The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Miso Soup

vegan miso soup

Did you know that Japanese people eat typically miso soup at least once daily? Miso soup is one of the significant foundations of Japanese cuisine. Now, it can be found worldwide. 

Miso soup is made from traditional flavors. It's nutritious, delicious, and high in protein. The savory soup can be consumed at any time of day, whether it's for your morning meal or something to finish your evening. 

However, you might be wondering — is there such a thing as vegan miso soup?

While most miso soup isn't vegan, some types are available for you to purchase. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about the history of miso soup, what makes miso soup vegan, and where you can buy some. 

The Origins of Miso Soup

Miso soup originated in China, not Japan. Buddhist priests introduced the dish to the Japanese over 1,300 years ago. 

During that time, fermented soybeans, grains, and salt mixtures were the best method to preserve food. This process formed the foundation of the miso soup recipe. 

The Japanese took traditional Chinese soybean paste and transformed it into shoyu and miso. Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce. 

Miso was initially considered a prized delicacy. Japanese nobility were the only ones who ate it since it was considered a luxury food item.

Years later, the Samurai adopted it into their diet. That's because miso gives those who eat it a burst of energy. 

Now, there are more than 1,000 Japanese producers of miso. There are regional differences between the miso made in each area. 

Rice miso is more prevalent in northern Japan since there are many rice farms. You'll find sweet white miso around the ancient city of Kyoto. Those in southern Japan prefer miso made from grains, such as barley. 

Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Most miso soups that you can purchase include two ingredients. These ingredients are:

  • Miso paste 
  • Dashi

Dashi is a classic Japanese broth. This broth usually contains fish. 

Other ingredients are added to the dish depending on where you are in Japan. Some ingredients you might find in miso soup include:

  • Vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Shellfish
  • Pork
  • Soba noodles

As a result, most miso soup isn't vegan. 

What's in Miso Paste?

Miso paste is made with koji. Koji is a fungus strain that's vegan friendly. The fungus is grown on grains like barley, wheat, or rice. 

The mixture gets fermented by the koji. It takes the grains, transforming them into sugar. 

Then, salt and soybeans get added to the mixture. It's then fermented again. This second fermentation gives the miso paste its rich flavor. 

Due to how miso paste is made, most options available are vegan-friendly. Unfortunately, there's more to miso soup than just the paste. 

What's in Dashi?

Dashi is one of the essential ingredients in miso soup. The broth gives the soup a lot of its flavor. 

Dashi usually includes the following ingredients:

  • Kelp
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Baby sardines
  • Bonito (tuna)

Some European and American versions of the soup use chicken or another type of fish broth. 

How Can I Make Miso Vegan Soup?

While non-vegan soup tends to be more commonly found, vegan-friendly options are available. Some dashi stocks can get made with only the shiitake mushrooms and kelp. You can also find vegan miso soup that uses broth made from veggies, such as:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Daikon radishes
  • Onions

If you're in a restaurant, you can check with your server to see if the restaurant offers a vegan miso soup option. There are also instant soup options available, like our Miso Delicious Soup. You can whip up miso soup in the comfort of your home in a few minutes. 

If you do decide to purchase instant vegan miso soup, be sure to read the labels. You want to ensure that there aren't any non-vegan ingredients, like fish products or chicken stock. 

What Are the Different Types of Miso Soup?

Did you know that miso soup is classified by its color? Each variety refers to what miso paste is used in the soup. If you're shopping for miso paste in the store, it's good to know what each color means. 

White miso has a slightly sweet and mild flavor. The flavor is achieved since it doesn't ferment as long as other options. It also has a higher ratio of rice to soybeans. 

Red miso has dark coloring and a strong umami flavor. In addition to containing rice, red miso also includes rye or barely. The fermentation process lasts from one to three years. 

Yellow miso combines red and white miso. The result is a salty and sweet flavor. 

Hatch miso is a specialty type. It includes only salt and fermented soybeans. The flavor is very intense. 

Another specialty type of miso is genmai miso. The flavor of this miso paste comes from brown rice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Miso is one of the most famous Japanese dishes. Let's discuss some of the most commonly asked questions. 

Is Miso Soup Non-Vegan?

Miso soup is traditionally made from non-vegan ingredients. These ingredients include fish, pork, and other meats. Vegan options are available in stores or restaurants. 

Does Miso Soup Contain Milk?

Miso soup or paste doesn't contain milk. While miso soup isn't traditionally vegan, it's dairy-free. 

Is There Fish in Miso Soup?

Fish is an essential ingredient in the broth in miso soup. The broth contains sardines, smoke bonito, and sometimes shellfish. 

Satisfy Your Cravings With Vegan Miso Soup

Our instant vegan miso soup is a great way to enjoy a healthy meal in minutes. Whether you need a quick snack in the afternoon or a side dish for dinner, you can't go wrong with an instant soup from Oh So Tasty. 

Nourish yourself with healthy ingredients. Shop our online selection of instant soups.