Spinach Shiitake Miso Soup Two Ways

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4

This is one of my most favorite variations of miso soup as the kombu (kelp) and shiitake complement the tradition old miso soup so well. It’s actually my mom’s recipe that I stole! 🙂

Miso is Japanese fermented soybean paste just as dwen-jang is Korean fermented soybean paste. Japanese miso is a lot milder in taste and less potent on the nose than the Korean counterpart. The process in making these different misos is different but they both boast probiotics – healthy intestinal bacteria. Make sure you don’t let the soup boil (just simmer) so you maximize the health benefits!

Make sure that your miso is MSG free and made with organic soybeans. The brand I recommend it Yamabuki, available at Japanese markets. It’s hard to find Korean miso without MSG but they do exist. My mom makes it at home so for you daring individuals, I’ll put up a recipe after I master the kimchi-making process!

With a bag full of fresh heirloom spinach from the farmer’s market, I took my mom’s dwen-jang-jjigae (miso stew) recipe and made it with miso and it was a hit!


  • 4 cups purified water
  • 2 cups packed fresh heirloom spinach
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 2×2 piece of dried kombu (sea kelp)
  • 2 Tbsp miso or dwen-jang
  • Sea salt if necessary


  1. In a pot, add water, kombu strip, onion, garlic and mushrooms and bring to boil.
  2. The kombu will have expanded and soften. Remove onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2″ strips.
  3. Lower heat, just high enough to maintain temperature.
  4. Stir in soybean paste (miso or dwen-jang) and dissolve evenly. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Add in spinach leaves and heat under tender.
  6. If you find that the soup needs more flavor, add more miso or sea salt. Adding more miso will make the soup thicker and the flavor more intense. If you’d like to keep the soup thinner, use sea salt to season further.
  7. Serve immediately.