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Is miso soup vegan?

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Whether you enjoy with a bowl of rice or as a late night hot noodle soup, miso soup is a healthy and filling dish that is easily made.

Miso soup is a Japanese-based soup obtained from combining miso paste, stock base, and other ingredients such as seaweed, tofu and mushrooms that are all subject to the recipe. 

Is miso soup vegan? Yes and no, miso soup can be vegan or not based on the type of stock that is used. Generally, miso paste is considered as vegan, but miso soup is versatile and uses broth from fish-derived ingredients or Kombu Dashi stock. 

This simple and hearty dish includes bean sprouts, green onion, and fresh tofu, and dried wake to help to add kelp-like taste. However, miso soup is easily adaptable to use vegetable broth in order to make it vegan.

Miso soup has recently gained popularity in western countries, where vegan or plant-based diets are gaining popularity. As such, one may wonder whether miso soup is vegan or not, so this article answers frequently asked questions about whether miso soup is vegan or not.

Is miso soup vegan?

Yes and no, miso soup can be vegan. However, its preparation and typically the stock base determine whether or not it is vegan friendly.

The truth is that most traditional miso soups aren’t typically vegan. The ingredients used and what kind of soup base it has been started with will determine if it is vegan or non-vegan.

Miso soup as vegan includes ingredients such as Kombu stock, mushrooms, potatoes, and tofu. 

However, it’s regarded as non-vegan if it contains stock made from fish, pork, or chicken. 

So, the surefire way of determining whether miso soup is vegan or not is through ingredients. It is advisable to always ask the kitchen before deciding to order a bowl of miso soup at any restaurant. 

Is miso soup typically vegan?             

No, typically miso soup is not vegan, however the miso paste is generally vegan. The primary ingredient that determines whether miso soup is vegan or not is the stock or broth. 

Miso soup’s main ingredients are obtained from soybeans and mixed with miso, mushrooms and seaweed. 

This does not only make it vegan friendly, but also boasts many nutritional health benefits. Some of them include vitamin b12 and proteins, which are some of the things vegetarians easily overlook in a plant-based diet. 

Miso soup is prepared using two main ingredients; Japanese style-stock or Dashi and miso paste. 

Miso soup occasionally contains egg, meat, or pork stocks, which are all considered non-vegan. 

To give the soup a salty taste, it is added with regional ingredients such as Niboshi and Bonito flakes. Since fish is the main ingredient, it is clear to say that miso soup isn’t vegan-friendly. 

In other words, a miso soup prepared using animal-derived products is typically non-vegan. But, most western recipes substitute Dashi stocks with chicken stock, which again aren’t vegan friendly. 

So, it is a good idea to ask the type of Dashi used before ordering from a restaurant or buying from the market.

What is miso soup paste made of?

Miso soup paste mainly combines soybeans and a Japanese mold known as Koji, which is scientifically known as Aspergillus Oryzae. This is a substance that is obtained from fermenting barley, rice, and soybeans. 

Some of the other ingredients include salt, rice, and water. It takes weeks or even years for the enzymes present in Koji to break down the structure of the grains into simple sugars, fatty acids, and amino acids. 

It is also recommended to start preparing miso three months before the warm weather starts. In most cases, the fermentation is prepared when the temperature is below 50 Fahrenheit. The miso is then taken outside, where the temperature ranges from 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Miso paste is typically vegan, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that miso soup is vegan too. 

The broth in miso soup is Dashi, which is prepared in several different ways. Some Dashi uses Japanese stocks or Katsuobushi made with bonito flakes, while others use Japanese anchovies instead of stock. 

If the fermentation takes an extended period, expect a darker flavored miso paste. The shorter the fermentation period, the lighter and sweeter the miso becomes. 

Miso soup pastes come in many different types depending on the ingredients used in the production. It can be yellow, white, red, or brown, which result in different flavors and tastes. 

Miso paste is used in several dishes, including classic sauces and plenty of macrobiotic recipes including salad dressings. 

Does miso soup have meat or fish?

Yes and no, miso soup may have used meat or fish in preparation of the broth or stock. 

Some of the typical vegan ingredients include tofu, garlic, ginger, carrots, green onion and mushrooms. 

However, miso soup containing meat or fish is considered non-vegan. The common ingredients of miso soup are plant-derived, but sometimes the broth and stock are obtained from fish and other animals. 

Is miso soup dairy-free?

Yes, miso soup is dairy-free and does not contain any milk at all.

However, miso soup can still be a non-vegan dish if it contains ingredients such as meat, eggs, fish, and pork. And this makes it easy to prepare vegan miso soup because it only requires vegetable stock, Kombu Dashi, and water. 

Is miso soup gluten-free?

Yes and no, miso soup may or may not be gluten-free. If the miso soup is made with any grains in the miso or seasoned with soy sauce, then the miso soup may not be gluten-free.

Some miso soup is gluten-free. but like other recipes, miso soup comes with plenty of variation that makes it hard to identify whether it’s gluten-free or not. 

Miso soup is typically not gluten-free unless it is individually prepared. The preparation of miso soup includes miso paste and fermented fish. 

The gluten comes from the process of making miso paste, which is a fermented soybean mixed with other grains such as barley. Some miso pastes are prepared using rice, chickpeas, or corn, and are labeled as gluten-free, especially true with black and white miso pastes 

However, the yellow and red miso pastes are generally made using barley which is not a gluten-free grain. Unsurprisingly, these different types of miso paste have unique flavors that compliment certain dishes. 

So, making yourself a miso soup provides the most control over what to included and what to avoid. Also, reading the label beforehand is the best way to prevent problematic gluten. 

Some producers label their miso gluten-free, meaning they are proven to be safe for those with celiac disease.

In addition, avoid those soups with labels containing soy sauce, wheat, barley, modified food starch, or flour because these are all sources of gluten. 

Vegan miso soup

Can Vegans Eat Miso Soup: Conclusion

Miso soup is vegan unless it contains meat or fish-derived ingredients that are typically used when making the soup base. In addition, some soups may also use pork or chicken bones when making the stock, which makes it not suitable for vegan.

Traditionally, miso soup is not vegan when animal-based Kombu Dashi stock is used. 

On the other hand, miso paste is considered truly vegan. Therefore, miso soup is versatile to become vegan or non-vegan depend on the stock choices. 

Most of the time miso soups are dairy-free and do not contain any milk or egg, but it may not be gluten free if that is another concern.

Miso and soy sauce are commonly made with grains that are not gluten-friendly including wheat, barley, starch, and flour. Generally, yellow and red miso are made out of barley, therefore it is not gluten-free. 

So, be cautious of what kind of miso paste or miso soup you choose if you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

The best way to identify if miso soup contains animal-based ingredients is to ask the staff before purchasing or checking the ingredients list. And if you have any gluten or dairy restriction in your diet, this information will guide you to make the right choice when maintaining your vegan diet.

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