Miso is an incredibly flavorful, nutritionally beneficial fermented food to incorporate into any diet. Miso brings not only great umami taste to any dish, which is perfect if your taste buds are acclimating to life without meat, it also provides a powerful punch of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
There are many different varieties of miso, including white, yellow and red, each with a different flavor profile. Some are fermented with soy, while others brown rice and barley. White is the most delicate of the three and tends to work well with many different foods; red is quite salty and intense. You can find miso pastes made with soy only, in addition to some that include brown rice, barley, chickpeas or other legumes.
Benefits of Miso
The main benefit of miso is that it’s fermented. Fermented foods contain live bacterial cultures that actually assist our body’s own gut bacteria to break down food, bolster immunity and control other hormonal and chemical processes. Because soy is fermented into miso paste, the compounds in soy that are most difficult for some bodies to digest arrive pre-broken down. It’s like a double hit of help from those little bugs!
As well, miso is a great source of Vitamin K and protein. We need Vitamin K for bone health, and it’s more readily available to us when a food has been fermented (thanks, bacteria). Always look for organic, non-GMO soy products – including miso paste – whenever possible.
How to Consume Miso
Miso soup is a simple way to work more of this great macrobiotic ingredient into your life, and there are some very simple steps to follow to make an untraditional, very quick preparation.
While soup can often take upwards of half an hour to make (or longer, if you’re following a very traditional recipe), these steps will ensure that nourishing soup is never more than ten minutes away. (Try this in the morning instead of coffee, too! It’s an amazing tonic to wake up the body and can help kickstart great digestion for your day, no caffeine required.)
How to Make Miso in 10 Minutes:
Fill the kettle with 2 cups of water and put it on to boil.
Chop half an onion and a clove of garlic while you heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat.
Cook onions and garlic in oil until just tender, but not overdone.
Once they’re softened, slowly pour in water.
Let these cook together for 2 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp miso to the pot and whisk until it’s dissolved.
Cook 2 minutes more then transfer to bowls for serving.
High-five yourself for your awesome miso soup making and dig in.
(Optional: add cubed tofu, sliced green onions or shredded carrots just before serving. If you don’t like chunks of veggies in your miso soup, you can also blend this quickly before serving to puree the onions and garlic.)
Use miso in:
- Carrot Miso Soup
- Vegan BBQ Lentil Meatball Sandwich with Sweet Miso Coleslaw
- Sushi with Spouts and Tahini Ginger Miso Sauce
- Miso Green Tea and Ginger Zucchini Noodle Soup
- Miso Roasted Pumpkin and Grilled Tofu Over Udon Noodles
- Miso Roasted Tomato and Spiralized Carrot Noodles
Make sure to check out Here’s Our Ultimate Guide to Vegan Soup Recipes! for all of our favorite soup recipes!
Lead Image Source: Richard Masoner/Flickr
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