Umami Soup with Noodles
Umami is the fifth taste, after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Both the tongue and the stomach have receptors for the taste which can be described as savory or meaty. The umami receptors signal the body to start digesting foods, especially proteins. Umami is an underlying taste that makes everything else in this soup taste more delicious and appetizing. When you make this soup, make a lot, because you are going to have a good appetite! This soup doesn’t use meat or Japanese fish flakes for its basic stock. Instead it relies on plant-based ingredients that are umami-rich: digitata kelp, shiitake mushrooms, and tamari. We use this soup year-round and vary the ingredients according to what is available from our garden and cupboards.
  • CourseSoups
  • 3quarts water in a large soup pot
  • 1/4cup Seaweed Soup Mix
  • 2slices ginger root
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1tbsp light sesame oil or coconut oil
  • 3cloves garlicpeeled and minced
  • 1medium onionsliced
  • 1-2tsp thyme
  • 1stalk celerysliced
  • 2cups root vegetablescut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2cups other vegetables of your choicesliced (Spring alternative: peas, string beans and zucchini) (Summer soup alternative: delicata squash and sweet corn)
  • 1can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoeschopped
  • 3oz noodles (soba, udon or rice)broken into 2 inch pieces
  • handful of parsley or kale
  • Dash tamari
  • Dash cayenne
  • Garnish: parsley, chives or other fresh herbs
  1. In a large soup pot, combine water, Seaweed Soup Mix, ginger, shiitakes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, partially cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. Remove shiitakes when softened , cut off and discard the stem. Slice the caps and return to soup pot. Add cut up root vegetables and salt. (If you decide to use beets, use a very small amount, or choose golden beets to preserve the color of the other ingredients.) Continue to simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. In a small frying pan, sauté onion, garlic and celery with liberal sprinkles of thyme. When the onion slices are golden, stir them into the simmering soup.
  4. Add the other vegetables you have chosen, such as squash, corn or green beans. Pour in the stewed or fresh tomatoes and stir. Season with tamari, black pepper and a dash of cayenne. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender.
  5. In a separate pot, cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  6. When you are ready to serve the soup, add the greens and parsley and allow to cook only 5 minutes so they stay bright green. Add the cooked noodles and stir gently.
  7. Serve up the soup with a topping of fresh parsley and/or chopped chives. When you reheat this soup on the second day, add more parsley to get the bright green color back.