Hearty and flavorful, this Kabocha Miso Soup is filled with sweet kabocha, umami-rich mushrooms, and nutty sesame seeds. It’s vegan, easy to make, and incredibly delicious!
When it comes to “miso soup”, the most common image would involve a simple soup with tofu and wakame seaweed. However, in Japan, we make miso soup with a variety of ingredients.
In fact, one of the tricks I use to volumize a meal is to make the miso soup more substantial and fulfilling with hearty ingredients. Today I’ll show you how to make Kabocha Miso Soup (かぼちゃの味噌汁).
Why You’ll Love This Kabocha Miso Soup
- So easy to make
- Hearty, filling, and comforting all at once
- Flavorful – savory, sweet, nutty, packed with flavors
- Plant-based and gluten-free
Simple 5 Ingredients
To make this soup, you need 5 ingredients.
- Kabocha – It’s available all year round. Check your Japanese and Asian grocery stores.
- Shimeji mushrooms – Or any mushrooms of your choice (you can use other ingredients too)
- White sesame seeds – Highly recommend not to skip.
- Dashi-Included Miso – Read more about my choice below.
- Water – If you use regular miso, then use Awase Dashi (kombu + katsuobushi) or vegan-friendly Kombu Dashi
MSG-Free, Dashi-Included Miso
Dashi-included miso can be very useful when you live in a place where it’s hard to find dashi ingredients (kombu and katsuobushi).
In this recipe, I used “Maru-Yu” Dashi Iri Yuki Miso by Hikari Miso. It’s organic and MSG-free, and it’s Awase Miso made with 5 types of miso.
You can purchase this miso along with other Hikari Miso varieties at Japanese grocery stores or Asian grocery stores (like H-Mart).
Just one thing to remember: dashi-included miso tends to be slightly saltier than regular miso, so adjust the amount and taste before you add more.
You can enjoy this delicious Kabocha Miso Soup on its own or with the following recipes for a complete Japanese meal:
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelette)
- Japanese Salted Salmon (Shiojake)
- Japanese Pickled Cabbage
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Kabocha Miso Soup
- 3 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 lb kabocha (½ kabocha with seeds)
- 4 cups water (If you're not using Dashi-Included Miso, please use Kombu dashi (for vegan) or Awase Dashi instead of water)
- 3.5 oz shimeji mushrooms (1 pack)
- 4 Tbsp miso (I used Hikari Miso® Dashi-Included Miso (read the blog post); please adjust the amount of miso according to your taste)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- In an ungreased frying pan, toast the sesame seeds on medium heat until toasty and fragrant. Shake the pan frequently so the sesame seeds don’t get burnt.
- Transfer to the Japanese mortar and pestle (Suribachi and Surikogi). Grind until 90% of the sesame seeds are crushed and keep 10% uncrushed.
- Discard the seeds from the kabocha and cut into ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick slices. Be careful as kabocha is quite tough to cut.
- Cut the slices into a small chunk, roughly 1-inch pieces. Transfer the kabocha into a medium pot.
- Add 4 cups water (or dashi, if you are not using dashi-included miso) and bring the water to boil over medium heat. Cover the lid leaving a small gap to prevent from boiling over.
- Once boiling, skim the foam and scum on the surface using a fine-mesh skimmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat and cook kabocha for 15 minutes, or until tender. Do not overcook as kabocha will break into pieces.
- You can check the kabocha’s doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the kabocha. Check frequently to prevent it from overcooking.
- When kabocha is ready, remove the bottom of shimeji mushrooms and add to the soup. Cook for 1-2 minutes until tender.
- Turn off the heat and add 3 Tbsp miso first. Taste before adding another Tbsp of miso. You may not need to add more if it's flavorful enough to your taste.
- Add the ground sesame seeds and mix well. Serve the miso soup in individual bowls and enjoy!