Japanese Country Power Breakfast (Miso Soup)

March 29, 2006 at 6:17 am (breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, Japanese, Miso, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

The book “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old–Or Fat Either” recommends eating miso soup for breakfast, or what the author calls “Japanese Country Power Breakfast.” I don’t really follow her recipe but I love the idea. It’s very filling, tasty, and low-calorie. It’s also a great way to use up small amounts of leftover vegetables. I try to eat this “power breakfast” at least once a week for breakfast.

What I put in my miso soup (some subset depending on what I have):

  • Group 1. root vegetables or winter squash, whatever I have on hand: carrots, yams/sweet potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, potato. This is actually a great way to use up something like turnips that I don’t generally like that much. They’re pretty good in miso soup, though. Parsnips are quite sweet, which is a bit odd in the soup, but not unpleasant.
  • Group 2. mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash or other soft vegetables
  • Group 3. cabbage, shredded, or leafy greens sliced finely
  • Group 4. diced scallions and/or bean sprouts
  • Tofu, diced into squares
  • Brown rice, pre-cooked or other leftover whole grains, about 2 Tablespoons per person
  • Fried (free-range) egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, cut into strands (about 1/2 – 1 egg per person)
  • Miso. I prefer red miso. (some info on miso varieties)


  1. If you’re adding an egg, beat it in a bowl with a little bit of salt and pepper. Heat a small skillet (I use my 7 1/2 inch All Clad Stainless fry pan) over high heat, spray with oil, and add the egg. Lift the corners and tilt the pan to let the uncooked bits get cooked. When it’s cooked remove it from the heat. It’s okay to leave it in the pan though.,
  2. Put some water on to boil. For one person use a 2 quart pot and 3 cups of water? Maybe a little less?
  3. Prepare your vegetables from group 1. Peel or seed if needed and dice finely. Add them to the water before anything else to start to soften. When the water comes to a boil turn it down so it’s only boiling lightly. Cook for about 3? minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare any vegetables from group 2. Add them to the boiling water. Cook for about 2? minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare any vegetables from group 3, and dice your tofu and get out your brown rice. Add them to the boiling water, and cook for about 2? minutes.
  6. Off the heat, but it’s okay to leave the pan on the burner, even if you have an electric stove. Add your miso. I think for 3 cups of water you need about 1.5 Tbs. of miso (I need to check this). I’m usually lazy, and just mix the miso directly into the soup. Stir it well because if you don’t you could get a lump of miso, which is incredibly salty and so pretty unpleasant. Alternatively, use a small sieve, and push the miso through the sieve into the soup, to avoid any lumps.
  7. Add scallions or bean sprouts and your fried egg if desired. I like to cut my fried egg into strands using scissors.

My Notes:

I’d recommend not trying to put too many different ingredients in your miso soup. I’d choose probably three different vegetables only.

You’ll need an extra-large soup bowl for this breakfast. A little cereal bowl just won’t cut it. This breakfast is extremely healthy but high in sodium from the miso, so go light on sodium for the rest of the day.

I finished my miso and bought a new container and it tasted so good, much better than before. It could be I was just hungrier, but I was wondering if miso loses flavor with age? How long does miso last in the fridge? Anyone know?

The author of the above book makes her miso soup with dashi (a broth made from kombu and fish flakes) but I don’t eat fish and it’s easier to just use water, plus I’m not a big fan of the fishy flavor. Maybe that’s why I liked today’s soup better–no kombu?

I just noticed I don’t have broccoli or cauliflower on my list. Have I never put them in miso soup?

Clearly this recipe needs work, as I don’t have amounts for the vegetables and even the amounts I do have are total guesses. I’ll try to pay more attention next time I make it.

Rating: B
Derek: B (much to his surprise, he was quite skeptical when I said I was making miso soup for breakfast)


  1. Jenn said,

    I’ve been hearing about miso soup for breakfast, but I haven{t gotten around to trying it yet. I do like my breakfasts warm, especially during winter! But I’m terribly lazy in the morning. Do you think I could prep this the night before (or a big batch at the beginning of the week), and just reheat it (cooking and adding the egg fresh) each morning?

    • captious said,

      Yep, you could definitely make it ahead. But when you reheat the soup make sure not to bring it to a boil!

  2. Healthy vegetarian breakfast ideas | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] sell. Plus we usually barely have enough leftovers for lunch, never mind breakfast too. I use to do miso soup for breakfast, but I stopped, not sure […]

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