Zen Minestrone Soup

Reimagining the Italian staple with the Japanese principles of shojin-ryori in mind, this brothy soup is light and refreshing, yet wholly satisfying thanks to a rich plate of deep flavors, varied textures, vibrant colors, and ample umami.

Recipe & photo by: Hannah Kaminsky https://bittersweetblog.com/2021/07/26/japanese-minestrone/

Ingredients (4 - 6 SERVINGS) (30 minutes (+Rehydration time))

  • Water 2 Cups
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms 1 Ounce
  • Olive Oil 1 Tbsp
  • Toasted Sesame Oil 1 tsp
  • Carrots, Peeled, Quartered, and Thinly Sliced 2
  • Stalks Celery, Diced 2
  • Medium Zucchini, Diced 1
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper 1/4 tsp
  • White Miso Paste 3 Tbsp
  • Shiitake soaking water 4 Cups
  • Dry Small Pasta, Such as Orzo, Ditalini, Mini Shells or Elbow Macaroni 3/4 Cup
  • Tomato, Diced 1 Large
  • Snap Peas or Snow Peas, Cut into 1/2-Inch Lengths 1 Cup
  • Shelled Edamame 1 Cup
  • Yuzu or Lemon Juice 1 Tbsp
  • Fresh Shiso or Basil Leaves, Thinly Sliced 8


Begin by soaking the dried shiitake in 2 cups of water overnight, and ideally for 24 hours before beginning. Cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the water and store in the fridge.
Once rehydrated, remove the mushrooms but reserve the water. Slice the caps and dice the stems; set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil an sesame oil over medium heat before adding the carrots, celery, and zucchini. Saute until softened and aromatic; about 8 - 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, stirring well to incorporate.
Whisk together the reserved shiitake soaking water with the miso paste, making sure the miso is fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into the saucepan along with the vegetable broth. Add the pasta, tomato, snap peas or snow peas, and edamame.
Cove the pot with the lid and gently simmer for 10 - 12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the pasta is al dente.
Turn off the heat and stir in the yuzu or lemon juice. Top with fresh shiso or basil and serve right away.


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