Main Dish, Recipes

Spicy Nettle & Tofu Soup

Updated February 26, 2022

This past winter was long and cold — as Midwest winters often are. To cope, I cooked a lot of soup for about five months straight. Now that the weather has been warmer, I have been taking a break from this comforting dish. But, some chillier temps and cool spring rains have had me craving a warm bowl of soup again.

This light, spicy soup utilizes one of my favorite foraged springtime greens, nettle. Fresh nettle greens are quite delicious and extremely nutritious. But, if you don’t have any or don’t know where to get them, you can substitute any other spring greens you have on hand, like spinach, chard, collards or kale.

Portabella mushrooms and miso are a healthy addition that bring lots of depth and flavor to the soup. Mushrooms are a good source of minerals and fiber [1]. Miso provides B vitamins, folic acid, and important minerals [2]. The chili paste adds a nice spicy touch and helps to bring a nice warmth to the body, despite the chilly weather. The tofu contributes to the Asian flair of this dish, and is a good source of protein, iron, calcium and other essential minerals [3].

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh nettles,* washed and roughly chopped (or substitute fresh spinach, kale, chard, or collards)
  • 5 fresh green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup white miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (add more to taste, if desired)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of ground fresh chili paste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 12 ounces of tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 yellow onion

*Note: fresh nettles lose their sting when cooked but, you’ll likely want to wear rubber gloves while washing and chopping the nettles to avoid getting stung during processing

Directions:

Heat a large pot on medium high. Add half of a tablespoon of coconut oil. When the oil has melted (this should happen very quickly if the pot is the right temperature), add the onions and the mushrooms. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring as needed to keep things from burning or sticking to the pan. Add, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, stir the mixture and let cook another 3-5 minutes.

In the mean time, add 1 cup water, miso paste, and chili paste to a medium bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Then add the miso-chili paste mixture, nettles, and tofu to the pot and stir well. Add about 1-2 cups of water to the pan depending on the desired thickness of the soup. This soup will be brothy in nature either way, but if you’d like it to be more brothy add more water (or less, depending on your preference). Bring the soup to a boil and let bubble vigorously for about 5 minutes, then reduce to medium heat. Then add the green onions. Cover the pot with a lid and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. While the soup simmers, wash and chop cilantro and set aside.

When your soup is done, remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!


References:

1. Ware, Megan. “What is the Nutritional Value of Mushrooms?” Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278858.php

2. Lewin, Jo. “Top 5 Health Benefits of Miso.” BBC Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-miso

3. Lewin, Jo. “Top 5 Health Benefits of Tofu.” BBC Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-tofu

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