March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to educate on food choices, healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors,” a chance to learn more about your own food culture and those around you. Learn how to eat a well-balanced meal with lots of flavors! Expand your diet by learning how to make an authentic Asian dish and dine at a Blue Zones Project ApprovedTM Restaurant!
Miso Soup with Vegetables
Blue Zones Recipes
Miso soup is central to the original Blue Zones(R) Okinawan cuisine, as well as the rest of Japan. Though it is considered an appetizer for lunch or dinner in American Japanese restaurants, it is enjoyed at every meal in Japan. Tofu is a common addition to this dish, which is a plant-based protein that is low in saturated fat, high in polyunsaturated fats and cholesterol-free.
- 3 tablespoons miso paste, such as shiro miso (white), miso (red) or shinshu miso (yellow)
- 1 ½ tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1 ½-inch fresh ginger piece, peeled
- ½ pound firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and the caps thinly sliced
- 2 cups pea shoots (about 3 ounces), roughly chopped
- 6 medium scallions, trimmed and thinly chopped
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Put the miso, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and 1 cup water in a food processor or a large blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth, scraping down the inside of the canister at least once.
- Stir the miso mixture into 4 additional cups water in a medium saucepan. Add the tofu, mushrooms, pea shoots and scallions; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce before serving.
Tip: If you like more texture, finely mince the garlic and ginger but don’t put them in the food processor or blender. Instead, add them with the tofu in step 2.
Tip: If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not available, soak 4 large, dried shiitakes with warm tap water in a small bowl for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth to remove grit. Use this soaking liquid, reducing the amount of water in the saucepan by an equivalent amount.
Tip: Substitute baby spinach or stemmed watercress for the pea shoots.
Blue Zones Project Approved Restaurants
Eastern Asian Cuisine
- Bistro Miyoda
- Flyin Fin Sushi and Seafood
- IShabu Shabu
- King Shabu Shabu
- Kirari West
- O-Sho Sushi
- W’s China Bistro
Southeast Asian Cuisine
Southern Asian Cuisine
For more details and the complete list of the Blue Zones Project Approved Restaurants, visit bchd.org/restaurants.