Kombu Egg Soup

Just when you think you’ve had every type of soup out there, something new comes along. Like this recipe for Kombu Egg Soup sent in by Aaron Blaisdell for the Primal Cookbook Challenge.

As Aaron so rightly reminded us, “sea vegetables are often an overlooked component of our ancestral diet, even among us primal types.”

Kombu Egg Soup is incredibly nourishing and while the flavor of sea vegetables might be an acquired taste, in this soup you’ll find it to be fairly mild. But what are sea vegetables, exactly? We’ve featured this food group (otherwise known as algae) as Smart Fuel before, but the quick version is this: sea vegetables are in most cases some version of seaweed, whether it be nori (the dried seaweed that sushi is wrapped in) or something like kombu.

Kombu is sun-dried kelp, black in color and sold in strips that are about an inch wide and six or seven inches long. Packages of Kombu can be found in some grocery stores and at many Asian markets. In this soup, kombu flavors the broth and can be left in or discarded before eating. What it leaves behind are easily absorbed minerals (especially iodine) and a variety of vitamins, such as B-12. Kombu has been considered a health food and a base for broth in Asia for centuries, although for many of us in the west, it’s just catching on.

Kombu simmered in beef broth creates a rich and complex broth, ready for anything you want to add to it. Aaron’s favorite combination is sliced carrots and hardboiled eggs, for flavor and protein. He leaves the eggs whole, but you could also slice the eggs at the very end for easier eating.


  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 cups beef stock (more for richer stock; chicken stock may be substituted)
  • 1 five-inch long piece of dried kombu, cut into thin (1/2”) strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) miso paste
  • 1 carrot, pre-cooked or raw, sliced into discs (carrots saved from home-made stock work perfectly)
  • 4-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled but left whole (preferably from pastured hens)
  • Sea salt to taste


Bring water and kombu slices to a gentle boil.

Add miso paste and stir.

Simmer for four minutes. Stir once more, then remove kombu pieces from broth or leave them in. Your choice.

Add carrots and whole eggs and simmer for four more minutes. Turn off heat, add salt to taste and stir well.

Pour into large soup bowls and savor as the steam lifts your spirits! The warm, rich broth is the perfect foil for the dry yolk. If Aaron really wants a sea-weed kick, he sprinkles a little dulse on top of the finished soup (dulse is another variety of sea vegetable and can be bought ground up, to use as a seasoning.)

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30 thoughts on “Kombu Egg Soup”

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  1. not the prettiest soup i’ve ever seen, but i’m sure it’s pretty tasty.

  2. I need to start experimenting with soups more. I suppose I can just get Kombu at most health food stores?

    1. Actually, you can find kombu at a really reasonable price (much cheaper than at health food stores) at many Asian markets.

      1. I’ve found kombu at standard grocery stores as well in the “asian” section.

  3. I understand the health benefits of sea vegetables, but what about the dangers from MSG?

    Sea vegetables in their natural form, contain the amino acid glutamic acid. When this acid is broken down by cooking, it becomes glutamate. Stabilizing that with sodium (salt) creates mono sodium glutamate.

    1. yes, but that is true of all glutamate containing foods (meats, cheeses, eggs, etc..) MSG is not dangerous for most people, but some people are allergic to it in large doses.

  4. I love a great soup, sounds interesting and
    very different . Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  5. This looks great, but I feel compelled to point out that kombu doesn’t have B-12. B-12 is only in animal products. Sometimes seaweeds are labeled as having B-12, because they have a B-12 analog, but those analogs actually hamper the absorption of B-12. Based on what current research is showing (at least as far as I can tell), the only non animal product that MIGHT naturally have B-12 is chlorella.

      1. Not paleo, but fermenting soy reduces some of its anti-nutritive properties and is one of the traditional ways it was eaten before the soymaggedon of the past few decades. Just watch out for miso paste that has wheat or barley in it– I use it sparingly and just use organic paste made with rice and soy.

  6. Thanks Worker Bee for picking my soup entry!

    CFS and Mary, I know all about the problems with soy, but do enjoy small amounts of miso paste in this soup. It has been fermented for a looong time (up to a year), and I think there is decent evidence for its pro-biotic benefits. Nevertheless, the recipe does not hing on miso paste, so you can just leave it out.

    Rhys, do you have a reference about the type of B12 in sea vegetables?

    1. really cool soup idea!! Thank you for sharing it. I love miso (and kombu, and eggs!!!)
      Rhys is right about the B12, but this soup has plenty of B12 in it already..and I highly doubt that anyone eating the primal diet has to worry about getting enough B12.

    2. however this recipe has you add the miso early on with lots of simmering afterwards, so you may be killing off the beneficial probiotics. I would add the miso after the heat has been turned off, just before serving once the soup has cooled a bit. That is a more traditional way of cooking with miso, you should never boil it.

  7. Yes, soy is ‘evil’! But unpasteurized miso is abundantly ‘redeemed’ 🙂 and brings pro-biotic blessings with it.

    I do NOT do soy except for quality soy sauce and unpasteurized miso, both fermented and healthful.


  8. quick perhaps dumb question… is the kombu eaten in the soup or just used to add its nutrients to the broth?

    1. Sorry for the late follow-up. I usually eat the kombu. You definitely can eat it and get all of its nutrients that way (see Mark’s post on July 8, 2010).

  9. Today tried Kombu for the first time, simmered 3 strips a few minutes in some 24hr chicken broth, along with ‘glass’ (mung bean) noodles, then a touch of fish sauce. Thumbs up!

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

  10. A great variation of this soup would be to poach the eggs in the broth at the end of cooking. Then you can leave the yolk a little runny and let it mix in with the broth. Yum.

  11. yes but boiling the miso destroys the health benefits. add the miso at the end and never boil it!

  12. Just wanted to stress that it is of utmost importance not to cook the miso at too high a temperature, otherwise risk killing those wonderful probiotics. It may be better in this recipe to add the miso at the end, once the soup has been removed from the heat.

    1. Ditto on not boiling the miso paste if you want the enzyme/probiotic benefits.

      Also, I usually simmer kombu at least 20-30 minutes so that it becomes soft enough to eat. Not sure how you cut dried kombu into strips as this recipe suggests– I cut it up after it has simmered for a while.

  13. I’ve made this soup twice now, and it is very delicious. I’ve noticed that 1) the better the egg, the better the soup, because the eggs are so prominent and 2) there is no substitute for homemade stock/broth. It means the difference between being watery and thin and being hearty yet simultaneously refreshing. I’ve been making a lot of use of bones lately, since it is a cheap and delicious source of protein and other essential nutrients.

    Thanks for posting the recipe, I’ve been enjoying it a lot!