One chilly day in early spring I challenged myself to create a warming, delicious and healthy soup recipe containing a few strange ingredients. Miso Mung Bean Cauliflower Soup was the result. Although most of the ingredients are not unique to soup-making, the miso and mung bean are not typically used together. I was so thrilled with the recipe I tested it immediately on my 8 year old when she got home from school. Thumbs up! But the real test was my husband—could I get a mung bean past this hard-core bean hater? First, let’s talk about some of those quirky ingredients I found lurking in my kitchen and why I chose them.
Miso is a relatively new addition to my kitchen. I’d always politely passed on ordering a bowl at sushi restaurants because, well, frankly, it looked just like soup broth–boring. When I go out, I want to order something exciting and miso soup looked like I could make it with my eyes closed. It wasn’t until taking culinary nutrition training that I was exposed to the delights it could bring to a dish and the benefits it could bring to a body. It’s salty and savory and also something quite different that’s completely indescribably deliciously magical. It can take fuddy duddy old bland and turn her into a punk rock star with purple hair and 5 inch heels—with just a spoonful or two.
My newfound love for miso means I’m always on alert to its possibilities to add pizzazz to a recipe. Not only does miso’s taste liven up a meal, it also adds plenty of health benefits to whatever you add it. Essentially miso paste is fermented soybeans. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha and kefir undergo a process that increases the enzymes available making them digestion-friendly. As another benefit you are feeding your gut good bacteria that helps your body make important neurotransmitters that keep your mood balanced. Good bacteria in the gut also helps to make vitamin B12 and K.(1) and (2)
Mung beans were also definitely going into this slightly bizarre nutritional soup. The health benefits are out of this world but it also sounded kind of neat to say miso followed by mung. It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Mung beans are a member of the lentil family and as such provide an excellent source of fiber, resistant starch and vitamins. According to Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur, a naturopathic doctor and author of The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer, mung bean sprouts are phytoestrogens that help protect you from breast cancer.(3) Oh yes, they are a welcome addition to my soup. I was lucky enough to find the Sprouted Mung Bean truRoots brand on amazon.ca a short while back but when I check the price today…well, I’d rather spend that money on a Calvin Klein bag and fancy schmancy lounge suit I’ve had my eye on. Instead try the Shasha Co Organic Sprouted Mung Bean brand which is much more affordable–as of today.
Although not an usual veggie choice for a soup, cauliflower is most certainly going into my “challenge” soup simply because it’s ridiculously beneficial for so many body systems. One issue I’m particularly aware of being a woman and all is hormonal balance and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower helps in spades. Often hormonal balances are caused by estrogen dominance and cruciferous vegetables contain the compound indole-3-carbinol which helps create the less harmful forms of estrogen. It is also a compound that helps prevent cancer. One study found that the high intake of cruciferous vegetables was inversely associated with the risk of colon cancer in humans.(4) Another study found that cruciferous vegetables are rich in the sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates which are anti-cancerous.(5) When you put cauliflower in a food processor with the S blade and pulse 5-10 times, you transform this sometimes difficult to eat vegetable into something resembling rice.
Bone broth was used as the base instead of water because it simply makes any soup tastier. Plus it’s off the wall terrific in the nutrition department because of connective tissue-enhancing collagen (and good for firming up sagging skin…yay!) (6)
Add in garlic, onions and a few seasonings and there you have it. A nutritionally-packed, odd-ball, tummy-satisfying soup that even a meat-eating, bean-hating hubby can dig into. And any woman will love to eat this soup knowing it’s one thing among many that can help balance hormones. Now…here’s my challenge to you: find some interesting/weird/bizarre/over-the-moon healthy ingredients and see if you can come up with something that you and every cell in your body will love. Or try my Miso Mung Bean Cauliflower Soup to inspire you to create your own.
Miso Mung Bean Cauliflower Soup
Challenge yourself to take some superfoods and make the ultimate healthy winter-warming soup. With miso, mung beans, cauliflower and bone broth, this tasty stew-like meal is great for helping to balance hormones. And if you're not in need of that, then all your other body systems will thank you just the same.
- 1/2 cup dry Sprouted Mung Beans from truRoots
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/4 cup miso paste mixed well in a few tablespoons of water
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut in smaller pieces
- 2 cups stock or chicken bone broth
- Step 1 Add sprouted mung beans to the 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a saucepan and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Take off of burner and put a lid on. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Step 2 While mung beans are resting, put the cauliflower in a food processor with the S blade and pulse about 10 times until it has the consistency of rice
- Step 3 Once mung beans have rested, drain excess water. Set aside.
- Step 4 Heat a large pot to medium then add coconut oil
- Step 5 Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes
- Step 6 Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes more
- Step 7 Add seasonings and blend well
- Step 8 Add the cauliflower rice, mix, and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly
- Step 9 Lower the heat to medium low then add miso paste and bone broth and cook at this low temperature for 5 minutes
- Hill, M. J. “Intestinal Flora and Endogenous Vitamin Synthesis.” European Journal of Cancer Prevention6 (1997). doi:10.1097/00008469-199703001-00009.
- Ramakrishna, Balakrishnan S. “Role of the Gut Microbiota in Human Nutrition and Metabolism.” Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology28 (2013): 9-17. doi:10.1111/jgh.12294.
- Kaur, Sat Dharam. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer. Robert Rose, 2003.page 220
- Mathis, Kellie. “Faculty of 1000 Evaluation for Cruciferous Vegetables Intake and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies.” F1000 – Post-publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature, 2013. doi:10.3410/f.717969226.793471437.
- Higdon, J., B. Delage, D. Williams, and R. Dashwood. “Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis.” Pharmacological Research55, no. 3 (2007): 224-36. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009.
- Razak, Meerza Abdul, Pathan Shajahan Begum, Buddolla Viswanath, and Senthilkumar Rajagopal. “Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity2017 (2017): 1-8. doi:10.1155/2017/1716701.