Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba

pumpkinmiso
Danes are not big pumpkin eaters. Carrots, sure. Cabbage, indeed. Potatoes, definitely. But even though they seem to have caught on to the Halloween jack-o-lantern carving thing, actually consuming pumpkins is not high on their list. Just last week I was at the grocery store and saw a display of huge spaghetti squash on clearance, being promoted as “autumn decorations”.  Pfff, what?! I scooped up as many as I could (I mean, they were less than two bucks a pop) and I excitedly starting telling the cashier about the wild and crazy deal in the produce aisle, all the amazing things you could do with this gourd, and how it turns into freakin’ noodles. She raised an eyebrow, but was largely unimpressed. Maintaining conviction, I awkwardly carried my bushel of spaghetti squash to my bike, but not before telling two random customers on the way out as well. Just trying to spread the word, people!

So aside from decorative (and reminder: totally edible) spaghetti squash, there is really only one proper pumpkin here in Denmark, and that is the Hokkaido. These spherical, bright orange beauties are available at most grocery stores, and for good reason: they are a very delicious and super versatile variety. They are yummy roasted, stuffed, baked, blended into dips, or in soups and stews. I dig them because you can eat the skin, which gives a serious boost of carotenes and fibre. Hokkaido pumpkins can also be called “Kuri” squash, and similar varieties include red Kabocha, Hubbard and Ambercup. As a PSA to Denmark, I would love to suggest growing these or other varieties of pumpkin since every single type has something special to offer, besides a being a decoration that is.

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Anyway, on to the recipe!

As soon as the one-and-only pumpkin hit the stores a couple weeks back, I made this soup. Craving something creamy and soothing to combat autumn drizzle, I blended the steamed pumpkin with ginger and miso for the most luscious of broths, made even more satisfying with the addition of soba noodles. A few nights later I made it again and added even more goodies: spring onion, seaweed, toasted sesame and sautéed shiitake mushrooms. So. Good. I am obsessed with the combination of the sweet pumpkin and savoury miso, especially with the spicy warmth of the ginger to bring it all together. I also love the consistency of the soup, which is thinner than most of the purées I make. It’s really more broth-like, and coats the soba in the perfect way. Unbelievably comforting on a chilly fall night, this dish will be on heavy rotation here this season, and I hope in your home as well.

Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba comes together in under 30 minutes, so it’s the perfect weeknight dinner. Plus, it is made mostly with pantry staples, so all you need to pick up at the store is a pumpkin! If you want to make this meal even faster, you can skip the toppings altogether, as the soup on its own is totally delicious, and can be made in under 20 minutes. It also freezes well, so make a double batch and store half in the freezer for your next there-is-nothing-to-eat emergency. You can thank me later.

Miso delicious!
Most people are familiar with miso from Japanese restaurants where miso soup is served, but beyond that I think Westerners greatly under utilize this miraculous umami gift from the gods! It is a consistent condiment in my kitchen repertoire and most times when I use it in something I’ve served to guests, they often ask why the dish tastes so special. The answer is miso.

Miso is a Japanese word meaning “fermented beans”. Traditionally, miso is made from soybeans and is found in the form of a thick paste. The process of making miso involves soaking cooking, and mashing soybeans, then finally inoculating the mix with koji (a specific mold spore) and salt. This mixture is transferred to a crock or barrel where it is left to ferment for months or years.

Miso comes in various colours, depending on whether or not other legumes or grains were used in the fermentation process, and the length of fermentation. White, yellow, red, brown and dark brown miso are some of the shades you’ll see in the store. In general, lighter miso tends to be sweeter and milder, while darker miso leans towards the saltier and pungent. I generally keep two kinds in my fridge, since they taste so incredibly different. This recipe calls for light miso, and I really stress using this variety since a dark miso would be far too rich and overwhelming. I prefer to use dark miso in things like gravies and sauces. Either way though, miso is an explosive umami bomb that will add tons of complex, satisfying flavour to many of your favourite foods. Because of this “six taste”, miso gives plant-based foods that umph that it can be lacking.

When buying miso, look for an organic or non-GMO product that is raw / unpasteurized. Unpasteurized miso will always come in the form of a paste, whereas the “instant miso soup” that you can find on the dry goods shelf is likely pasteurized and therefore not as health-promoting. If your miso comes packaged in plastic, transfer it to an airtight clean glass jar or ceramic crock when you get home, and store it in the fridge for up to a year.

Unpasteurized miso is full of live cultures and for that reason it should never be boiled. If you read this recipe through, you’ll see that I only add the miso at the end when the soup is in the blender. This is to ensure that we preserve all of those delicate nutrients and precious enzymes that would be destroyed with high heat. If you are going to reheat this soup, make sure to do so gently and stir constantly to avoid scorching.

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Some notes on the recipe ingredients: if you absolutely cannot find light miso, a simple vegetable stock or bullion can be used in its place. But it’s worth tracking down.

