Zen in a Bowl: Coconut Miso Soup

Miso and coconut are two of my most favorite ingredients. One I was introduced to only in recent years, and the other is something I grew up eating almost every day in my Konkani home where coconut was part of just about any recipe.

Both have transcendental health qualities – miso, a fermented bean paste, is believed to prevent some kinds of cancer and is rich in wonderful enzymes that aid digestion. Coconut, while high in saturated fat, is still one of the healthiest foods you can eat, not to mention one of the tastiest. To a vegan, coconut milk- which is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals- is particularly valuable because it works wonderfully as a cream substitute in most recipes. Plus, it tastes way better than calorie-loaded cow fat.

For those new to cooking with miso, there are a variety of miso pastes available in Asian stores and supermarkets, but a beginner might want to go with a mild-tasting one when you first try this soup. Miso is very salty, so remember that when you plan to add it to a recipe, you will want to hold back on the salt. Also, in a cooked dish, add miso at the very end, because boiling it can kill the healthful enzymes.

I am sending this recipe as my entry to AFAM-Coconut, hosted this month by Suganya.
As anyone who has been to my blog before would know, I cook a lot with coconut, but this one, Suganya, is very special to me. It gets ready in no time and always leaves me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself.

Coconut Miso Soup


4 cups water (even better, use light, vegetable stock if you have some on hand. Make sure it has no salt, though.)

1 14-oz can light coconut milk

4 tbsp barley miso

8 large button mushrooms, sliced very thin

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup of seaweed, cut in pieces (optional- I use any seaweed I have on hand, but my hubby is not a big fan of seaweed so I do leave it out often enough. It doesn’t really hurt the dish)

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 tbsp ginger

1 tsp canola oil

7-8 fresh basil leaves

Heat canola oil in a soup pot. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until they begin to caramelize just slightly.

Add the ginger and stir in

Add the water and then the seaweed, if using. Let it come to a boil. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the cooked brown rice and stir in.

Meanwhile, mix the miso paste in the coconut milk, adding some of the warm soup stock if necessary, until no lumps remain.

Take the soup off the heat, and then add the miso-coconut mixture to it.

Tear in some fresh basil leaves and serve hot.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

26 thoughts on “Zen in a Bowl: Coconut Miso Soup

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    June 28, 2008 at 6:14pm

    Looks healthy & quick ur soup recipe :)

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    June 28, 2008 at 8:06pm

    Wowy.. nice soup Vaishali..:) I never had Miso before! gotta check out that..Thanks!


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    June 28, 2008 at 11:56pm

    I’ve heard a lot about miso and its health benefits but have never tried it before. Those are some useful tips you have there for those of us wanting to use it for the first time.
    The soup sounds very filling and comforting!

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    June 29, 2008 at 7:56am

    always thought of making a miso soup, this one looks perfect

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    June 29, 2008 at 2:30pm

    Vaishali, I love miso soup and its is one of my favorites.Adding coconut must be making it more delectable.Great recipe.

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    June 29, 2008 at 3:28pm

    Miso with coconut, such a refreshing and lovely combo. Japan meets Thailand..love it !

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    June 30, 2008 at 5:37am

    Love the blending of coconut and miso vaishali.. and moreover its so quick!! Great entry!

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    July 1, 2008 at 4:12pm

    I’ve not cooked with miso before… but this soup looks amazing!

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    July 1, 2008 at 6:42pm

    Very recipe, soup looks greatttttt. Thanxxx for sharing!!!

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    July 1, 2008 at 7:02pm

    I love miso and I love coconut, but would never have thought of using both in one recipe. thanks for sharing!

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    July 3, 2008 at 1:09pm

    Hey Vaishali, great soup! I’ve never worked with Miso before so gotta try this one :)

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    July 5, 2008 at 10:47pm

    Hello – I’ve just come across your blog, and I can’t believe quite how wonderful it is. It’s also incredibly useful to me because I’m an Australian vegan who’s considering moving to Chennai for a year. The move would be to to work for an organisation I really believe in. One of the only things that’s holding me back is fear about coping as a vegan in Channai. I know the south is generally better than the north in this respect, but I’m wondering if you had any suggestions about how to avoid dairy in Chennai successfully. I’d be really grateful if you had any suggestions of dishes to order in restaurants and explanations to give people who don’t understand veganism. Please don’t worry if these are not questions you can really answer – and sorry for the epic comment on your blog – best wishes, debra

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    July 6, 2008 at 12:48am

    Debra, It is quite easy to avoid dairy in the south of India where, I find, people tend to use fewer dairy products in cooked dishes than in the north, with the big exception being sweets of course that are almost always dairy based.
    Foods like idlis, dosas, vadas, sambars and raasams, all wonderful and delicious staples of the Tamil diet, are almost certainly dairy-free. When you eat out and order even something that claims to be vegetarian, be sure you tell the waiter that you do not want any ghee, yogurt, milk or cream in your food. It is a good idea to mention each product because veganism is not a concept understood in India yet and it is necessary to spell things out. Dosas might sometimes be made with butter or ghee so make sure you specify that you want them to use plain oil instead.
    Also visit http://www.indianvegan.com which is a helpful resource on the subject. Manish Jain, who runs it, is helpful and might have some contacts for you in Chennai that might help. His email’s at the site.
    Hope that helps a little. Please don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any other questions.

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    July 6, 2008 at 8:39am

    Thank you so much. This is really great! I’ll be sure to check out that site – debra

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    Deepa Sreetal

    July 18, 2012 at 2:57am

    Hi, the recipe looks tasty, wld love to try it.. where would I find barley miso. I live in US and not seen in any of the grocery stores here….

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Casey Moeller

      April 17, 2013 at 3:24am

      I buy my miso at New Season (which is a Pacific NW grocery store). I am sure you could find in at a Whole Foods or Fresh and Fast, or some other natural food store.

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    December 31, 2012 at 2:45am

    This is a delicious soup. I followed the recipe exactly but did add some scallions. It is a much heartier soup than any miso soup I’ve ever ordered from a restaurant. Yummy!

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Casey Moeller

    April 17, 2013 at 3:19am

    Thanks for posting this! I used black kale instead of seaweed, and I didn’t have coconut milk on hand, but I did have coconut water, and I used udon noodles instead of brown rice :)

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    January 1, 2014 at 6:28pm

    Delish! I added some chicken and Thai rice noodles instead of the rice and it turned out great! You know it is good when your picky 15 year old slurps it down and asks for more! Thanks Holy Cow!

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      January 2, 2014 at 12:18am

      So glad you liked it! I like the idea of noodles in the soup. Thanks for the feedback.

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