Mung bean green papaya spinach soup

This soup is hearty, healthy, and has lots of varying textures.

Did you know that when you have bean sprouts — on a sandwich, in soups, in stir fries — those are the sprouts of mung beans? This recipe uses the bean, not the sprout. I used the whole dried beans, but they are sold in the split form as well. You could use a combination of the 2 to get a creamier texture since the split bean will cook faster.

The green papaya is an unripened papaya, and is like a summer squash and rich in potassium. You can usually find them in an Asian or Latin supermarket. For an oil-free recipe, use water or vegetable broth to sauté.

Servings: 4 (2.5 cup servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sliced dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil, water, or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 onion, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cup dried mung beans, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetarian or low-sodium chicken broth or water (can include reserved liquid from the mushrooms as part of the broth)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of one of these sauce options: soy sauce, coconut or liquid aminos, fish sauce (patis), or vegetarian fish sauce 
  • 2 cups green papaya, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 12- or 14-ounce block of tofu*, medium or firm, cubed
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or leafy greens
  • Black pepper to taste

*You can also use 1 pound of chicken, skinned and cut in bite-size pieces. Can be used instead of, or with tofu. If using chicken, sauté with onion as the first step.

Directions

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid to use as part of the broth.
  2. Place canola oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and let heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add onion (and chicken, if using) and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, then add garlic and ginger, and sauté for another minute. Add mung beans, broth, rehydrated mushrooms, and your chosen sauce. Bring up to a boil, then let simmer for about 40 minutes or until beans are tender, skimming off any froth on the top.
  4. Add green papaya and tofu. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until papaya is fork tender.
  5. Add spinach and let wilt, should take less than a minute.
  6. Taste to ensure adequate seasoning, then serve!

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 320
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 180
  • Total carbohydrate: 40 g
  • Dietary fiber: 11 g
  • Sugars: 12 g
  • Added sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 18 g

Note: Nutrition information is approximate and will vary based on options used.

Contributor

Leticia Nagata, RD