Wake up your mundane meals with miso

miso_soupKeeping meals fun, fresh and interesting, especially during the hectic work week, is tough. Chicken, veggies and couscous on Monday, turkey tacos on Tuesday, simple stir-fry on Wednesday: lather, rinse, repeat. Convenience, quickness and familiar favorites that everyone will eat lead to a routine that inevitably gets tiresome.

If only there were an ingredient that could be put into a variety of recipes and totally change up the flavor.

Enter miso paste. Most will immediately think of miso soup, but this Japanese condiment made from fermented soybeans is amazingly versatile. Miso brings a deep, earthy, salty/sweet yet savory flavor profile to the table.

Miso is made by combining soybeans and rice or barely with salt, water and fungus and then fermenting it. The more soybeans used in the miso the darker the color and stronger the taste. The lighter white and yellow/red misos have a milder flavor and are the most commonly used and available varieties.

If miso has one caveat, it’s that it is high in sodium. However, a little really does go a long way in recipes. Miso is a good source of protein, potassium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6. Be sure to consult a physician if you have any dietary concerns about sodium and adding miso to your diet.

There are several ways to introduce miso into your cooking. Use these recipes as inspiration for experimenting with your own dishes.

  • Glazes – Combining miso with soy sauce, mirin, oil or vinegar produces a glaze that can be brushed onto proteins or veggies like this eggplant recipe, while they grill or broil.
  • Rubs & marinades – this marinade recipe is great on meat or fish, but miso can be substituted into wet rubs too.
  • Sauces – adding miso into sauces will give any stir-fry recipe new life. It can also be added at the end of cooking to thicken and season a sauce.
  • Salad Dressing – miso can be combined in a variety of ways to dress a salad. Try this miso carrot sesame dressing.
  • Soups – traditional miso soup is great, but this pork, apple and miso noodle soup shows the ingredients flexibility.
  • Spreads or dips – Here’s a great miso-peanut spread that tastes great on crackers or veggies.
  • Breading – coat some veggies or proteins in miso and roll in bread crumbs, then bake.


Photo credit: kattebelletje

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