Is Miso Soup Vegan?

Yes, miso soup can be vegan as it primarily consists of fermented soybean paste, water, and various ingredients like tofu, vegetables, and seaweed. However, the vegan status of miso soup can vary depending on the additional ingredients and preparation methods used.

Types of Miso

Miso soup is traditionally made with fermented soybean paste, known as miso. There are different types of miso, and some may contain non-vegan ingredients like fish or other seafood. It is essential to check the label or inquire about the specific type of miso used to ensure it is vegan-friendly. Here are the most common types of miso:

  • White Miso: Made from soybeans and rice, white miso has a mild flavor and is generally vegan-friendly.
  • Red Miso: Prepared with soybeans and a higher proportion of barley or other grains, red miso tends to have a stronger and bolder flavor.
  • Yellow Miso: This type of miso is fermented for a shorter duration and has a lighter, sweeter taste compared to white and red miso. It is usually vegan, but it’s always best to confirm.

Common Ingredients

In addition to the miso paste, various ingredients are commonly added to miso soup to enhance its flavor and nutritional value. Here are some typical ingredients found in vegan miso soup:

  • Tofu: Silken tofu or regular tofu is often added to miso soup to provide protein and a soft texture.
  • Vegetables: Green onions, seaweed, mushrooms, spinach, and daikon radishes are popular choices to add color, nutrients, and different flavors to the soup.
  • Bonito Flakes: However, it is crucial to note that bonito flakes, made from dried fish, are commonly used in traditional miso soup recipes. Thus, it is necessary to confirm the absence of this ingredient in vegan miso soup.

Preparation Methods

The vegan status of miso soup can also be influenced by the preparation methods used. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Dashi: Dashi refers to the soup stock used in miso soup. Traditional dashi is often made using fish flakes (bonito) or kombu, a type of seaweed. To make miso soup vegan, vegetable-based dashi or kombu dashi can be used as a substitute.
  2. Soy Sauce: Some miso soup recipes may include soy sauce to enhance the flavor. While soy sauce is typically vegan, it is advisable to check the label for any non-vegan additives.

Vegan Variations

Several variations of miso soup are specifically catered to vegans. These variations use vegan-friendly ingredients and omit any non-vegan components. Some vegan miso soup recipes substitute fish flakes with ingredients like shiitake mushrooms or kombu for flavor. Additionally, vegetable-based dashi or miso paste without any animal-derived ingredients can be utilized to create a delicious vegan miso soup.

Vegan-Friendly Miso Brands

If you prefer store-bought miso paste and want to ensure its vegan status, here are a few trusted brands that offer vegan-friendly options:

BrandVegan Options

Remember to carefully read the labels and ingredients list when purchasing miso paste to confirm its vegan-friendly status.


In summary, miso soup can be vegan if prepared with vegan-friendly ingredients and using miso paste that doesn’t contain any animal-derived components. It’s crucial to check the types of miso, additional ingredients, and the preparation methods used to ensure that the miso soup is suitable for a vegan diet. With careful consideration and proper selection of ingredients, you can enjoy a comforting and vegan-friendly bowl of miso soup.