You have probably heard of miso but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is, let alone how to cook with it. Miso is a Japanese product made by fermenting soybeans, rice or barley with salt and a fungus called koji. It adds a savory, umami flavor to foods and it’s considered a superfood because it is packed with healthy probiotics and vitamin B12.
Studies have found probiotics to help protect against colon cancer and reduce intestinal problems. Probiotics can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Friendly flora can also help our immune and nervous systems, helping relieve headaches, fatigue, inflammation and other problems. When we have the right amount of healthy bacteria in our guts, we can absorb more nutrients from the food we eat. Learn more about the health benefits in Facts About Miso, With Tips, Health Benefits and Recipes and Fermented and Pickled Foods are Healthy and Delicious —Try These!
Okay, so miso is healthy but what does it taste like? Well, there are several varieties of miso so the taste can vary from mild to rich and intense. The darker the color of the miso, the more intense the flavor will be.
Light or white miso (shiro in Japanese) is made mainly with rice so the flavor is mild and slightly sweet. White miso has more koji than salt and is best used in sauces, marinades and dressings. Yellow miso is a bit stronger than white miso, fermented with mostly barley, and can be used for any recipe.
Dark miso, on the other hand, has more salt and ferments much longer so the taste of red and brown miso is richer with more umami. Dark miso is best used with stews and soups and a little bit goes a long way.
Miso is rarely used alone. It is mixed with other ingredients to create a blend of flavors that make dishes complex and savory. Are you ready to try miso in your recipes? Start with these 12 savory, delicious and healthy recipes.
1. Miso Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini
This Miso Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini is a simple and flavorful way to use that extra eggplant and zucchini from your CSA, garden or even just an overzealous shopping trip. This is incredible by itself, but would work well as a satisfying side or even the filling of a delicious veggie sandwich.
2. Miso Soup With Garlicky Lentils, Kale and Mushrooms
This Miso Soup with Garlicky Lentils, Kale and Mushrooms is a quick dinner you will love. It’s perfectly packed with protein, fiber and secret hidden veggies. It’s extra-filling and extra satisfying, and particularly awesome to make in a batch to eat throughout the week.
3. Miso Sesame Spaghetti Squash
This Miso Sesame Spaghetti Squash is perfect for a side dish, or a grain-free main course. The squash is tossed in a miso-tahini sauce that is savory and delicious.
4. Kale Avocado Wraps With Spicy Miso-Dipped Tempeh
These Kale Avocado Wraps are perfect for a quick dinner or lunch anytime. The tempeh is cooked in a rich, nutty miso dressing which is also used for the salad.
5. Unfried Cauliflower Rice in Ginger Miso Sauce
Turn a classic dish upside down and inside out. This Unfried Cauliflower Rice in Ginger Miso Sauce uses cauliflower for rice and is cooked in an umami-packed, flavorful sauce.
6. Soothing Miso Soup
No need for take-out! This elegant, yet simple, traditional Asian Miso Soup is light and flavorful and soothing to the soul. Shiitakes add great texture to compliment the delicate broth.
7. Cold Soba Bowl With Lemon Miso Sauce
This Cold Soba Bowl is totally filling and satisfying without weighing you down. Filled with hearty buckwheat soba noodles, crisp veggies and creamy miso sauce, you can fill your belly and still stay cool.
8. Nori Wrap With Sweet Potato, Avocado and Miso Dressing
Nori Wraps make an excellent lunch or light dinner. You will love the combination in these wraps of the salty miso dressing with the creamy avocado, comforting oven-baked sweet potato and crisp green pepper and red onion.
9. Miso Sesame Kale Bowl-ed Over
This Miso Sesame Kale Bowl is packed with all sorts of foods that are good for you – kale, sauerkraut, brown rice and sesame seeds. The sauce is made with miso, tahini and ginger for a meal that tastes so good, you’ll forget how healthy it is.
10. Broccoli Rabe Potato Pizza With Carrot Miso Sauce and Hazelnuts
Put a new spin on your pizza. This Broccoli Rabe Potato Pizza has a carrot sauce instead of the classic tomato version. The carrots are cooked with miso, garlic and lemon. Broccoli rabe and potatoes make for creative and delicious toppings.
11. Healthy and Vegan Yam Noodles with Miso Sauce
These Yam Noodles are so satisfying and delicious. They’re tossed in a sauce made with miso, mustard, garlic and agave for a healthy dish that just also happens to be amazing.
12. Miso Roasted Tomatoes and Spiralized Carrot Noodles
The miso is this dish of Miso Roasted Tomatoes is genius. While the tomatoes roast, their flavors deepen, sweeten, and eventually burst, letting the miso seep further in the tomato skin. Here they are served over spiralized carrot noodles.
Miso can last up to a year in the fridge so you have plenty of time to try it in a bunch of different recipes. Once you taste the savory, umami flavor, you’ll be hooked on this condiment.
Lead image source: Cold Soba Bowl With Lemon Miso Sauce