What is Miso? Plus 5 AWESOME Miso Recipes

what is miso?

So what is miso? Back in episode 176 we talked about the amazing benefits of fermented foods. One of the foods we discussed was miso. 

To be honest, I had no clue what it was until I became a vegetarian; I didn’t even know it existed! This is a great example of how becoming a vegetarian expanded my food choices and experiences. You can listen to our discussion about miso here…

…or read on below for a quick summary.


What is Miso?

  • Miso is a fermented paste made of soybeans, a grain (such as rice or barley), and a mold called koji
  • Enzymes in the koji work together over weeks (and sometimes years) with microorganisms in the environment to break down the structure of the beans and grains into amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars.
  • Most miso is made in Japan, where it has been used since the eighth century or earlier.
  •  According to the Japan Miso Promotion Board (yes, there is such a thing!), there are over 1300 kinds of miso, but the two most common are sweet white miso and red miso.

What Does It Taste Like?  

  • The taste really depends on the type of miso. 
  • Some varieties are more fruity or sweet. 
  • Other varieties have a salty umami flavor. Because of this, it makes a great addition to recipes that traditionally call for meat. 
  • Generally, the darker the color the more it has aged, and the saltier and earthier flavor it has.
Hikari ORGANIC Red Miso Paste (2 Tubs)
  • This red miso is made of 100% Organic Rice & Soybeans and is additive-free
  • A long fermentation process creates its distinct, deep rich taste and aroma.
  • Ingredients: Water, Organic Soybeans, Organic Rice, Salt, Yeast, Koji Culture
  • Contains Soybeans.
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Is Miso Good for You?

The answer to this is a resounding YES! It’s a great source of various B vitamins, vitamins E and K, and folic acid. Because it’s a fermented food, it’s also great for your belly. It provides beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to your gut to promote both physical and mental well-being. 

Take a look at this video from Nutrition Facts that explains how miso can even help to lower blood pressure (always consult a doctor before making any dramatic changes in your diet).


Where Do I Find Miso? 

The good news is, you can find miso in most grocery stores these days (check the international foods aisle). Depending on the type, it may also be found in the refrigerated or produce sections. 


How Should I Store Miso?

Covered and in the fridge is the best way to preserve flavor and protect against oxidation. You can also press some parchment paper or plastic wrap over the top under the lid to help keep the air out. 


How Can You Use Miso?

Soup is probably the most common way people use miso, but it has other uses as well. 

One great thing about miso is that it doesn’t need to be cooked. This means that you can stir it right into your favorite glazes, marinades, or dressings. 

Some recipe ideas:

  • Vegan cream cheese
  • Vegan ranch dressing
  • Tahini
  • Vegan mayo
  • Stir Fry
  • Marinades
  • Sauces
  • Pesto


5 Miso Recipes to Try

So know that we’ve answered the question, “What is miso?”, let’s get into some delicious recipes!


  1.  15-Minute Miso Soup with Greens by The Minimalist Baker

Minimalist Baker is one of our go-to websites for recipes. Their recipes require 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. All eating lifestyles are welcome.



  1. Miso Glazed Tofu by Namely Marly

One great thing about tofu is that it easily takes on the flavor of its marinade. This savory recipe from Namely Marly is loaded with flavor and is also gluten-free and low-carb.


  1. Vegan Cashew Cream cheese from It Doesn’t taste Like Chicken 

This cashew cream cheese by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is great on toast or bagels for a healthy breakfast or snack.  It calls for a combination of white miso paste, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice for a TANGY taste!


  1. Veggie, Miso, and Tofu Stir Fry by Connoisseurus Veg

Bell peppers and sugar snap peas give this stir-fry recipe from Connoisseurus Veg a great crunch while keeping it light and full of flavor.


  1. Ramen Noodles with Miso Pesto from Bon Appetit 

This isn’t the same ramen noodles of your college days. These delicious ramen noodles are flavored with miso pesto and cilantro giving it a tangy flavor.


Thanks for listening/reading!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa


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