Soupalooza: Easy, adaptable and eminently slurp-able soup hits all the boxes

Sometimes, the only thing I want to eat is a big bowl of slurpy noodles.

And even though it is perfectly acceptable in Asian cultures to slurp away, I am a little shy about it in public here in suburbia.

In other words, I’d rather noisily and happily eat my noodle soup in the comfort of my own home.

(In Japan, there’s actually a phrase — nu-hara, or noodle harassment — that comes from tourists objecting to the loud, slurping noises diners make while eating their noodles.)

However you decide to eat your noodles, this recipe for Miso Mushroom Soup is fast, easy and very adaptable. The rich umami flavor comes from using miso as the base for the broth.

I used shiitake mushrooms, but most varieties would work just as well. You can also use vermicelli or udon noodles if that’s what you have on hand. Add about 7 ounces of cubed tofu with the spinach if you want a little protein. For a little more kick, you could finish it off with a drizzle of chili crisp.

This soup ticks off all the boxes for me. It’s easy, adaptable, super healthy, tasty and, most importantly, highly slurp-able.

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald’s vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at

Miso Mushroom Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced

4 green onions, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

4 cups water

3 tablespoons white miso paste

4 ounces soba noodles

3 cups baby spinach

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and stir. Let the mushrooms cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger and cook 1 more minute. Add the water and bring to a low simmer. Scoop some of the hot water into a small bowl and add the miso paste, stirring until it dissolves, then add it back into the soup pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup pot, followed by the spinach, tamari (or soy sauce, if using), sesame oil, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste with tamari and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Serves 4

— M. Eileen Brown

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