By Tanya McCausland of Home Cooked Healing

Eating seaweed is certainly NOT what I had in mind when I started my work in health and nutrition. When my teachers talked about adding seaweed to salads, soups and smoothies, all I could think was, Yuck!

But I’ve since changed my mind. Seaweed is a fantastic superfood, loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and can reduce the rate at which our body absorbs fat by 75%. When I read that, I was determined to find a delicious and simple way to incorporate these sea veggies into my diet!

I discovered a soup recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison — my bible for cooking vegetables. With a few tweaks and additions I had created my own version and was finally singing seaweeds praises!

This delicious soup recipe uses kombu seaweed. Kombu is used to create a stock called dashi which is the equivalent of chicken soup in Japan. This seaweed is particularly high in iodine, a mineral needed by our thyroid to help regulate our metabolism. The addition of mushrooms, carrots and cabbage give the soup even more rich nutrients and antioxidants that help to slim your waistline.

This soup is perfect paired with a fresh green salad for a quick relaxing dinner. It is also great for next day leftovers!

Kombu Miso Soup with Mushrooms and Cabbage
Makes 3-4 servings

2 strips of kombu (seaweed)
2 large carrots
8-9 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch green onions, white and greens sliced
¼ cup tamari (Eden Organics brand preferred)
3 Tbsp mirin/rice wine
7 cups water
1 small head napa cabbage, quartered and sliced into strips
1 Tbsp organic miso paste per serving
5 sprigs of cilantro (optional)

1. Combine the kombu strips, carrots, carrots, mushrooms, onions, tamari and mirin in a large pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
2. Remove the kombu strips from the broth and stir in the cabbage until lightly wilted.
3. Place about 1 tablespoon of the miso paste in each bowl. Add 1/3 cup of hot kombu stock and whisk until the miso is dissolved. Now, fill the bowl with soup and veggies. Top with a sprig of cilantro. Enjoy!

*You can enhance this soup with brown rice, wild rice, quinoa and/or cooked shredded chicken.

About this Contributor: Tanya McCausland is a Health and Culinary Coach in Alameda, CA She inspires, encourages and motivates her clients to create a life of health and balance through delicious food and simple lifestyle changes. She believes that our kitchens have the ability to heal – we just have to stock our pantries with real food and not be afraid to wield a wooden spoon every so often!