Miso Soup with Clams & Spinach
The round, rich taste (also known as umami) of miso soup perfectly complements plump, briny clams. For the base of the soup you can use just water and miso, which you can find at most supermarkets. But if you can find dashi granules, they're worth adding for a more intense umami taste.
Note: Miso is fermented soybean paste made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans, salt and grains with a beneficial mold. It's undeniably salty, so a little goes a long way. White or sweet miso, made with soy and rice, is yellow and mild in flavor; use for soup, salad dressings and sauces. Look for it near tofu at well-stocked supermarkets.
Shopping Tip: Dashi is the fundamental cooking stock of Japanese cuisine and is made from kelp and a specially dried and smoked fish. You can make it from scratch (see our recipe at eatingwell.com), but for simplicity, we like instant dashi granules. Look for them where other Japanese ingredients are sold and online from importfoods.com.
1 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 vegetable