This is the perfect comfort food for a cold day that’s easy on the tummy. For those unfamiliar with miso- it is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. The fermented product is a paste that is used in soups, sauces and spreads. It has a salty, savoury flavour and comes in many varieties.

Soy is often vilified in the natural health world for reasons that are not completely unfounded. It is a common food sensitivity and hard to digest for some people. Soy is also a goitrogen, meaning it disrupts the normal production of thyroid hormone by blocking the thyroid gland from taking in iodine. For the with hypothyroidism, reducing the amount of soy in your diet is important but a little miso here and there may not cause issues.

I don’t encourage those with IBS to have a lot of soy in their diet, partially because of the FODMAP content and the reasons I mentioned above. However,  the fermentation process of miso means it contains probiotics which can help with the dysbiosisaspect of IBS. Miso has also been tested by FODMAPs.

This isn’t a traditional miso soup recipe- it’s a quick one. It took me about 15 minutes at the most. Traditional miso would use dashi, a Japanese stock, and tofu. Instead of tofu I added some leftover pork tenderloin for protein. I also went heavy on the ginger so feel free to reduce the amount by half. The miso paste that I buy is Eden Foods organic genmai miso. There are many varieties of miso and the general rule is lighter the colour of the miso pate, the lighter the flavour.


  • 1 lb kabocha squash (aka Japanese pumpkin), peeled and cubed
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 c water
  • 1 big handful of spinach
  • 4 tbsp. miso paste
  • handful of green onion, chopped (green part only for low FODMAP)


  1. Bring water to boil in large pot. Add squash and ginger and reduce to a simmer. Cook until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat. Add spinach and let wilt.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk miso with enough warm water to fully dissolve. When the miso is smooth and all lumps are gone, add to the squash and spinach. Stir to combine.
  3. Add green onion just before serving.

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