On cold winter days (or days I just don’t feel like eating a big breakfast) I reach out for an umami-filled soup like miso to warm me up. I didn’t realize until recently that this soup can be as simple as melting some miso paste in hot water until it develops that rich color and flavor.
Once I got it down, I decided to give it even more flavor with a few of my favorite things. Of course, all of these ingredients are optional, but I like them together. I generally use Mellow White Miso, but you could experiment with different types.
I always taste at the end to make sure there is enough miso flavor in there. Finely cut strips of dried seaweed are optional, but they definitely up the fishy flavor! Add a dash of Sriracha and Sesame Oil at the end, if you want.
¼ cup Miso Paste
4 cups Water
1 cup torn Spinach
¼ cup chopped Cilantro
1 cup diced Silken Tofu
Juice of 1 lime
Throw everything in a pot until it’s hot. Enjoy.
So I have some friends at work—MC and LB—who are workout buddies and cooking buddies. The catch is that MC is on the Paleo diet, and LB is a long-term vegetarian. Amazingly, these two things seem to mesh pretty well when they’re cooking! (MC even has a Paleo blog, where she posted a non-veg version of this recipe.) This is their take on all the different tom kha variations they found out there.
My first experience with this soup was at my favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago. There it was pure white, and stocked only with cilantro, tofu, green onion and mushrooms. Simple, but the perfect combination of flavors, and it quickly became one of my takeout go-tos.
Here, MC and LB futzed until they found their own version of tom kha, chock full of healthy veggies and spice.
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 stalk Lemongrass, about 5 inches
3 cloves Garlic
1-1/2 inches Ginger, peeled (1-½ tablespoons minced)
2 Thai Chili Peppers
1/3 cup Red and/or Yellow Peppers
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
2/3 cup Butternut Squash, cooked and diced
½ cup Button, White or Straw Mushrooms, cut into quarters
14 oz can Coconut Milk
Juice of one Lime
Soy Sauce, to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
To prep, peel lemongrass until you see pale yellow. (If you already bought it peeled, you will skip this step.) Chop off 1/3 of stalk and set aside.
Bring vegetable broth to simmer over medium heat. Add 1/3 of stalk to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mince the remaining 2/3 of lemongrass stalk, garlic, ginger and Thai peppers and add to pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Add yellow peppers, carrots, squash and mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add coconut milk and lime juice. (If you’re using soy sauce, splash that in now too.)
Serve and enjoy!
My mom came for dinner the other night and I wanted to make something new—something refreshing that felt healthy and filling. I turned to 101 Cookbooks for inspiration and found this little gem. Apparently it originally comes from a San Francisco restaurant called Pomelo and is on their menu as “otsu.” Also apparently it’s delicious. I think I’ve found a new way to cook tofu, too—it holds together nicely in a pan without any oil. And of course, it showcases the king of all herbs, cilantro. Cilantro cilantro cilantro.
I made a few augmentations for simplicity and learned that if you can’t find soba noodles (which I couldn’t on my last-minute shopping trip), whole grain linguine works rather nicely. I also pressed the tofu between two plates and put a heavy book on top to help squeeze out the excess moisture.
In the end, this can be served hot or cold and is delicious either way.
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp cayenne
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
12 oz dried soba noodles
12 oz extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, salt, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils. (I actually did all this with a stick blender, but it got a little sloppy so I think the food processor works best.)
Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.
At the same time, toast the sesame seeds in a small dry pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, cilantro, green onions, cucumber, and about ⅔ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and a few cilantro sprigs for garnish.
This is one of those dishes that I try in every Thai restaurant I go to, hoping it will be the fresh, non-greasy, non-fishy version I dream of. My friend M came to town last week and I finally bit the bullet and tried it. This recipe is a great at-home version, easy, tasty and healthy.
Note: I definitely did not have Mirin and rice vinegar on hand…but now I do and I’m hoping I’ll be more likely to make this in the future! The noodles were easy too—Annie Chun’s even has “pad thai” noodles on the shelf at Whole Foods.
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
1-2 tbsp Hot Sauce (I used Sriracha and it was plenty spicy)
1 tbsp Mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
2 cups Shiitake Mushroom Caps, thinly sliced (about 5 ounces)
1 cup Carrot, grated
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 pound Extra-Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup light Coconut Milk
1 cup fresh Bean Sprouts
1 cup Green Onion tops, sliced
1 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup dry-roasted Peanuts
8 oz. Wide Rice Stick Noodles, cooked and drained
1 Lime, cut into wedges
To prepare sauce, combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, cook for a few minutes on one side, then flip and cook until both sides are light brown. Add mushrooms, carrot, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add sauce and tofu; cook 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk; cook 2 minutes. Stir sprouts, onions, cilantro, peanuts and noodles; combine well and cook 1 minute. Serve with lime wedges.
Makes about 5 servings