Miso is an ingredient that was recommended to me well over a year ago and I have been reluctant to try it out. Why? Because it just seemed too new for my already new roots. Until now…
Why I love using miso paste
Miso is a fermented soy bean paste. Even more amazing is that the fermentation process provides a beneficial bacteria to your intestines, which is key to overall health. Here’s a glimpse at what fermented foods–and more importantly, a healthy GI–does for you:
- Digests certain sugars and proteins.
- Facilitates absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.
- Regulates appropriate storage of fat in the body.
- Prevents bloating, gas, and yeast overgrowth.
- Manufactures vitamin K and B vitamins sometimes otherwise in short supply.
- Deprives invaders of nutrients, secretes acids that less-friendly microbes can’t tolerate.
- Strengthens the lining of the gut to help block dangerous pathogens, toxins, and allergens.
- Stimulates immune system by increasing T-cells, producing natural antibiotics/antifungals.
- Metabolizes and recycles hormones, including estrogen, thyroid hormones, and phytoestrogens.
- Helps detoxify drugs and other harmful compounds.
- Exerts anti-tumor/anti-cancer effects.
Tips for using miso paste
If you haven’t cooked with miso paste before, then it can take some getting used to. Here are a few things I figured out along the way:
- White Miso vs Dark Miso – White miso is lighter in flavor and saltiness than the dark miso. Basically, the darker the miso, the stronger the miso flavor.
- Miso Vinaigrette – Swap the tahini paste sauce for olive oil and whisk with a fork for a lighter miso vinaigrette.
- Creamy Miso Salad Dressing – If you’re looking for a creamy salad dressing, then drop the rice vinegar and use olive oil instead. Blend until it becomes thick and creamy. I like making it this way for a quinoa or grain bowl with roasted potatoes.
- Miso is Salty – Miso paste has a high salt content, so be careful when adding other ingredients, like salt and pepper or soy sauce. Adding maple syrup or honey will help balance the salt, if needed.
Easy Orange Miso Dressing Recipe
- Chop the garlic roughly and put into a food processor or high speed blender.
- Place everything else (except oil) into a blender and blend until smooth.
- If using oil, add the oil one tablespoon at a time and pulse the blender until it's the consistency you like.
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge and use 1-2 tablespoons over salad when craving. (Only use when you are going to eat, the citrus wilts the lettuce pretty quickly)
I poured this batch over a pre-prepped kale salad, and then tossed in some spring mix, as well. Preparing ahead of time leaves the busy work for the newbies and allows you some time to get creative, listen to your body, and build a salad that you crave, not just one you-should-have.
Basic Base Kale Salad
- 2-3 bunches kale, cabbage, or green lettuce (I prefer rainbow)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Wash and de-stem the kale. I tear the kale by hand into bite-size pieces.
- Place in bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Get cozy with the kale and massage the ingredients until well mixed.
- The dressing will wilt the kale so it’s more palatable.
- And VOILA! There’s a salad waiting for you in the fridge and all you have to do is add to it.
I like to add a beefsteak tomato, hemp seeds, avocado, roasted chickpeas, and miso dressing. I go easy on the olive oil in the marinade for the kale and especially easy on the wilting process if I have this dressing on hand … it acts as a great softener on its own.
YUM YUM YUM