White-Miso Tofu Soup With Watercress

Makes 8 cups.

Note: Kombu is a dried sea vegetable that is used to flavor stock, and is available in the Japanese food section of larger supermarkets, co-ops and Asian markets. If you don’t want to use it, add more dried mushrooms. In winter, use sweet potatoes instead of radish, and chopped kale instead of watercress, for a seasonal approach. From Robin Asbell.

• 1 tsp. canola oil

• 1 lb. firm tofu

• 2 tsp. tamari soy sauce

• 6 c. water or vegetable stock

• 1 piece kombu (see Note)

• 2 large dried mushrooms

• 1 whole carrot, sliced

• 2 ribs celery, chopped

• 1/2 medium watermelon radish or 1 c. chopped daikon

• 1/2 c. white miso

• 2 c. watercress leaves

• Cooked sushi rice, if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the canola oil on a sheet pan with a rim and set the pan aside.

To prepare the tofu: Drain the tofu and wrap in a kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture. Place the tofu on a cutting board and cut in 1/2-inch cubes. Place the tofu cubes on the sheet pan and drizzle with the tamari, then toss gently to coat. Spread the cubes to make an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to turn the cubes and bake for 15 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.

To prepare the soup: Place 6 cups water or vegetable stock in a large pot and add the kombu (if using) and dried mushrooms. Place over medium heat and let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the broth slowly infuse for about 30 minutes. Remove the kombu and mushrooms with a slotted spoon, and discard.

Raise the heat under the pot to high and bring the stock to a boil. Add the carrot, celery and radish. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tofu and stir gently until it is heated through. Using a cup, remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and whisk in the miso, then stir back into the soup. Take the pot off the heat. Serve 2 cups soup with 1/2 cup watercress sprinkled over the bowl, stirred in just to wilt. If desired, serve with cooked rice to add into the soup tableside.

Nutrition information per 1 cup:

Calories 95 Fat 4 g Sodium 765 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 1 g Added sugars 0 g

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 1 lean protein, ½ fat.