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Kabocha Miso Soup かぼちゃの味噌汁

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    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!

    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.

    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

    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.

    Simple 5 Ingredients

    To make this soup, you need 5 ingredients.

    1. Kabocha – It’s available all year round. Check your Japanese and Asian grocery stores.
    2. Shimeji mushrooms – Or any mushrooms of your choice (you can use other ingredients too)
    3. White sesame seeds – Highly recommend not to skip.
    4. Dashi-Included Miso – Read more about my choice below.
    5. 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.

    Hikari Miso “Maru-Yu” Dashi Iri Yuki Miso | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    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.

    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.


    You can enjoy this delicious Kabocha Miso Soup on its own or with the following recipes for a complete Japanese meal:

    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

    Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    5 from 25 votes
    Kabocha Miso Soup served in a black bowl.
    Kabocha Miso Soup
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins

    Hearty and flavorful, this Kabocha Miso Soup is filled with sweet kabocha, umami-rich mushrooms, and nutty sesame seeds. It's plant-based, easy to make, and incredibly delicious!

    Course: Soup
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: kabocha, miso
    Servings: 4
    Author: Namiko Chen
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Kabocha Miso Soup Ingredients
    2. 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.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 1
    3. Transfer to the Japanese mortar and pestle (Suribachi and Surikogi). Grind until 90% of the sesame seeds are crushed and keep 10% uncrushed.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 2
    4. 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.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 3
    5. Cut the slices into a small chunk, roughly 1-inch pieces. Transfer the kabocha into a medium pot.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 4
    6. 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.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 5
    7. 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.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 6
    8. You can check the kabocha’s doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the kabocha. Check frequently to prevent it from overcooking.
      Kabocha Miso Soup 7
    9. When kabocha is ready, remove the bottom of shimeji mushrooms and add to the soup. Cook for 1-2 minutes until tender.
      Kabocha Miso Soup 8
    10. 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.

      Kabocha Miso Soup 9
    11. Add the ground sesame seeds and mix well. Serve the miso soup in individual bowls and enjoy!

      Kabocha Miso Soup 10

    Other Delicious Kabocha Recipes

    Make It Into A Meal

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