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Japanese Soba Noodle Soup

This Japanese Soba Noodle Soup is sure to be your favorite comfort food. Originating from China, noodle soup found its way to Japan around the 19th century. But it didn’t just adopt the Chinese style; Japan made it uniquely their own, giving birth to various noodle soups we know and love today, like ramen, udon, and soba.

What started as a simple dish served by street vendors quickly became a staple of Japanese cuisine. Over time, regional variations developed, like Sapporo’s miso ramen in the north and Hakata’s tonkotsu ramen in the south, each with its own distinct broth and noodle type. 

Indeed, from a humble meal to an international sensation, this dish truly has a rich history to savor. This recipe is my take on that tradition. It’s simple, with ingredients you can actually find, and so good it’ll make you feel like you’re right there, in a cozy Japanese noodle shop. 

It’s all about mixing the right ingredients to get that broth tasting just right, with noodles that perfectly slurp up all the flavors. And the best part? It’s totally doable, no matter your cooking level. 😃

  • Seriously, it’s the ultimate comfort food. Feeling blah? This soup’s got your back.
  • Healthier than grabbing takeout and tastes a million times better. Plus, it’s vegan. Win-win.
  • Kid-friendly but easy to spice up if you’re into that. Add some chili oil, and bam, adult dinner.
  • It’s super easy and fast. Like, get it on the table in 30 mins fast. Perfect for those “oops, what’s for dinner?” nights.
  • It’s a great first step into making more Asian dishes. Start with this soup, and who knows what you’ll cook up next?

Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes


1. Prepare the vegetables. Clean and cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the green onions into rounds. Slice the tofu in strips 1/4”/6mm by 2”/5cm.

2. Wash bok choy and trim the ends. Slice in halves or quarters depending on size.

3. In a large pot over medium, heat the neutral oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the miso paste and the minced ginger. Add a small amount of the broth and stir until miso is dissolved. Add the remaining broth and cook for 5 minutes. 

5. While the soup is cooking, heat a medium-large pot of water and cook the soba noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse with lukewarm water to wash off extra starch.

6. To the soup, add the tofu and bok choy. Cook until bok choy is starting to wilt and the ends can be just pierced with a fork, 3-5 minutes.

7. Add the soy, sesame oil, and chopped green onions. Cook for a final 1-2 minutes.

8. Add the noddles and taste, adjusting soy and sesame as needed. Best served immediately. If saving for later, store the noddles separately and combine only before serving. 

Notes

  • If shiitake mushrooms are too strongly flavoured, they can be replaced with oyster mushrooms.

🍜 Tamari – If you’re not a fan of soy sauce, use tamari. It’s just as savory and perfect for the nooodle.

🍜 Spinach – Not a fan of bok choy? Spinach works great as a green, leafy substitute. It’ll wilt nicely in the hot broth, adding color and nutrients.

🍜 Oyster mushroom or button mushrooms – Not a fan of shiitake? Skip them and use whatever mushrooms you like or have on hand, like oyster or button mushrooms.

🍜 Chili oil or flakes – For a spicy kick, add a few drops of chili oil or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes right before you remove the pot from the stove.

🍜 Ramen noodles or udon noodles – Feel free to use ramen noodles or even frozen udon noodles for a twist. Each noodle type brings its own unique texture to the soup.

🍜 Miso broth variations – You can experiment with different types of miso (white, yellow, or red) to find your perfect flavor balance. Each type of miso offers a different depth of flavor to your soup recipe.

🍜 Kombu (dried seaweed) – Add a small piece of kombu (dried seaweed) to the stock while it simmers for an umami boost. Just remove it before serving.

