Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Miso is a long standing part of the Japanese diet, and is a great source of protein, and whilst it is generally suitable for most diets, people often wonder if Miso soup is suitable for vegans or not. 

There are a few factors that could affect whether the Miso soup you’re eating is vegan or not, so in this guide, we’ll provide you with all of the things you need to look out for when eating Miso soup in order to ensure that it is entirely vegan. 

So, for all of the information about this immensely popular Japanese dish, keep reading on, and we’ll tell you all you need to know! 

What Makes Something Vegan? 

Many people often confuse the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan diet, but there are some important differences to know about. 

Whilst vegetarian dishes don’t contain any meat, they will still generally have animal products such as eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Some vegetarians will allow themselves to eat fish too, although this is known as a pescatarian diet. 

A vegan diet excludes any ingredients or foods that contain animal products, so no dairy products, no meat, no eggs, and no fish. 

Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Whether Miso soup is vegetarian, vegan, or neither, entirely depends on the ingredients that are included, however, generally Miso soup is vegan or vegetarian. 

Miso soup gets its name from the Miso paste included in its ingredients, which is a Japanese condiment made from fermented soybeans which provides Miso soup with its distinctive salty and flavorful taste.

In order to create the Miso paste, the soybeans are mixed in with salt, as well as a type of mold, which is called koji. It’s also common for Miso paste to include rye, rice, barley, or other similar grains.

So, Miso paste is usually vegan, so why isn’t Miso Soup always vegan? 

Common Miso Soup Ingredients

The main ingredient for Miso soup is dashi, which is a type of Japanese stock.

The dashi used in the Miso stock can vary, with some soups using a katsuobushi dashi, which is a type of stock that contains katsuobushi flakes, otherwise known as bonito flakes, which are made up of smoked skipjack tuna, which means that any miso soup made using this stock isn’t vegan. 

Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Niboshi dashi is another type of stock that may be used, although it contains anchovies instead of tuna, but is still not vegan friendly. 

Aside from the stock, it’s not uncommon for some miso soup to include ingredients derived from animals, so let’s take a look at what it may include: 

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients

  • Niboshi – which comes from Japanese anchovies
  • Katsuobushi – made from skipjack tuna
  • Pork
  • Clams
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken or fish stock 

However, not all of the common ingredients in Miso soup are non-vegan, and if your Miso soup doesn’t contain any of the above ingredients, there’s a good chance that the soup is vegan-friendly. 

Here are some of the most common vegan ingredients in Miso soup! 

Common Vegan Ingredients

  • Miso paste
  • Tofu
  • Vegetable stock 
  • Soba noodles (Buckwheat)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic 
  • Carrots
  • Scallions
  • Mushrooms
  • Snap peas
  • Green beans

So, if you’ve bought ready-made Miso soup, it’s important to thoroughly check the ingredients list on the packaging, as this will provide you with the information so that you can tell if your Miso soup is vegetarian or not. 

Most packaging will explicitly tell you if your soup is vegan or not, but if you don’t see this sign on your packaging, then you should always double-check the ingredients list before assuming that it’s vegan. 

If you’re dining out and plan on Miso soup, and you’re unsure whether or not it is vegan, or contains animal products, then always ask your server, who should be able to confer with the chefs to provide you with the ingredients used, and whether or not the Miso soup is vegan. 

Conclusion 

So, many of the ingredients that you can find in Miso soup are vegan, however, it is important to watch out for some ingredients that are non-vegan to potentially be included in the soup. 

So, with this Japanese soup becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, many people will wonder whether or not this flavorsome dish is suitable for vegans.

Thankfully, Miso soup usually is vegan, but always check the ingredients list, or ask your server! 

Brandon White
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