expecting eats | spicy soba + miso soup

This is the last of my Expecting Eats series written while I was expecting as we had the baby! But considering the postpartum nutritional needs of recovering & breastfeeding women, this is still on my menu (and has been for years). At the beginning of my pregnancy, I developed a recurring craving for this soba miso soup with plenty of spicy kick, shiitakes, and seasonal greens. My roots may be Southern American, but my pantry has a strong Japanese influence: kombu for dashi sits next to my sorghum and sticky rice keeps company with the grits.

spicy soba miso soup-5

For this quick, simple soup I keep it vegetarian and make my base broth with kombu, ginger, and garlic, and then I whisk in virtually my entire pantry: miso, mirin, sake, shoyu, sesame oil, ponzu, and chili paste along with the veggies, a bit of silky tofu if I’m in the mood, and lastly, a soft-boiled local egg, & a big swirl of soba noodles. I top it with a sprinkling of homemade togarashi powder (otherwise known as shichimi, it’s a spicy blend of sancho pepper, orange peel, sesame seed, nori, chili, and ginger) or just sesame seeds, chili flakes, & a bit of crumbled nori if I’m out of the former.

Finally, I slurp it (one must slurp noodles) down with a glass of milk to balance the spice (fact: the casein in milk binds to capsaicin oil and washes it down…hence milks “cooling effect” when eating spicy foods). As it turns out, that craving was an intuitively balanced meal both on the palette and nutritionally. Milk brought much needed vitamin D and calcium to the table while the buckwheat noodles brought protein & iron along with a slew of essential minerals. Not to mention the benefits of the probiotics in the miso and the obvious good of dark, leafy greens. It was a win all around. I wish I could say the same of some of my other pregnancy cravings…

Life with the baby is a blur. There’s so much to do, and I can no longer tell what I have to do from what I want to do. I, for better or worse, don’t have much of a say in the matter. For now, I’ll enjoy the stolen quiet of making soup, and continue in my efforts to reimagine my former life on this side of parenthood. Baby steps for both her & me.

spicy soba miso soup-1

spicy soba miso soup with shiitake and greens

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spicy soba miso soup-4

spicy soba + miso soup

Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Keyword miso, soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 960 grams 4 cups water
  • 20 grams 2.5 sheets kombu
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 20 grams about 2 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
  • 70 grams about 4 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon ponzu
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped dark leafy greens chard, collards, kale, and spinach work well
  • 4 oz cooked soba noodles
  • for garnish
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • togorashi shichimi can sub sesame seed, chili flakes, & crumbled nori
  • soft boiled egg halved
  • tofu cubes optional


  • cut slits in the kombu and combine with the water in a medium pot. place over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a bare simmer, 20-30 minutes. do not let it boil or the kombu will become slimy and bitter. once done, remove from heat and skim out the kombu.
  • add the garlic and ginger to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. skim or strain out the garlic and ginger.
  • while the broth simmers, cook your noodles and veggies. to cook the mushrooms, place them in a bit of sesame oil and cook them until they're soft and release their liquid. then add the green to the pan and cook until just wilted. set aside.
  • in a bowl combine the miso with enough of the broth to just dissolve the miso. add the shoyu, sesame oil, chili paste, mirin, and ponzu. stir to combine and add to the broth. combine well. broth will be strong, feel free to thin with a little water if it's too much for you, however keep in mind that this will be the primary seasoning of your noodles, so i recommend trying it with the noodles before thinning!
  • divide noodles between two bowls. top with greens & mushrooms (this would be the time to add the tofu if using!) and ladle broth over it all. garnish with the scallions & shichimi as well as the egg. slurp and enjoy!