Hearty Vegan Polenta and Kale Soup With Miso and Toasted Sesame Oil Recipe

A thick polenta and kale soup flavored with miso, soy sauce, and scallions. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

This easy one-pot polenta and kale soup hails from Italy, but we give it a distinctly Japanese twist: In place of the Parmesan called for in a traditional recipe, we finish ours up with the addition of miso paste, soy sauce, and scallions. It's savory, rich, and 100% vegan.

Why this recipe works:

  • A homemade vegetable stock is the best base for a tasty soup.
  • Miso paste, soy sauce, and scallions add depth of flavor to a very simple soup.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 leek, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • Pinch red pepper flakes

  • 2 quarts homemade vegetable stock or an equivalent amount made with Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base

  • 1 cup polenta (coarse corn meal)

  • 1 quart packed roughly chopped kale leaves (stems removed)

  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Toasted sesame oil, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil, leeks, and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until very soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetable stock.

  2. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the polenta. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until polenta is tender and the soup is thickened, about 20 minutes.

  3. Str in kale, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in miso, soy sauce, an half of scallions until miso is fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. Serve, drizzling with sesame oil and sprinkling with remaining scallions. Extra soup can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
334 Calories
21g Fat
32g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 334
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 738mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 40mg 200%
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 425mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)