This vegan dashi miso broth with farro is a breeze to make. And, best of all, you only need a few ingredients for big flavor!
One of the best ways to amp up vegan recipes is by loading up on umami flavors. Umami was originally thought to be synonymous with monosodium glutamate. That has since been debunked. While umami and MSG provide the same taste experience, umami was found to be naturally occurring in certain vegetables, plants, and fruits while MSG is, largely, a man-made chemical. Though MSG does occasionally occur naturally in some foods, like tomatoes and cheeses, those instances are rarer than naturally occurring umami flavors. With that discovery, umami became defined as the fifth flavor. In Japanese, umami means “essence of deliciousness”, and is associated with an ultra-savory flavor. This savory flavor lends a unique depth to dishes.
Umami is a not-so-secret weapon that can be used to make the tastiest vegan dinners.
Once you know where you find umami, you have endless options to develop umami-rich dishes.
Look for umami in the following places:
- Fruits and vegetables, particularly mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes
- Fermented condiments and sauces, like miso, shoyu, or hoisin sauce
- Deeply roasted or caramelized onions and garlic
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list! But, where you have deeply roasted or fermented ingredients, you’ll land yourself a rich, flavorful dish bursting with umami flavors.
For this recipe, I use miso and mushrooms to create the most flavorful vegan broth that pairs perfectly with chewy, yet tender farro.
For this recipe, I use sansho pepper miso which adds a nice peppery and fruity undertone to the broth. Use white miso for a lighter flavor or red miso for a full-bodied flavor.
How to make this vegan dashi broth with farro:
First, sauté the ingredients. Start by cooking a diced onion and then add sliced shiitake mushrooms. Next, add soy sauce and cook briefly so the mushrooms soak up the liquid.
From there, add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat. Meanwhile, heat an additional cup of water up in the microwave. Stir in 1–2 teaspoons miso paste until completely incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the broth and add the farro and vegan dashi powder. Simmer for 25–30 minutes or until the farro is tender. If you can’t find vegan dashi powder, simply omit or add a 4″ piece of kombu to the broth with the farro. Discard the kombu before serving.
Right before serving, fry a few reserved mushrooms in oil until crispy. I recommend using either shiitake, oyster, or maitake for the topping though cremini will work fine too!
To serve, simply ladle into bowls and garnish with the crispy mushrooms, microgreens, and a drizzle of sesame oil if you like. That’s it!
Vegan Dashi Miso Broth with Farro
- Wide pot
- Small skillet
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 10 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, or cremini
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 8 cups water
- 1–2 teaspoons miso paste, to taste
- 1 teaspoon vegan dashi powder, or use a 4" piece of kombu and discard after simmering
- 1 cup farro
- Sesame oil
- Microgreens or minced scallions
Prepare the mushrooms:
- Clean the mushrooms and tear or slice depending on the variety. Set aside 8–10 slices or pieces of mushrooms to be fried for the garnish; do not add these to the broth!
Sauté the vegetables:
- Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Next, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and cook for 7–8 minutes until golden brown.
- Next, add soy sauce and cook briefly, so the mushrooms soak up the liquid.
Simmer the broth:
- Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- As you wait for the water to boil, heat the remaining 2 cups of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in 1–2 teaspoons miso paste until completely incorporated.
- Reduce the heat on the broth to low and pour the miso mixture into the pot.
- Add the farro and vegan dashi powder or kombu. Simmer for 25–30 minutes or until the farro is tender. If using kombu, discard it after the broth finishes simmering.
- Taste the broth and season it to your preferences. Turn off the heat.
Fry the mushroom garnish:
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the reserved mushrooms and cook in an even layer, without moving, for 3–4 minutes. Once the mushrooms begin to turn golden-brown and crisp up, flip them and cook an additional 2–4 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the crispy mushrooms to a plate—season with salt.
- Ladle the farro and broth into bowls. Arrange the crispy mushrooms on top. If you like, finish the dish with microgreens or minced scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Enjoy!