If you’ve never used miso as an ingredient in your cooking, here are two good reasons to try. First, miso is a fermented food so it has those healthy probiotics that keep your gut healthy. Second, because of the fermentation process miso has a unique flavor that adds that special something, or umami – a depth and savory quality – that makes food taste better.
From Amanda Hesser’s The Essential New York Times Cook Book came the inspiration for what has become a weekly rotation at our house: Miso Butter with Green Beans or Asparagus. The original recipe is far more complex so I’ve brokem it down into 4 ingredients and it’s delicious. It also inspired me to start using miso in my cooking more. Also I have started to vacuum seal all the food ingredients, find Best Vacuum Sealer Reviews 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and read pros and cons before you buy one for yourself.
Here are 3 of my favorite recipes using miso. You can use whichever miso you like. I happen to like red miso the best but there are some yellow misos that are quite good. My all time favorite miso is from the South River Miso Farm. While it’ very pricey, their selection of miso is exceptional and a little miso goes a long way. One I highly recommend is made from chick peas. They also offer a millet, aduki bean and brown rice miso.
If sodium is a concern then I recommend this brand of low sodium miso which I found in Fairway in New York City.
A Miso Primer: Basically there are 3 colors of miso, yellow being the mildest (least aged) of the 3, red miso is aged the longest, up to one year and as a result has much more umami, and brown miso which is a combination of the yellow and red. Not all prepared miso brands are the same.
For cooking I use the red Great Eastern Sun Miso Master. As a rule of thumb, red miso has a higher sodium level. Another crucial thing to remember about miso is that you never want to boil it – that kills the nutritional benefits of the fermentation.
Ingredients For 1 lb of Steamed Asparagus or Green Beans:
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup miso
1 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
With a fork, mash the miso into the softened butter. Add the sherry vinegar and mix well. Place cooked vegetables is a large bowl with the miso butter and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
Red Miso Sauce for Grilled Vegetables
Eggplant and cauliflower are particularly good choices for this sauce.
In a bowl whisk together the following:
2 Tbsp. red miso
1 1/2 cups water, boiled but left to stand for 5 minutes in measuring cup
1 clove freshly chopped garlic
freshly chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. tamari
Juice from 1 lime
Pour over grilled vegetables and serve.
Miso Salad Dressing
This no oil dressing couldn’t be easier to make. Not only is it wonderful on a simple green salad but it also pairs well with grated carrot, daikon radish and shredded Napa cabbage sprinkled with sesame seeds. If this dressing is too rich then just add some water or a touch of sesame or peanut oils.
Whisk together the following ingredients and pour over the salad of your choice.
1 Tbsp. Red Miso
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Tamari Sauce
1 tsp. lime juice
tap water to thin out to your desired consistency
Whisk ingredients together adding the water last.
Kimberly’s miso soup post from February 2011 has our favorite Miso Soup recipe click here.