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Your Guide to 3 Different Kinds of Miso & 9 Tasty Recipes

Miso has tradition in Japanese cuisine, but has made its way in modern meals. But what is miso and miso paste? Find out how you can enjoy its flavors in your kitchen!

Your Guide to 3 Different Kinds of Miso & 9 Tasty Recipes

Miso has been a mainstay in traditional Japanese cuisine for centuries. However, it has gained popularity in modernized meals. 

But what is miso and miso paste? Learn about miso and how to enjoy its unique flavor!

What Is Miso?

Miso is a thick paste-like substance produced by fermenting cooked soybeans, salt, and a mold (called "koji") that is activated by rice, barley, or other grains. It is traditionally used in Japanese cuisines to flavor a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces and marinades, baked tofu, and veggie dishes.

Although varieties are ample, commonly noticed types on American grocery store shelves mostly include:

1. White Miso
White miso, or shiro miso, is produced from soybeans and rice. They are fermented together to create a white to light beige color and offer its sweet taste to condiments, dressings, and sauces.

2. Red Miso
Regularly known as just "miso," red miso is a product of soybeans, barley, and other grains. Unlike white miso, red miso is robust and salty in flavor, making its intensity valuable in hearty soups and marinades.

3. Yellow Miso
Yellow (or shinshi) miso is fermented similar to red miso, though is sometimes mixed with a small portion of rice and fermented for a shorter time period, and bares a yellow to light brown color. It has an earthier and sweeter flavor than red miso, not as salty, and used as an excellent multi-purpose miso, including condiments, soups, and marinades.

9 Miso Recipes

1. Miso Soup
Swapping out breakfast sausage, bacon and eggs with miso soup is common in Japanese culture. Along with the use of shiro miso (or white fermented-soybean paste), this miso soup recipe features dashi (a basic stock made with dried bonito flakes) to amplify the flavor.

2. Potato Chowder with Miso Broth
Miso soup meets potato chowder... This unique recipe features white miso, sake, lentils, onion, and new potatoes to create a rich, hearty chowder.

3. Miso Dressing
Rather than resorting to a bottled dressing at the store, whip up this homemade miso recipe! The flavors of miso paste, rice vinegar, lime juice, and fresh ginger is sure to dress up your next bowl of salad greens or tofu and noodle salads!

4. Miso Mashed Potatoes
Simply mashed potatoes + red miso paste! To your favorite mashed potato recipe, add in a tablespoon of red miso paste. With the miso already offering a rich, salty flavor, dismiss the salt and enrich the flavors with favorite fresh herbs, including chives, parsley, and chopped green onion.

5. Miso Grilled Veggies
Eat the colors of the rainbow with this miso grilled vegetable recipe! Feel free to modify the recipe by tweaking miso types, along with adding, dismissing, or swapping out veggies. Pair with a grilled chicken breast or salmon fillet for a light meal during a warm summer day.

6. Miso-Marinated Skirt Steak
Although skirt steak is ample in flavor, it tends to be a tough cut of meat. But with the use of sake in this miso-marinated skirt steak recipe, the meat is tenderized and flavorful. Serve with grilled asparagus and a side of brown rice or other favorite steak pairings.

7. Miso Burgers
Miso paste transforms an American favorite into Japanese flavors with this miso burger recipe. Assemble burgers with favorite toppings, including lettuce, tomato, and onion.

8. Creamy Miso Pasta
Flavored with white miso pasta, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and Dijon mustard, this creamy miso pasta with brussels sprouts is sure to take the taste buds to flavortown! Pair with fresh salmon fillet, grilled chicken breast, or tofu and edamame for added protein.

9. Miso Stir-Fry
Light in calories but bold in flavor, this veggie and miso tofu stir-fry is prepared with crisp red bell pepper slices, sugar snap peas, pan-fried tofu, and a savory miso sauce. Feel free to swap with lean chicken or sirloin as desired.