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Healthy Dish

Miso Magic

Perfected in Japan in the 7th century, this fermented soy food continues to be prized for its anti-aging benefits. And it makes a versatile base for soups and marinades

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There’s been a lot of controversy lately about soy foods, but no matter which side of the fence you’re on, everyone agrees that traditionally fermented soy foods are great for you, and miso is a perfect example. Made of soybeans and koji (a culture starter from beneficial bacteria), miso is loaded with enzymes and healthy bacteria that aid with digestion and the assimilation of nutrients. Add your leftovers to this basic one-pot soup, and presto!-you have a tasty, healing, anti-aging meal.

But miso isn’t the only nutritious ingredient in this quick, delicious soup. The veggies add phytonutrients, cancer-repelling indoles (from the broccoli), and a load of vitamins and minerals for very few calories. And the beans contribute about 12 grams of fiber per cup. All in all, a perfectly rounded and tasty dish that anyone can whip up before the first station break airs on the evening news.

10-Minute Chicken Soup
Serves 4

Miso is very salty, and a little goes a long way. So start with less and add more to taste.

4 cups no-sodium chicken stock (or broth)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced

1 14.5-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups leftover cooked grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, or millet)

2 cups cooked or frozen veggies, such as sliced carrots, broccoli florets, peas, zucchini, cauliflower, pearl onions, edamame, or a “stir fry” mix

2-3 Tbs. mellow white miso, to taste

  1. Pour chicken stock into large soup pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add chicken, beans, and veggies. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, or until all ingredients are hot.
  2. Stir in miso, and gently whisk to incorporate (or use a bit of hot broth
    to “melt” miso in small bowl before adding). Serve immediately.

PER SERVING: 288 cal; 30g pro; 6g total fat (2g sat fat); 26g carb; 53mg chol; 543mg sod; 8g fiber; 4g sugars

Notes from Chef Jeannette:
In addition to its myriad health benefits, miso is a rockin’ staple for clean “fast food” cooking. In just minutes, it makes a flavorful, nourishing broth for soups that can feature many different types of ingredients. In addition to our delicious 10-minute soup, try a miso broth with white fish and sautéed shiitake mushrooms-a gourmet meal in less than 15 minutes! Or use it as the base for a delicious marinade for white meats or seafood. Choose lighter, sweet misos for seafood and light veggies, and the darker varieties, such as barley miso, for root veggies and grains. You can find miso paste in the refrigerated section of natural food stores and whole foods grocers. Look for it near the tofu and other Asian offerings.

Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC, is a certified holistic health counselor and recipe developer. Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, is a nationally known health, nutrition, and weight-loss expert. Bessinger and Bowden have collaborated on numerous cookbooks, including The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes. Visit them online at and