Bento Box Soup Recipe

This Bento Box Soup recipe crams as many healthy ingredients as possible into one bowl.

| September 2013

The Longevity Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2013) is a practical and flavor-packed guide to promoting longer life with the food you eat. Author Rebecca Katz explains the health benefits of the main ingredient as well as menu plans for specific health issues. This bento box soup recipe was taken from chapter 4, “Life-Enhancing Soups and Broths.”

You can purchase this book in the Mother Earth Living store: The Longevity Kitchen.

The Japanese are renowned for their longevity. As of 2011, their average life expectancy was 82.3 years. (The United States came in fiftieth, at 78.4 years.) Researchers often credit their diet, and this soup is my way of cramming as much of their healthy cuisine into a bowl as possible. It’s called Bento Box Soup because of the traditional Japanese take-out bento box lunch, which is full of compartments, each containing a tasty treat: fish or meat, rice, pickled or cooked veggies, and other goodies. The base is a miso broth; if you’re not in the know about miso, it’s a salty fermented soy product that aids digestion and improves immune function. In case white miso isn’t available, use any mellow (light) miso. I kicked those healing properties up a notch by infusing green tea into the broth for an extra immune boost, then added shiitakes, spinach, kombu, scallions, and tamari.

Bento Box Soup Recipe

• 4 ounces soba noodles
• 4 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
• 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil or hot pepper sesame oil
• 1 (6-inch) strip of kombu
• 3 green tea bags
• 1 carrot, peeled and grated
• 1/2 cup stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
• 4 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons tamari
• 1/4 cup white miso
• 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced diagonally
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach

1. Fill a soup pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the soba noodles and decrease the heat to medium. Cook, stirring gently on occasion, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold water to remove the starch. Immediately transfer to a bowl, drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of the sesame oil and toss gently to coat.

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