Soba noodles can be found at Asian supermarkets, health food stores, and gourmet foods shops. Make sure to look for noodles that are 100% buckwheat flour, as many brands of soba will add wheat flour to act as a binder, and keep in mind that these will not be gluten-free. Some people also find the taste of pure soba noodles off-putting since buckwheat can taste very strong, but I love it! Finicky kids (and adults) may prefer the milder-flavour of brown rice noodles, or even whole grain pasta.

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This soup is wildly tasty and saisfying, and will probably make you look forward to cooler temperatures and nights spent in. I hope you all are having a lovely fall so far. Sending big love and cozy moments to you all,
Sarah B.

Show me your soups on Instagram: #MNRpumpkinmisobroth

83 comments

  1. V

    Amazing soup but I’m afraid to cook the soba noodles again. Do you have any tips how to prevent them from becoming sticky?

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  3. Loren

    Made this tonight – used Kabacha squash and purple yam soba noodles, which were striking against the orange broth. Beautiful! I’m 8 wks pregnant right now and can hardly tolerate anything at the moment, but this went down nicely. And raving reviews from the family taboot. Yum.

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  5. Leah

    This is one of the best soups I’ve ever made!!!! It has been on repeat for the last few weeks! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  7. Janna

    I bought Kuri squash just because of this post as it sounded and looked so delicious! The only changes I made were to add curry instead of ginger and a can of coconut milk. Best pot of soup I’ve had in a long time!

  8. Kevin Ewbank

    I cooked this soup last night and it is so satisfying. I am craving for it again today. I will definitely make sure to stock more pumpkins for the coming cozy nights. Thanks Sarah for sharing this.

  9. Ana

    In a week I’ve done this twice already! It is amazing, the texture, the flavours. So fulling. I was also curious how I would use the miso I had recently bought so enthusiastically 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Luis Shelby

    What a delicious dish! this I a visually appealing meal which I think would be great for parties and dinners! All those different colors will be a sure hit for guests.

    Can’t wait to try this one out for the next get together!

  11. Luis Shelby

    What a delishious dish! this I a visually appealing meal which I think would be great for parties and dinners! All those different colors will be a sure hit for guests.

    Cant wait to try this one out for the next get together!

  12. Anne-Hélène Dupont

    We made this soup yesterday, and the whole family loved it! Winter squash and miso is indeed a great combination, though I would’ve never thought of it myself 🙂 Thank you for this great recipe!

  13. Jess

    Ontario girl in Norway, and I have had the same experiences here for years! 🙂 I get so excited to buy the ‘decorations’ every autumn.
    I found a sort of large, oblong, green striped, spaghetti squash type squash that was just called gresskar, and I can’t seem to figure out what it is. Do you have any ideas?

    • Sarah Britton

      Hey Jess!

      It’s probably a spaghetti squash! Roast that baby up and see. And if it’s not, well you have a roasted pumpkin to play with! Haha…

      Glad to hear I’m not the only Ontario transplant getting giddy over gourds 😉

      Much love,
      Sarah B

  14. Ttrockwood

    Totally fantastic meal! I used a butternut squash and topped my bowl with the sesame seeds, scallions and some crumbled toasted nori. Never would have thought up this combo! A few extra portions are in the freezer, i’ll just have to cook noodles when i go to have some

  15. Fat to Fit Diet

    Superb recipe. It looks great and tasty. Definitely ill give a try very soon.
    By the way, if you are the one captured these photos, I would say you are a good photographer.
    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

  16. Eve

    I made this and loved it. Great recipe, clear instructions, and easy to adapt to one’s tastes. Totally a keeper. Thank you!

  17. Véronica

    I made this fantastic soup yesterday for my family, it was delicious. I added fresh curcuma, garlic and ginger to the soup, along with carrots . Thank you so much for all your amazing recipes, your photos are beautiful, love your blog!

  18. jlynn

    Just made this with butternut squash and Dashi miso (not sure where that falls on the light / dark spectrum, but I used 3tbsp), and it was delicious. Thanks!

    • Sarah Britton

      Hello Jilynn,

      Mmm…sounds great! Dashi miso is considered light-medium, but just so you know it is not vegetarian. If you eat meat or fish then I’m sure you don’t mind 🙂

      Happy autumn,
      Sarah B

    • Sarah Britton

      Hello Jennifer,

      Yes, you can definitely use pumpkin puree! Just cook the onions and garlic first, then add everything to a blender, including the puree and blend until smooth. Hope it works!

      All my best,
      Sarah B

  19. Scott

    This is going to be perfect on the weekend. Time to roll the grocery cart!! I’m so excited for this, so I’ll be doing this today, can no longer wait for Saturday. lol
    Thank you for this recipe..

