This savory vegan eggplant miso soup is made with tender sautéed Japanese eggplant, crispy pan-fried tofu and rice noodle vermicelli in a flavorful garlic-ginger miso broth.
Last year I planted two globe eggplant plants in my little backyard garden and ended up with a ton of eggplants to show for it. I was posting eggplant recipes for weeks! This year I decided to switch things up a bit and go with Japanese eggplants. I figured we've all got enough globe eggplant recipes in our lives by now. Time for Japanese eggplant. I was pretty excited about all of this.
I got even more excited when my little plant started sprouting little purple blossoms before anything else in my garden, followed by cute little baby Japanese eggplants. I started making all kinds of plans for Japanese eggplant recipes. In my mind, you guys were so sick of hearing about Japanese eggplants by September. So many recipes.
Guess what happened though? My cute little eggplants never grew up. I don't know what went wrong, except that I'm not that great a gardener and it was probably my fault. My eggplants never quite matured past bite size, even though I went out back on a daily basis to stare them down in the hopes I could guilt them into growing. My neighbor, who has a serious green thumb, mentioned that it wouldn't hurt if I'd watered them.
Kidding! Of course I watered them, at least one or twice.
I considered harvesting them at one point but instead held on to hope that they'd grow bigger. Before I knew it they withered up on the vine. I guess it's going to be a tomato year.
Anyhow, I'd gotten myself so psyched up about eggplant recipes that I had to head out to the farmers' market to pick some up. That was easy.
I ended up with this soup, which just might be my favorite soup ever. It was delicious and satisfying and left me feeling good and not weighed down. I could eat this soup every day and be happy. Even every day in August.
Japanese Eggplant Miso Noodle Soup
- 1 ½ tbsp. vegetable oil divided
- ½ lb. extra firm tofu drained, pressed for at least 20 minutes, and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 2 medium Japanese eggplants about ½ lb. total, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 5 cups water
- 3 oz. rice noodle vermicelli
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 scallions chopped
- 1-2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Coat the bottom of a large nonstick saucepan with ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Add tofu cubes and cook about 10 minutes, flipping a few times, until browned on multiple sides. Remove from pot and transfer to a plate.
Add remaining vegetable oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and eggplant to saucepan. Saute until eggplant is lightly browned and tender, 5-7 minutes. Add water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add noodles. Allow to soak until tender, typically 5 minutes, but refer to package instructions.
Add miso, rice vinegar and soy sauce to pot. Stir until miso is dissolved and well blended. Stir in tofu.
Ladle into bowls and top with scallions and sesame seeds.
Substitute whatever variety of eggplant is available if you can't get your hands on some Japanese eggplant. The texture may be a bit different, but I'm sure it will still be delicious.