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Meatless Monday – Shiitake Dashi

By Meg Claire

It’s begun. My lovely husband charitably gave me his first head cold of the season. Sore throat, runny nose, headache; I’m good for about one cold a year. In place of Grandma’s old remedy of Chicken Soup, try this Shiitake broth.

It begins with a veganized version of the classic Japanese “Dashi” soup-starter. Dashi is the basis for many beloved Japanese soups and stews, including humble Miso Soup. You simply heat mineral-rich Kombu (a dried sea vegetable) in hot water. There’s your base. Traditional versions add funky fish flakes, but we’ll skip that here. Instead, I use dried shiitake mushrooms which impart an earthy, deep flavor to the Dashi. Now you can add whatever you like – miso paste, lemon grass, daikon, sesame oil, spinach or other greens, fresh noodles, even cubes of tofu. Or, if you’re under the weather like me, just have the Shiitake Dashi in a mug, take a eucalyptus-steam shower, and call it a night.

Shiitake Dashi

Serves 4

3 cups water

1 2-inch piece of kombu

5 small dried shiitake mushrooms

Place the kombu and water in a pot over high heat. Remove the kombu just before the water boils and discard it. Turn the heat off. Add the mushrooms and cover the pot for 5 minutes. When the mushrooms are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon. Carefully slice the mushrooms very thinly and return to the broth. Heat through and drink as tea or use as a soup base.

What's your vegan "chicken soup" remedy for when cold and flu strike?
Posted in My Blog on 11/08/2010 12:21 pm


  1. I love vegetarian matzo ball soup when I'm sick, but I don't know if it can be made without eggs to keep the matzo balls together when they're cooking.


  2. I think Isa has a recipe for that either on her site or one of her cookbooks. You could always email her to ask for it.


  3. @Jennifer and Christy – Yep, Isa has a recipe for vegan matzo ball soup in Vegan with a Vengeance.  It's awfully time consuming, and kinda complicated for me.  I confess, the boxed Manischevitz matzo ball mix and soup is awesome.  Even better – the broth has the richness of a chicken broth, but it's vegetarian.


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