  20. Marilyne

    I tried this recipe last night, and despite reading the article carefully, I bought the wrong miso paste (dark instead of light…sigh!). I just put less (about 1 tablespoon) of the dark miso, and it was still amazing!!! Thank you so much for this recipe!! I would never have thought to do something like this, and the result was out of this world 🙂

  21. Jules

    Hi this looks great and I have a butternut squash glut to use up. I have barley miso and another one that I think is darker. I haven’t seen any white unpasteurised miso near me. Is it worth me trying to make this with the miso I have but use less, or should I just get pasteurised white miso? Thank you.

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Jules,

      Definitely give this recipe a try with the miso you have first – I’m confident it will be delicious. And in the meantime, keep an eye out for unpasteurized white miso. I hope you enjoy!

      Big love,
      Sarah B

  22. tunie

    We’ve been living on kabocha pumpkin soup nearly every other evening for the last 3 weeks – it’s just so good. I usually puree steamed pumpkin with a handful of cashews, sea salt, a Tbs agave, a Tbs chili flakes, a splash of rice vinegar and water. Kabocha is so flavorful I do as little as possible to let it’s flavor star. I will add all these fun toppings tonight for a fun change, thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Jenn C

    Had to make this for dinner – wow, what a fabulous meal! Never eaten pumpkin skin before and you’d never know it was there either.

  24. Mary

    It’s a great idea to combine miso and pumpkin, as you said, the mix between sweet and savory is great! I really like it. I haven’t yet tested soba noodles, it’s stupid because I have some in my cupboards. Your recipe makes me want to take them out! 🙂

  25. *Linda*

    Swedes are just the same! I have been living there for several years now, and the first time I bought a pumpkin (during the Halloween season of course), the cashier couldn’t believe that it was for eating. I had asked if I could return it in case it was bad (you can actually do that in Sweden!) and she looked at me as if I were crazy and asked: but it’s not to eat, right? Of course not, I am just going to spend 100 kr on a decorative pumpkin!

  26. Julia O'Sullivan

    This is a lovely soup,Sarah. It is similar to what I make although I have never used miso, and I use my own homemade stock. I usually add our native kumura, (sweet potato) as well. As a topping I often toast pumpkin and sunflower seeds and tossed in half a teaspoon of tamari . Here in New Zealand, pumpkin is a staple winter food. I harvested 22 from my garden last autumn and we have given away many and munched our way through all but four large ones. We have eaten them roasted with roasted potatoes, parsnips and kumura, along with roasted lamb, beef and pork. I also grate pumpkin into fritters, baked cubes into frittatas and grated it into pumpkin and chocolate cake. Although it is now Spring here, pumpkins are still on our menu. I will definitely add miso to the next pot of soup.

  27. Maya Robinson

    Sarah, I have just made this for dinner and we all inhaled it as soon as it was ready! SO delicious! I have made so many of your recipes over the years and have always been so excited to get started with each one because I know they’ll taste phenomenal. I added in some black sesame seeds with this one, and fried the shiitake mushrooms in ghee. I actually never really eat pumpkin as I don’t like it, but I used the hokkaido pumpkin and it worked perfectly. Thank you and I can’t wait for the next one (and your new cookbook!) xxx

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Maya,

      So happy the recipe turned out well for you 🙂 I also love frying the mushrooms in ghee, but since the recipe was vegan, I decided to leave it out this time.

      And I love to hear that you’ve been finding some recipe inspiration here for so long – that makes my day! I hope you’ll enjoy the new cookbook <3

      Much love,
      Sarah B

  28. Leah

    YUM! Perfect for this chilly, rainy day here in Maine. Thank you Sarah! Oh, fyi, I just used the hazlenut/oat crackers (totally obsessed with them) as a pie crust for a vegan pumpkin pie. DELICIOUS!!!!! xoxo

  29. Luisa

    Sarah, where do you buy your produce? Is there a good organic grocer that you love? We’re new to Copenhagen, via San Francisco, and can’t seem to find good looking produce near our apartment, or have we been spoilt with California’s amazing selection?!

  30. Rachel @ Baking Up Bliss

    This looks fantastic! I always love how you include a whole section talking about a certain ingredient and it’s health benefits, where to find it, and any other fun factas about it, it makes for a very interesting and informative read. I’m just a bit ashamed to say I haven’t tried miso before, so I guess I’ll have to go get some ASAP!

    • Sarah Britton

      Hello Nicholas,

      Yes, you can definitely use dark miso, although the flavour will be different. Don’t start by adding the full amount, maybe half, and then taste and add more to suit you. Good luck and happy cooking!

      Best,
      Sarah B

  31. alessia@handmadetoast.com

    That looks so yummy Sarah! Thanks for giving me another way to have my miso soup.
    ps: do you think butternut squash will work well too? I’m not too familiar with this variety but I was given one recently and I would like to give it a try. xxx

  32. J. Stemler

    I’ve just been wondering what to do with the Miso in my kitchen cupboard.. needed it for another recipe which wasn’t pretty convincing. I’ll give yours a try and I’m sure it will be AMAZING.. all your recipes I’ve recooked have been!!! Than you so much for your work.. your Blog and cookbook was the best I discovered within this year concerning food! Lots of love!

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