Hey– is anyone else feeling lately that they’ve really gotta squeeze back into their pre-December clothes? Ahhh, January. The new year, the new resolve to be healthy. This time of year presents the perfect opportunity to get back into the kitchen and make some healthy food, and nothing satisfies in this cold weather like a big bowl of soup. It’s warming, hyrdrating, comforting, and, generally speaking, a really nutritious option for those wanting to detox a little after weeks of nog sluggin’ and beer chuggin’. Holed up in my apartment, hiding from this week’s bracing cold winds, I searched for a soup recipe that would utilize the pantry staples I had on hand…which wasn’t much really, and an odd mix of things to boot. I came across the following recipe for MisoTahini Soup on 101cookbooks.com, and thought Huh, now there’s a couple of delicious flavors that I wouldn’t have thought to combine. And how delicious a combination it turned out to be!
It doesn’t take a cabinet of spices to make this awesome soup, but you’ll need a handful fresh items: a turnip, some avocado, a delicata squash, and some chives. The rest is pretty much the kind of stuff you’d find in the back of the kitchen cupboard or the door of the fridge. Easy and delicious — just what healthy cooking ought to be if you ask me.
At a glance: One big reason to love miso is that it’s part of the wonderful family of fermented foods. Your body will love you for enjoying more living foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee. With that in mind, don’t boil your miso. Always add your miso once whatever you’re cooking has cooled a little. That will keep more of those healthy bacteria active and happy (where they can thrive in your gut, keeping your digestive system working well). Miso is also high in minerals like zinc and manganese, as well as an array of phytonutrients.
Miso Tahini Soup
This recipe comes from 101cookbooks.com and the full story can be found here.
1 small-medium delicata squash, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch crescents
1 medium white turnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 cups water
4 tablespoons white miso, or to taste
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon
3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 avocado, sliced
1 bunch of chives, minced
toasted nori (or kale), crumbled, for serving
toasted sesame seeds
Add the squash and turnips to a large pot, cover with the water, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool just slightly. Pour a few tablespoons of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso (to thin it out a bit–this step is to avoid clumping). Stir the thinned miso back into the pot along with the tahini, and lemon zest. At this point, taste, and adjust the broth to your liking, it might need a bit more miso (for saltiness)…or more tahini.
To serve, place a generous scoop of rice in each bowl along with some of the squash and turnips. Ladle broth over the vegetables, and finish with a few slices of avocado, a sprinkling of chives, toasted nori, and sesame seeds.
If you have leftovers and need to reheat the soup, you’ll want to do so gently, over low heat, to preserve the qualities of the miso.
Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 15 min
Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg