Jun 11

Power Breakfast–Vegetable Miso Soup

in Japanese, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Soup & Stew

As Squirrel gets older, and is eating less and less baby food and more and more "regular" food, I have begun to worry more about the things that I am cooking for us to eat every day. For a while now Squirrel has been eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast (she likes it plain, no sugar or jam, I kid you not). I have been trying to think of something else that I could give her in the mornings to occasionally shake things up a bit, and then I realized that the answer had been staring me in the face.



I just finished a book called Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat, by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle. The book was an interesting presentation of scientific evidence, statistics, anecdotes, and recipes, looking at the traditional Japanese diet in contrast to the growing problem of obesity in many countries. One of the issues addressed was breakfast. In Japan, breakfast is very different from what many Americans might eat. In Japan a typical breakfast might consist of some steamed rice, miso soup and side dishes. Common side dishes are grilled or smoked fish, a type of rolled omelet and pickled vegetables. While this combo seems nontraditional to the Western palette, if you think about it, this breakfast is a great way to start the day. It provides a balanced meal with protein, iron, other essential minerals, and vitamins. This meal gives sustained energy and nutrition, instead of something that will give you a rush, but leave you feeling hungry within a few hours of consuming it.


I'm not advocating that we all go out and start only cooking and eating Japanese food. Although I love Japanese food, I also love way too many other types of food to have the will power to do something like that. As a mother, however, I am interested in introducing a variety of healthy options to my children. So, to give variety to Squirrel's morning diet? Miso soup!
Miso is an excellent source of, vitamins, and minerals. I figure that Squirrel doesn't have any set concept of what "breakfast foods" are, so the only hurdle with serving her this dish for breakfast would be whether or not she liked the taste. This hurdle was not a hurdle at all, as Squirrel very nearly inhaled the soup because she liked it so much. Miso soup will definitely be making a regular appearance in our morning repertoire from now on.



Vegetable Miso Soup

Makes 2 servings

3 cups dashi*
1 cup vegetables, julienned or cut into small pieces**
2 scallions, roots and top cut off, with white and green parts thinly sliced and kept separate from each other
2 large eggs
1 1/4 tablespoons red or white miso paste (or use a combination of both)


1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs and put on a plate so they can cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter each egg.
2. Place the dashi in a medium saucepan. Add the vegetables and white part of the sliced scallions and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.


3. Gently whisk in the miso and turn off the heat.


4. Ladle the soup into 2 small bowls and add the eggs and green part of the sliced scallions.




* Dashi can be made from scratch, or from a powdered stock mix which you add water to.

** Add whatever veggies you have on hand. This morning I put julienned daikon and carrots in mine, but there are so many other options! You could add peas, corn, potatoes…just get creative! Open up your refrigerator and see what's inside.


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoe June 11, 2008 at 11:27 am

I’ve never got on with miso, I wonder if it was just a crap mix or something. But then I’m not really big on salty.

Do you wonder how Squirrel will adapt to American food?


Bobbi June 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I could eat soup, any soup, for every single meal and be perfectly happy.


Mrs.French June 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Oh goodness this soup looks wonderful! My mouth is seriously watering.


Melissa Hodgen June 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Ok, I can do the eggs, but I think the soup might be a strech for me. Maybe I’ll eat it for dinner and hope it gets me throught the morning.


diva June 12, 2008 at 4:31 pm

my mum just read that book and she loves it! i agree you shouldn’t be too obsessive about cuisines i suppose but japanese food is too damn good! and i grew up with it. so score for the japanese.

and joy for miso soup.


gleek June 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm

when i was in japan, the best days i had were the ones that started with a japanese-style breakfast! miso soup is a great way to start the day.


Melanie Gray Augustin June 15, 2008 at 6:50 am

I love that book and really should start using it more. I ate the power breakfast every morning for ages (with brown rice) and loved it. This is a good reminder that I should start doing it again.


Misha June 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm

You’re lucky Squirrel is such a good eater! I haven’t been able to branch out from Cheerios just yet (and that’s the plain kind, not honey) with the babe.

The traditional Japanese breakfast makes sense, fill up early and have the rest of the day to work those calories and carbohydrates off!


hyungwlee June 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Hi there

I am a publisher of THE EAST; the only English newspaper, which is mainly focused on the East Asian information (at the beginning of every month, more than 12,000 free copies are distributed throughout the London area, particularly, where East Asian Networks are established).

We should be honoured if you allow us to publish this article for the July issue.

The East cannot afford to pay for your articles as we are non-profitable organisation. However, if you wish, we might offer you:
1. Advertising space
2. Link to THE EAST web site blog section

We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Hyung Wook Lee

THE EAST, The East Asian Monthly Business Newspaper,
Elephant Consulting Limited, 37 Charter Court, Linden Grove,
New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3BN, UK
Tel : + 44 (0) 7912 608 321 / Web site: http://www.theeast.org / E mail : [email protected]
Registered in England & Wales, Company No. 6254454


mushroommeadows June 19, 2008 at 1:33 am

yum…what great breakfast foods! :) YUM!


Jennifer Thompson September 22, 2016 at 8:12 am

I just finished that book and thought, “I wonder if Fuji Mama has anything about dashi.” I made it yesterday, and it was incredible! I love the delicate flavor it brings to whatever I cook in it.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) September 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Yay!! I am so glad! Isn’t it easy?


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