Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Miso soup is very popular in Asian cuisine as it is used in lots of dishes.

Is Miso Soup Vegan

It is extremely delicious and can either be drunk on its own or added to dishes like ramen, so it pairs very well with noodles, meat, fish, vegetables, and vegan alternatives to meat and fish like tofu and mushrooms. 

If you are a fan of Asian food, you will have had a lot of miso soup. However, you may be unsure of what ingredients it contains.

For vegans, lots of miso soup is unsuitable for them to consume, but why? 

This article will explain whether miso soup is vegan and what ingredients can make it unsuitable.

Find out if there are vegan alternatives for miso soup so that vegans can still enjoy their favorite Asian meals without breaking their vegan dietary requirements. 

What Makes Miso Soup Unsuitable For Vegans?

The main ingredients that are used to make miso soup are miso paste and broth.

Traditionally, the broth that is used to make the miso soup is made from fish, making it unsuitable for vegans to eat.

Most Japanese broths contain fish (Check out Do Vegans Eat Fish?), so it is important to be aware of the ingredients before you try some. 

Miso paste, on the other hand, is suitable for vegans to eat. The process that makes miso paste uses koji, which is a fungus, that is fermented to create sugar.

Salt and soybeans are added to the mixture to continue to ferment, which creates miso paste.

It does not contain any meat products, so unless stated otherwise, miso paste is suitable for vegans to eat.

The broth that is used to create miso soup is called katsuobushi dashi, and it is known for not being vegan due to its use of fish.

Whole sardines are added to the broth, making it unsuitable for vegans.

In Western culture, they can use traditional broth for miso soup, but some places use chicken broth instead of fish, still making it unsuitable for vegans to have. 

Can Miso Soup Be Vegan?

Katsuobushi dashi, the broth used to make miso soup, is made from fish, but it is also made from seaweed and shiitake mushrooms.

Seaweed and shiitake mushrooms are vegan, so removing the fish from the broth creates a broth that is suitable for vegans to consume.

Due to this, there are miso soups available that vegans can have. 

Some broths served are made entirely from vegetables like daikon radishes, potatoes, carrots, and spring onions, which are suitable for vegans.

Vegan dashi broth is the best option to use for authentic vegan miso soup as the broth contains seaweed, providing the salty fish flavor that other broths will miss when creating vegan miso soup. 

Do Restaurants Serve Vegan Miso Soup?

Do Restaurants Serve Vegan Miso Soup?

Some restaurants serve vegan miso soup, but you will need to ask the servers to make sure.

You should never assume that the miso soup in a restaurant is vegan as authentic miso soup is not, so it is always recommended that you check first.

The server will be able to check with the chef so that you are aware of what ingredients are used. 

Do Supermarkets Sell Vegan Miso Soup?

Miso soup can be bought in the supermarket, but you need to check the ingredients.

Most of the packets of miso soup contain seaweed instead of fish or chicken, but this does not mean that all brands are the same.

Chicken and fish are often found in supermarket miso soup, so ensure that you look for one that is suitable for your dietary needs. 

Does Miso Soup Contain Dairy?

Miso soup does not contain dairy, so it is vegan-friendly in the sense that it does not contain milk, eggs, or cheese.

The ingredients that make miso soup unsuitable for vegans are fish and chicken, so they are the only ingredients that you need to look out for, especially when you are in restaurants and when buying miso soup from the supermarket. 

Homemade Vegan Dashi

Homemade vegan dashi is very simple to make and can be used as a broth to mix with miso paste.

This allows you to make vegan miso soup that you can enjoy at home with your favorite Asian dishes! You will need to use seaweed for your broth to replicate the salty flavor of the fish.  

You simply need dried shiitake mushrooms, water, and kombu. Kombu is a type of seaweed that is used to provide the fish flavor of traditional dashi.

Soak the kombu and shiitake mushrooms in water before chopping off the heads and stems of the mushrooms.

Put the shiitake mushrooms back in the pot and simmer so that the kombu can release strong flavors.

If you want to add other vegetables to the dashi, add them to the pan and keep simmering until the vegetables are tender.

You can also add mirin or soy sauce if you want to add some more flavor to the broth. 

Once the broth is made, remove the kombu and serve. You can serve the broth with soba or udon noodles and you can even add tofu.

If you want to get more flavor from the shiitake mushrooms, it is recommended that you leave them to soak overnight. This will create a more powerful flavor for your broth, but it is up to you!

Final Thoughts

To conclude, miso soup is not usually vegan as it contains fish, but you can find miso soup that is suitable for vegans.

Miso paste is vegan as it does not contain any meat or dairy, but fish is used in the soup as it is used in traditional katsuobushi dashi, making it inedible for vegans. 

You can find vegan miso soup in the supermarket and restaurants, but check that they do not use fish or chicken in the broth.

You can also make vegan dashi at home using kombu seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, and water, so you can continue to make delicious Asian cuisine at home while still sticking to your plant-based diet. 

Clara Howie
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