their flavor. Add carrots and white sections of bok choy and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Lower heat and remove bonito flakes. Add leafy sections of bok choy and stir until wilted. Add tofu.
4. Ladle some broth into a bowl and add miso paste. Stir until miso has dissolved and return to stock pot. Taste and add soy sauce, if desired.