Macrobiotic cooking utilizes a number of different stocks for soups. If I'm pressed for time, and I'm making a hearty or pureed soup, I often just use good quality filtered water. The other ingredients manage to round the flavor out and I don't really miss the stock. But broth soups, braised and steamed dishes, and sauces usually really benefit from another layer of flavor, and a good stock can transform an okay dish into something exceptional.
Kombu Dashi is the most basic vegan stock there is. It's made from kombu (sea kelp) and water, and is an ideal base for miso soup. Kombu Bonito Dashi has bonito (air-dried fish flakes) in it, and has a unique, smoky flavor that's excellent as a base for seafood soups. Kombu Shiitake Dashi is made with kelp, dried shiitake mushrooms, and ginger, and is a potent medicinal broth as well as being delicious. Last, but not least, is good old-fashioned Vegetable Stock. I keep this on hand for when I'm looking for a more complex flavor profile in a soup or sauce.
All of these broths cans serve as bases for noodle dishes. Simply add soba or udon noodles, a bit of shoyu or tamari, and chopped scallions, and you've got an easy, nourishing dish.
Photo by Jen Hoy