Cooking with miso can sometimes feels like cheating. It packs a powerful punch of umami and a slightly sweet earthiness, and the combination can imbue almost any dish with an enormous amount of flavor. Since the rich paste, made by fermenting soybeans with koji, is quite salty, you only need to add a relatively small amount to any given recipe, which means that when you buy a tub, you’re likely to have some on hand for a while.
Miso isn’t just used for making miso soup; the savory and sweet potential of miso is near limitless. Even if you haven’t yet gotten around to stocking a Japanese pantry, make sure you have miso on hand to make these 21 Japanese and non-Japanese recipes alike.
These charred asparagus are the ideal side dish next to a big, juicy ribeye. A classic béarnaise sauce gets a flavor boost from white miso. The miso plays a supporting role, giving that je ne sais quoi that’s sure to impress—and mystify—your dinner guests.
This rich, luxurious ramen features a chicken paitan broth flavored with a tare, or seasoning, made from a mixture of red miso, soy sauce, sake, dried fish, kelp, and fresh red chilies. Paired with a soft-boiled egg, braised pork belly, and homemade ramen noodles, this is an unbeatable bowl of soup.
Miso’s earthy savoriness perfectly complements the sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes. The already-rich sweet potato is the star of this dish, but ginger and miso add depth and spice, while butter and maple syrup amplify the potato’s comforting sweetness.
Tired of sweet potatoes yet? Of course you aren’t. Enter another fantastic sweet potato recipe that calls on the richness and umami-boosting power of miso. We par-cook the potatoes in water before roasting, which enhances their natural flavor and sugars. After they’ve taken on a nice crispness from the roasting, the potatoes are mixed into a combination of miso, mirin, sugar, and water, and sprinkled with scallions.
This dip blends miso with pork, walnuts, and onions for a deeply flavorful and savory Japanese-style combination you’ll want to serve with raw vegetables, and smear over roasted ones. Make a double recipe, and keep some on hand for your next meal. Trust us, you’ll want it.
Something you should know about me is that I put pesto on everything. And as a pesto expert, I have to tell you, this one stands out. The addition of miso to an otherwise-traditional pesto gives it a slightly cheese-like flavor, while keeping the sauce vegan. But if you do eat meat, I wouldn’t stop you from dolloping this on grilled lamb chops, or a big steak.
Poached chicken deserves way more love than it gets. Sure, it’s not as texturally exciting as fried chicken, and might not have as much upfront, bold flavor as fire-charred grilled chicken. But when it comes to soaking up flavor and providing a great base for a dish, poaching is the way to go. Here, the juicy meat is served with a bright and flavorful miso vinaigrette.
If you really just came here for miso soup recipes, look no further. While there are countless other wonderful ways to use miso as a flavoring agent, miso soup is perhaps the purest, and simplest. This bold miso soup uses both dark and mild miso, to maximize the punchy, umami flavor.
This bright, colorful miso soup is a celebration of fresh, in-season produce. The soup base welcomes variation, so play around and swap out vegetables depending on what’s in season, or needs to get used up from last night’s dinner.
This miso soup is—most likely—not at all like the one served at your favorite Japanese restaurant. Instead of a dashi (soup stock) made with bonito flakes, this one uses clams to flavor the broth.
A great salad puts as much care into balancing texture as it does flavor. And that’s exactly what this colorful salad does, with crisp tofu, avocado, grapefruit, kale, and a sharp miso and tahini dressing.
This risotto is really all about the sweet and subtly funky flavor of miso. And while for years I thought of risotto as something extremely laborious—best left for weekend date nights—this recipe proved me wrong. There’s no stirring required, and after just 5 minutes in the pressure cooker, it’s ready to eat.
Unlike most squash soups, this one doesn’t aim for ultra-sweet, rich flavor. Instead, by simmering the squash in an aromatic dashi broth, the soup focuses on nutty, savory, and earthy flavors. It’s finished with a mixture of miso and lemon juice, giving it a needed bit of acidity, saltiness, and a mellow, understated sweetness.
Chipotle and miso come from entirely different cooking traditions, but they marry wonderfully in this dish. Chipotle peppers offer smokiness, which the miso’s funkiness counterbalances. After marinating in this combination, along with a bit of brown sugar, the tofu is grilled until crisp and brown. When done cooking, the grill-marked pieces of tofu are brushed with the remaining marinade and sprinkled with scallions.
Are you getting tired of us telling you miso makes the perfect salad dressing? Well, it really does. Here, the dressing tops off a classic chicken salad with sweet corn, avocado, and perfectly juicy poached chicken.
This vegan ramen isn’t the simplest recipe out there, but Kenji’s called it the best bowl of ramen he’s ever made, and that’s reason enough to give it a try. Miso plays a leading role in providing the meaty umami flavor that is often the hallmark of non-vegan ramen. The soup is layered with tons of other vegetable flavors, and finished with shiitake caps, roasted sweet potato, eggplant, and scallions.
The more traditional version of this one-pot polenta and kale soup hails from Italy. But we’ve put a distinctive Japanese twist on the classic dish. Instead of parmesan, we finish the creamy soup with a mixture of miso paste, soy sauce, and scallions.
This popcorn was designed with you miso soup lovers in mind. Instant miso soup mix and some pieces of crumbled seasoned nori snack sheets make up the seasoning that coats each puffy, crisp piece of popcorn.
While we’re on the topic of miso-flavored snacks, we’d be remiss not to shine a spotlight on these miso soup potato chips. The same seasoning mix that gives the miso popcorn all its flavor takes these potato chips to the next level.
This delicious combination of shredded chicken with soba and miso-butter comes together in half an hour, and it’ll be devoured in moments. The addition of thinly sliced scallions and fresh cilantro gives this comforting dish the pop of freshness it needs to shine.
I’m of the belief that sad desk lunches are a thing of the past. Sure, sometimes I still end up at our office, looking down sadly at the room temperature turkey sandwich I packed that morning with my eyes barely open. But we don’t need to eat desk lunches like that any more. Need proof? I’m entering these DIY instant noodles as evidence. Bring your prepared jar of noodles, ginger, miso, vegetable base, tahini, sesame seeds, and vegetables to work. When you get there, simply add a few final seasonings, pour water to the brim of your jar, and you’ll never have to face a sad desk lunch again.
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