I made a simple miso-based noodle soup last week as part of our post-holiday meal recovery. My husbander and I were overstuffed with rich and delectable treats over the Christmas holiday with my family. I made this light vegetarian noodle soup upon our return from our trip. It was quick, easy, and perfect for a cold winter night. I used oriental style noodles for this recipe, but you can easily substitute regular spaghetti or buckwheat noodles. The oriental style noodles are softer and more delicate than spaghetti and I prefer the silkier texture in a light soup like this. You can find oriental style noodles and miso paste at an Asian grocery store or, depending on where you live, you might be able to find them in the international food aisle of your local grocery store. I loaded this soup up with bok choy and used tofu for the protein source, but shredded rotisserie chicken would work well too. Finally, as a throw back to my childhood ramen noodle eating days, I stirred in two beaten eggs to give the soup extra depth and more protein. (The beaten egg into the soup is the same technique that is used for egg drop soup and one of the first “cooking tricks” I learned from my mom when I was a teenager.)
As we re-stocked our kitchen after the holidays, I did my best to re-set our meals back to the normal, pre-holiday routine. In order to minimize eating out and avoid processed/pre-prepared foods, I spend a good deal of time mentally planning our meals according to our schedules and ingredients I have on hand. I find that it’s hunger that tempts us to eat out, so I plan ahead to combat the temptation. We tend to buy the same basic groceries in keeping our pantry and fridge stocked so I’m usually trying to come up with new meals using the same basic items. In any case, since I spend so much time thinking about it, I thought I’d start sharing my meal planning and menu ideas in addition to my recipes. My cooking schedule is mostly dictated by after-work commitments and my workout schedule. This semester, I’ll be teaching a course on Tuesday nights, so dinner on Tuesdays will almost always be leftovers, a slow cooker meal, or something quick, like this Miso Noodle Soup.
Here’s what’s on my table and evening meal prep for this coming week, January 6-12:
Now, onto the noodle soup!
MISO NOODLE SOUP
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (shitake mushrooms would work really well, but I only had baby bellas, so that’s what I used)
2 large slices of ginger, about ¼ inch thick each
1 hot pepper (optional, I used a jalapeno that I had on hand)
1/3 cup miso paste
7-8 cups vegetable broth
¼ pound of oriental noodles or other pasta
3 cups firm tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
2 pounds of baby bok choy (this is about 12-15 stalks of baby bok choy), washed and trimmed
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, omit for vegetarians)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 stalks of scallions, diced
pinch of Korean hot pepper flakes (optional)
In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms are soft, about 7-8 minutes.
Add the hot pepper (if using) and the miso paste. Stir to coat the mushrooms and onions with the paste.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. When the soup is boiling, add the pasta and cook. I cook the pasta right in the soup, but if you want to reduce the starch or if you are using a more traditional spaghetti, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box, then add the cooked noodles to the soup.
When the noodles are cooked, add the tofu and bok choy stirring carefully so as not to break up the tofu. As soon as the bok choy starts to wilt, add the fish sauce and turn off the heat. Stir in the beaten eggs immediately, stirring lightly to break up the eggs.
Spoon into bowls and top with fresh scallions and hot pepper flakes.