This is a quick and delicious tofu vegetable soup recipe perfect for a light lunch or if you feel like skipping meat today. Ready in 18 minutes from start to finish.

Tofu vegetable soup

I make a quick tofu soup whenever I need to cut back on heavy foods.

It’s light and nicely accentuates the milky and delicate texture of tofu, plus it does wonders to my waistline! Eating well can be a challenge if what you eat is restrictive and bland, so I always look for recipes that are tasty and satisfying. This way it doesn’t feel like I’m giving up on good food

What’s wonderful about Japanese food is how many dishes are naturally low in fat and calories. Blandness isn’t an issue either since flavor is at the core of Japanese cooking. Plus, close attention is paid to every single ingredient used in a dish. This explains why Japanese cuisine is considered to be one of the best in the world.


How to Make Tofu Vegetable Soup

  1. Put all the ingredients, except the sesame oil and sesame seeds, in a pot and turn the heat to medium high.
  2. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off, whisk in the remaining ingredients and divide the soup in two bowls.
  4. Serve with cilantro, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Variations – Kimchi Tofu Soup

This is an easy soup variation you can make with this recipe. Simply swap the napa cabbage for 1 cup of kimchi and voila! You’ve got a red kimchi soup that’s spicy and pungent.

Simmered tofu with vegetables

What Tofu is Best for Soups

For soups and stews, silken tofu is king. The texture is delicate and so soft that it breaks to the touch. That’s because silken tofu contains the highest amount of water. It’s my favorite type of tofu for both its texture and milky flavor.

The other two types – medium firm and firm – are mostly used for salads and stir fries. If you cannot find silken tofu, medium firm is also good for this recipe. However, I would say skip this tofu soup if you can only find the firm kind. It just won’t be as enjoyable or tasty.

Can You Cook Tofu Without Pressing it?

It depends on what you make.

You don’t need to press it if you use it in soups and stews since the dish is already watery. But if you are using it to make a stir fry, you will need to press it.

The easiest way to press it, which is also how most Japanese people do it, is to simply leave the tofu block on a plate for 10-15 minutes. A puddle of water will form around the tofu which you will then pour in the sink. The tofu will then be ready to use.


What is Kombu Dashi?

Kombu dashi is seaweed broth. It’s a wonderful vegetarian substitute to soups and other dishes. I personally prefer kombu dashi over vegetable broth as the taste is much less pungent (I find vegetable broth to be a little stinky sometimes) and more earthy and deep with umami.

You can make your own using dried kelp but I prefer buying the powdered version (because I’m lazy).

To make kombu dashi from scratch:

  1. Place 12 grams of dried kelp in 4 cups of water and steep for 4 hours (refrigerated). Leave it overnight for a stronger taste.

That’s it! The kombu dashi will be good to use, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

What to Serve with Tofu Vegetable Soup

Since this is a light dish, I recommend serving it with a side of white or brown rice. You may also want to add a couple of sides to make this a substantial meal. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Tofu vegetable soup

Did you like this Tofu Vegetable Soup Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


Tofu vegetable soup

A light and cleansing tofu soup cooked with vegetables in kombu dashi broth.

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 3 cups napa cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 small carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 4 scallions (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 10 ounces silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup kombu dashi broth or regular dashi broth
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a medium size pot over medium high heat, add all the ingredients except for the sesame oil and sesame seeds.
  2. When the broth is slightly bubbling, cover and lower heat to a simmer for 8 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off and stir in sesame oil and sesame seeds.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a few cilantro leaves.


This soup will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Keywords: Appetizer, side, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free

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