Turnip Green Soba Miso Soup

by Min Merrell

Turnip Green Soba Miso Soup is the perfect mashup of Korean/Japanese and southern country cooking. If you are on the fence about including a tub of miso to your growing fridge condiment collection, this easy recipe will convince you of its necessity, even if you need to finish off one of the many mustards to make room!

Turnip greens cooked with chunks of salty country ham or a smoked ham hock is a Middle Tennessee tradition. There are collards and kale and plenty of mustard greens around, but Middle Tennessee is turnip green country which we celebrate each October at the Nashville (downtown) Farmers’ Market.

This recipe highlights how ham and miso are truly umami cousins, each offering that little something extra to the heavenly broth. Go with miso alone and your soup is vegan. The other ingredient that accents the miso and the greens that I find to be critical is the rice vinegar. All greens need a little acidic kiss. The other suggestions–grated ginger, soy sauce, and fish sauce, are for you to play around with. None are absolutely necessary. Your soup will be divine, we promise.

Now, let’s talk about the soba noodles! They cook in 6 minutes and are separated in little bunches so you can cook as much or as little as you like. My favorite Asian supermarket in Nashville is Fresh and Fresh at the corner of Nolensville Rd. and Elysian Fields. There are plenty of brands and varieties of noodles to choose from. If you can’t find the buckwheat sobas, then go for any interesting noodle of your choice.

Note: be sure to cook the noodles separate from the soup. Rinse them after cooking and place a big helping into each serving bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles. If you put add the noodles to a pot of greens in a big pot the noodles will become soggy and less interesting.

Curious about Tennessee cooking and turnip greens? Here’s how to cook turnip greens.

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