Miso Soup

Contributed by Heritage Seaweed, an all-things-seaweed specialty shop in Portland (and creator of Seaweed Week). Stocking dried bladderwrack, dulse, Irish moss, kombu, laver/nori, sugar kelp and wakame/alaria, plus seaweed hot sauce, jerky, pickles, salsa, power bars, seasonings and teas.  Also stocking cookbooks, field guides, seaweed bath & skincare products, candles, home goods and other uncommon Maine-made gifts.

In traditional Japanese cooking, two seaweeds form the basis of miso soup: kombu (for the broth) and wakame (the little leafy greens floating in the broth). Maine has equivalent species for both, but don't worry if you don't have them on hand. You can still make a tasty miso soup out of whatever kelp species you have in your cupboard (alaria/wakame, digitata/kombu, skinny kelp, sugar kelp). The only thing you realy can't do is use kombu for the leafy greens in this recipe (it's too tough to mimic the delicate character of wakame). So if you only have kombu, use other ingredients for the floating bits.


1/4 cup dried wakame (or other non-kombu kelp)

4 cups water

1 4x6-inch piece dried kombu (or other kelp)

1/3 cup bonito flakes (optional)

4 tablespoons white miso paste

6-8 ounces tofu, cubed

1/4 cup scallions, sliced into thin rounds (optional)

Yield: Serves 4


If you're using fresh (or frozen kelp), skip the entire "For the wakame" section." Then, before adding the wakame in Step 5, chop into bite-size pieces with a kitchen knife.



For the wakame

  1. Using kitchen shears, trim the wakame into bite-size pieces.
  2. In a pot, combine water and wakame. Bring the water to a boil. Cover and cook on Low for 30 minutes or until tender.
  3. Strain out the wakame and reserve the water. (It can be used for flavoring other dishes—or even replace Step 1 in the Soup directions below if you're not using kombu).

For the soup

  1. In a pot, combine 4 cups water and kombu. Bring the water to just under simmering.
  2. Remove from the heat and immediately add bonito flakes. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain out the bonito flakes.
  4. Add miso paste and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes. If the particles in your miso paste are bigger than you like, you may strain these out as well.
  5. Add the cooked wakame and tofu and cook until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add scallions (if using) and serve.

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