Preparation, uses, and tips
While the flavors of different varieties of miso vary, all provide a salty, savory quality
to foods. Some also add a subtle sweetness. Miso is almost always dissolved in water before it
is added to dishes.
Miso has many uses, but the quintessential miso dish is traditional Japanese miso soup.
This is a breakfast staple in Japan although it can be enjoyed at any time of day. Traditional
miso soup starts with a fish-based broth called dashi, or a simple homemade miso soup can be
made by simmering chunks of tofu and vegetables in broth or water. Just before serving, add
2 tablespoons of miso for each cup of water used. Dissolve the miso in a little bit of water
Miso can also be used instead of salt in many stews or soups, especially those based on
vegetables or beans. Although it is high in sodium, miso can actually help to decrease sodium
intake—miso is somewhat more flavorful than salt, so it takes less to make dishes
flavorful. Miso can also be used to make a spread for corn-on-the-cob or to melt over
vegetables. Blend together equal parts miso and butter or margarine.
There are many varieties of miso. They are classified by color (white, red, brown, and
yellow), flavor (sweet or salty), and ingredients (usually depending on the type of grain
used). Many Western miso manufacturers offer new types of miso with ingredients not found in
traditional products; dandelion-leek miso is one example.
Darker miso, which is usually red or brown, tends to be more salty. White miso tends to
have a somewhat sweeter flavor—although a salty flavor predominates in all types of
miso. Yellow miso is light yellowish in color, has a salty flavor, and is usually made from
rice and soybeans.
Miso can be smooth or chunky. Some Western companies produce a pasteurized miso that
contains preservatives. Traditionally produced miso is unpasteurized and is aged over many
months; it also has a better flavor and is widely available.
Miso, 1/2 cup (138g)
Total Fat: 8.3g
*Excellent source of: Iron (3.75mg), Zinc (4.5mg), and Riboflavin (0.34mg)
*Good source of: Magnesium (58mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular
nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good
source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily