Is Miso Soup Vegan? The Ultimate Guide.

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish made with fermented soybean paste, called miso, mixed with broth or water. It is a staple in Japanese cuisine and is often served as a side dish or as part of a larger meal. But for vegan and vegetarians, the question always arises- is miso soup vegan?

The answer is: it depends. Miso soup can be vegan, but it can also contain non-vegan ingredients. In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about miso soup and whether it is vegan or not.

What is Miso Soup?

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish made with fermented soybean paste, called miso, mixed with broth or water. It is often served as part of a larger meal or as a side dish. The ingredients for miso soup vary depending on the region and recipe, but it generally contains miso paste, dashi (a Japanese broth made with fish flakes or seaweed), and ingredients such as tofu, mushrooms, vegetables, and seaweed.

Is Miso Vegan?

Miso is made from fermented soybeans, making it a vegan-friendly ingredient. However, the dashi used in miso soup can sometimes contain non-vegan ingredients, such as fish flakes.

Variations of Dashi

There are variations of dashi that are vegan-friendly, such as kombu (dried seaweed) dashi or shiitake mushroom dashi. When making miso soup, you can substitute the traditional dashi with these vegan-friendly options to make the soup vegan. Additionally, some commercial miso pastes contain dashi, so it is important to check the ingredients before purchasing.

Fermentation process of Miso

It is important to note that the fermentation process of miso traditionally involved the use of katsuobushi (dried and smoked skipjack tuna), which is clearly not vegan. However, modern miso production is increasingly using vegan methods, making it an acceptable ingredient for vegans.

Non-vegan Ingredients in Miso Soup

While miso paste is vegan, other ingredients used in miso soup may not be. Here are some non-vegan ingredients to watch out for:

  • Dashi made with fish flakes
  • Bonito flakes (a type of dried fish) used as a topping
  • Chicken, pork, or beef used as an ingredient
  • Egg used as a topping
  • Fish cakes

It is important to double-check the ingredients of miso soup before consuming it, especially if you adhere to a strict vegan diet.

Vegan Miso Soup Recipe

If you’re looking to enjoy miso soup without compromising your vegan diet, here’s a simple recipe you can try:

Ingredients Instructions
4 cups vegan dashi (kombu dashi, shiitake dashi, or vegetable broth) 1. In a medium pot, bring vegan dashi to a simmer.
2. Add cubed tofu, sliced scallions, and chopped mushrooms to the pot.
3. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through.
4. In a small bowl, mix 3-4 tablespoons of miso paste with a small amount of hot water to dissolve.
5. Add the miso mixture to the pot and stir until well combined.
6. Do not boil the miso soup, as it can cause the miso to lose its flavor.

Benefits of Miso Soup

Besides being a delicious treat, miso soup has several potential health benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Rich in essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, and vitamins B and K
  • May help reduce the risk of cancer due to the presence of antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • May improve gut health due to the presence of probiotics from the fermentation process
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease due to the presence of soy protein, which can reduce cholesterol levels


So, is miso soup vegan? It can be, but you need to pay close attention to the ingredients used in making it. Make sure to steer clear of non-vegan ingredients such as fish flakes, bonito flakes, and eggs, and opt for vegan-friendly ingredients such as vegan dashi and tofu instead. You can always make your own vegan miso soup at home too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is miso vegan?

A: Yes, miso paste is vegan because it is made from fermented soybeans. However, other ingredients used in miso soup may not be vegan.

Q: Is dashi vegan?

A: No, dashi is traditionally made with fish flakes, which makes it non-vegan. However, there are vegan-friendly variations of dashi such as kombu dashi or shiitake dashi.

Q: What are some non-vegan ingredients to watch out for in miso soup?

A: Some non-vegan ingredients to watch out for in miso soup include fish flakes, bonito flakes, eggs, meat, and fish cakes.


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