Slice It, Dice It, Serve It: Make the Most of Miso

by Kieran McCourt, Weavers Way Ambler

  • It’s a traditional Japanese paste made from cooked soybeans, sake and grains.
  • It’s known for its earthy, salty, and varying levels of fermented funky flavor, from the sweeter and mild white and yellow varieties to the richer red types. While it’s the obvious ingredient in miso soup, a tub of miso in the fridge can be used in so many other ways.

Dressings: Miso can do wonders for a creamy dressing or a more acidic vinaigrette. It can sometimes be hard to mix with oil, so either loosen it up with rice vinegar or bring out the blender. It’s a great substitute for anchovies in a vegan Caesar dressing. Remember to season to taste after adding miso; it can be quite salty on its own.

Sauces: Bump up your stir-fry game by mixing miso into whatever sauce you use to finish off your entree. It would also make a great add-in to a vegan gravy. Even pesto and other herby sauces wouldn’t mind its earthy kick.

Marinades: Mix into liquid marinades for any protein of your choice, whether animal or plant-based; miso will bump up the flavor. Blend with butter before applying to a piece of fish or chicken.

Spreads and schmears: Amp up your sandwich game by mixing miso into mayo, butter, cream cheese, or tahini. Spread on fresh-cooked corn, steamed veggies or the ol’ leftover turkey sandwich.

Soup: Don’t limit yourself to the traditional application of dashi stock and miso. Toward the end of cooking, stir it into a stew or broth-y soup for a bit more nuance.

If you’re just starting out, go with a white or yellow miso. Be mindful that a little goes a long way, especially for anyone watching their salt intake.