  • Ramen Noodles – These are probably what most people think of first. Perfect for a classic ramen noodle soup recipe, they’re versatile and absorb flavors well.
  • Udon Noodles – For a heartier, chewier texture, udon is your go-to. They make the soup more substantial, turning it into a more comforting udon noodle soup.
  • Glass Noodles – Also known as cellophane noodles, these are made from mung bean starch and become almost transparent after cooking. They add a delightful texture to the soup.
  • Shirataki Noodles – Made from the konjac plant, these noodles are very low in calories and carbs, making them a great choice for those on specific diets.
  1. Separate Components: Store the broth, cooked noodles, and any garnishes separately. This prevents the noodles from becoming softer and mushy in the broth and keeps the garnishes fresh.
  2. Cool Before Storing: Let the broth cool down in the saucepan after you remove it from the heat. You can set aside the noodles and other components in separate bowls or containers to cool at the same time.
  3. Airtight Containers: Use airtight containers to store the broth and cooked noodle separately in the fridge. This helps maintain their fragrant flavors and prevents the broth from absorbing any odors from the fridge.
  4. Label and Date: To follow food safety guidelines and ensure you check when it was stored, label each container with the date. This easy to make soup is best consumed within 3-4 days.
  5. Reheating: When ready to enjoy again, boil the broth in a saucepan and add the noodles just long enough to warm them through. This helps retain the authentic texture and flavor of the dish.
  6. Adding Fresh Garnish: Refresh your soup by adding new garnishes like green onions, sesame seeds, or shredded vegetables when you serve it again. This can bring back the delicious freshness and fragrant aroma.
  7. Freezing: The broth can be frozen for up to 3 months. Pour the miso broth into a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. It’s best not to freeze the noodles or garnishes as their textures will significantly change.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS THERE A VEGAN CHICKEN SUBSTITUTE THAT WORKS WELL IN THIS SOUP?

Absolutely! There are several vegan chicken alternatives available that can be shredded or cut into pieces and added to the soup. Tofu or tempeh are great meat substitutes that tend to absorb the soup flavors well when cooked according to the recipe.

CAN I ADD SUGAR TO MY SOUP?

While this traditional soup doesn’t typically include sugar, a small amount can be added to balance the flavors, especially if your miso broth is particularly salty. Start with a pinch and taste as you go.

HOW CAN I THICKEN THE SOUP WITHOUT MAKING IT CLOUDY?

If you prefer a slightly thicker broth without cloudiness, consider dissolving a small amount of arrowroot powder or cornstarch in water and slowly pour it into the boiling broth, stirring constantly until you reach the desired consistency.

CAN I ADD DIFFERENT VEGETABLES THAN THE ONES LISTED?

Definitely! Feel free to mix in your favorite vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard wilt nicely in the soup, while shredded carrots or sliced bell peppers add crunch and color. Just add them to the broth and simmer until tender.

HOW DO I AVOID SOGGY NOODLES IF I’M STORING THE SOUP FOR LATER?

The key is to store the cooked noodles separately from the broth. When ready to serve, reheat the broth and then pour over the noodles in individual bowls. This keeps the noodles from absorbing too much broth and becoming soggy.

Japanese Noodles Soup With Soba Noodles

Japanese Noodle Soup is the perfect slurp-worthy noodles that'll make you say "more, please!" We've got ginger to spice things up, soy sauce for that umami kick, and sesame oil to round out the flavors. Plus, it's packed with shiitake mushrooms and tofu for that satisfying chew.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 265kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 oz dried soba noodles
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms cleaned and sliced*
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • tbsp miso paste white or yellow
  • 5 cup vegetable broth
  • 8 oz firm tofu cut in long strips
  • 8 oz baby bok choy cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 pc scallion sliced

Instructions

  • 1. Prepare the vegetables. Clean and cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the green onions into rounds. Slice the tofu in strips 1/4”/6mm by 2”/5cm.
  • 2. Wash bok choy and trim the ends. Slice in halves or quarters depending on size.
  • 3. In a large pot over medium, heat the neutral oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.
  • 4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the miso paste and the minced ginger. Add a small amount of the broth and stir until miso is dissolved. Add the remaining broth and cook for 5 minutes. 
  • 5. While the soup is cooking, heat a medium-large pot of water and cook the soba noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse with lukewarm water to wash off extra starch.
  • 6. To the soup, add the tofu and bok choy. Cook until bok choy is starting to wilt and the ends can be just pierced with a fork, 3-5 minutes.
  • 7. Add the soy, sesame oil, and chopped green onions. Cook for a final 1-2 minutes.
  • 8. Add the noddles and taste, adjusting soy and sesame as needed. Best served immediately. If saving for later, store the noddles separately and combine only before serving. 

Notes

*If shiitake mushrooms are too strongly flavoured, they can be replaced with oyster mushrooms.

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1988mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3159IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 2mg | Net Carbohydrates: 34g

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