My belly has been very unhappy lately. I eat fairly clean, even when I'm crazy stressed like I am right now. Most likely, it's that crazy stress that is causing the problem. I am a tax accountant and it is the middle of March—there isn't a whole lot I can do about the stress factor. So I have been trying to eat and drink foods to help make my belly happy again. This recipe for a simple miso soup with baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms was born from desperation.
Let's break down the ingredients and why I chose them.
- Garlic, when used in moderation, can be good for digestion. Garlic is high in acid, so go easy with it.
- Ginger root is excellent for stomach issues, as well as relieving pain and inflammation.
- Soy Miso is fermented soybeans and although it is high in sodium, research has show that despite that, it actually has not been found to increase blood pressure (unlike with table salt). It's a great source of manganese, zinc and copper, as well as protein and fiber. And the fermentation factor...well that's the cat's meow for digestive health.
- Baby bok choy is high in vitamin A and C. If you have a cold or the flu, sauté up some bok choy instead of drinking a glass of high sugar and acid orange juice.
- Shiitake mushrooms contain this cool nutrient called eritadenine (DEA), which stimulates the body's tissues to absorb cholesterol, which in turn decreases the amount of cholesterol in your blood-flow. They are high in bio-available iron and high in copper. They are also thought to stimulate the immune system and to have antibacterial properties which prevent bad gut bacteria. There are many conflicting theories on this last bit of information though, as many believe the fabulous fungi promotes gut bacteria such as candida. From what I have read, I lean more towards the side who think they provide good gut health.
This soup is simple, subtle, and nutritious—all the things a happy belly craves. Certainly add salt, pepper, some heat, more veggies, whatever you are craving to make this simple soup your own.
However, if like me, you are needing to sooth your stomach or are fighting the cold or flu, then this soup is perfect just as it is. I promise you, chicken noodle has nothing on this.
Speaking of noodles, I do like to add some vermicelli rice noodles to my miso soup. It is completely optional and they have no nutritional value that I can think of, in fact maybe just the opposite (white carbs). But I like them and well, I'm putting them in my bowl.
This soup comes together so quick. Start by crushing and then dicing 2 cloves of garlic and about an inch of fresh peeled ginger root. Place them in a big soup pot with 6 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of organic white soy miso paste.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a soft boil (as seen above) for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, break out those beautiful baby bok choys. Slice the ends off them and rinse well to remove all the sand and dirt. Get your shiitake mushrooms out and de-stem them. Brush off the tops with a damp paper towel and then cut into strips.
Add them to the pot and continue to cook on the soft boil for another 5 minutes.
If you are going to add the vermicelli rice noodles to your soup, place the noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the rice noodles. Let stand for 2 minutes; strain and set aside.
To put it all together, ladle the miso soup into individual soup bowls. Using a fork, twirl the vermicelli rice noodles to gather about 1/4 - 1/3 of a cup. Place in the middle of your miso soup bowl.
See, I told you this was simple.
Happy gut—at least for the day. Now to work on the stress release.
Time: 30 minutes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tbsp white miso paste, gluten-free
6 c water
8 baby bok choy, bottoms removed and cleaned
3.5 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms, destemmed
4 oz. vermicelli rice noodles
Boiling water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot or dutch oven pan, combine first 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower temperature to a soft boil for 10 minutes.
Add the baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms and continue cooking on a soft boil for another 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over dry vermicelli rice noodles. Let stand for 2 minutes and strain.
Ladle the miso soup into individual soup bowls. Using a fork, twirl the vermicelli rice noodles to gather about 1/4 - 1/3 of a cup. Place in the middle of your miso soup bowl.