Eating seasonally guarantees you the freshest, best tasting food. Right now, we have beautiful watercress available, so it’s time to give it a spot in your menu. A delightful way to show it off is in this White-Miso Tofu Soup With Watercress.
Using seasonal vegetables in miso soup is a good ritual to adopt in our culinary habits, guaranteed to deliver a nutritious and tasty meal, year-round.
Vibrant, peppery watercress is a nutritious vegetable, packed with antioxidants and vitamins. If you’ve only had it on a tea sandwich or puréed in soup, you might not realize how versatile it is. The tender leaves are a great addition to salads and sandwiches, as well as this soup.
Miso is the secret weapon for meatless cooks, delivering the “meaty” umami that we crave, without the actual meat. It comes in red, brown, yellow and white varieties, usually made with soybeans and grains. Darker misos, such as brown and red, are fermented longer and have a stronger flavor. Lighter-colored misos have been fermented for less time, and have a milder, less salty flavor than dark misos.
I like to switch to white miso in summer, for a lighter soup. Once you buy a tub, you can add it to salad dressings, soups, dips or anything that needs a little salt and a flavor boost. Miso has all the health benefits of beans, and adds beneficial bacteria and nutrients to your diet.
For this soup, we skip the traditional dried fish flakes — bonito flakes — that are used to make the dashi broth. Instead, you can infuse the broth with dried mushroom and a piece of kombu seaweed, if you want to try the Japanese way. If you don’t want to shop for kombu, just use a few more mushrooms.
To make it more of a meal, I drizzled some cubed tofu with soy sauce and baked it, to make it dense and chewy.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan” and “Plant-Based Meats.” Find her at robinasbell.com.