OOne of the best parts of a meal at a Japanese restaurant might be the amuse-bouche: the complimentary miso soup appetizer that kicks off the delicious meal. Warm, earthy and sweet-salty, this umami-scented dish is as soothing as it gets, all thanks to one of the best ingredients, miso paste.
Miso is a fermented soybean product believed to originate in China. it made its way to Japan around the 7th century. Today, this ingredient has become a world-famous staple that can be used in everything from appetizers to desserts. Plus, miso is packed with gut health benefits that will add a hint of toasty flavor and microbiome-balancing benefits to almost any dish.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of eight gut-packed miso recipe ideas—from miso grilled cheese sandwiches to creamy ramen to chocolate chip cookies—to satisfy all your moods. You’ll also find a breakdown of the types of miso to choose from, and the many health benefits you’ll reap from happily crushing (or sipping) each one.
The three main types of miso
To make miso, soybeans are fermented in a mixture of salt and edible molds (Aspergillus oryzae), also known as koji. Depending on the length of the miso fermentation process and the ratio of ingredients used, you can create the three most popular forms of miso: white, yellow, and red.
White miso is the most delicate and mild of the group, making it ideal for adding subtle hints of sweet flavor to dishes like salad dressings or desserts. This light-colored miso is made with less salt and has a shorter fermentation period than the other two types. Next is yellow miso, which is slightly stronger in flavor and ranges in color from light yellow to pale brown. It is fermented longer than white miso but still won’t overpower the taste of sauces or soups. And finally, red miso, the saltiest and most robust of them all. It is fermented the longest and can add the strong umami miso flavor to dishes like ramen or marinated salmon.
The health benefits of miso
Where to start ? “One of the reasons fermented foods like miso are good for the gut is because they contain probiotics,” dietician Erica Ingraham, RD, previously shared with Well + Good said. “Probiotics are helpful live bacteria that are associated with a range of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, healthy digestion and healthy immune system function. Miso [also] contains a range of B vitamins, including vitamin B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folate). These B vitamins are linked to supporting healthy brain and nervous system function. Finally, Ingraham notes that miso is loaded with vitamin K, which can help heal wounds as well as keep bones strong and healthy as you age.
8 Gut-Friendly Miso Recipe Ideas Perfect for Any Time of Day
1. Miso Butter Grilled Cheese Sandwich
When you think a grilled cheese sandwich couldn’t get any better, this recipe from Half Baked Harvest will quickly change your mind. The super simple recipe is made with spicy miso butter which is a real game changer. Creamy butter is spread on slices of sourdough bread, topped with smoked Gouda cheese, buttery Monterey Jack cheese, then toasted to perfection. When you’re in the mood to give your regular grilled cheese a quick, friendly upgrade, this recipe is for you.
Get the recipe: Grilled Cheese with Miso Butter
2. Miso Hummus with Crispy Onion Furikake
Playing off a traditional hummus recipe, this version takes it a step further with nutrient-dense ingredients like sesame, fiber-rich seaweed, and miso. To make this hummus even tastier, I Am A Food Blog blends white miso and chickpeas for a velvety texture and extra probiotic benefits. To garnish the dip, the recipe also calls for a sprinkle of homemade furikake, a traditional Japanese flavor-enhancing condiment made with ingredients like sesame seeds, nori (roasted seaweed) and bonito flakes (dried fish flakes). .
Get the recipe: Miso Hummus with Crispy Onion Furikake
3. Creamy sesame and miso ramen
One of our favorite miso recipe ideas is, of course, miso soup. Rich, creamy and noodley, this hearty ramen from Half Baked Harvest ticks all the boxes for the perfect quick-cook comfort meal to enjoy at home. The recipe features a miso-infused broth with ingredients like crispy mushrooms, jammy eggs, and vitamin-packed carrots. And if you weren’t already sold, you can whip it up using your handy Dandy Instant Pot in under 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: 30 Minute Creamy Sesame Miso Ramen with Crispy Mushrooms
4. Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Stuffed with Peanut Butter and Secret Ingredients
The not-so-secret ingredient that turns this simple chocolate chip cookie into something amazing is miso. Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard reveals that the fermented dough adds just the right amount of saltiness to help balance the sweetness of this decadent cookie.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Stuffed with Peanut Butter and Secret Ingredients
5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Miso Cornflake Bars
Gimme Some Oven nails it with these crispy, chewy and sweet-salty peanut butter cornflake bars. With just a handful of ingredients and no cooking required, this sweet and nutty concoction is perfect for those hot summer months when you can’t even fathom the idea of starting the oven. Plus, Ali from Gimme Some Oven offers several ways to modify this easy recipe to make it vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Miso Cornflake Bars
6. Stonefruit Cucumber Salad with Golden Miso Balsamic Vinaigrette
With stone fruit season on the way and cucumbers in full swing, this springtime recipe is vibrant, refreshing and loaded with antioxidants. Bojon Gourmet brings together a remarkable assortment of beautifully colored ingredients like peaches, plums and purslane leaves and tops it off with a tangy miso-balsamic vinaigrette.
Get the recipe: Stonefruit Cucumber Salad with Ricotta Salata, Purslane, and Golden Balsamic Miso Dressing
7. Miso Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
A last minute appointment? We have what you need. These seven ingredient miso and cheese stuffed mushrooms by I Am A Food Blog are the perfect appetizers to get the party started. The center of the mushrooms is filled with a mixture of cream cheese, mayonnaise and miso that melts in your mouth with every bite.
Get the recipe: Cheese and Miso Stuffed Mushrooms
8. Intestine Soothing Miso Tonic
Stomach feeling a little… bad? This soothing vegetable broth contains gut-friendly ingredients like ginger, celery and seaweed, to help alleviate gastrointestinal issues. Minimalist Baker also blends a three-ingredient miso tonic (she uses chickpea miso here), scallions, and black pepper into the vegetable broth for additional microbiome-boosting benefits.
Get the recipe: Gut-Calming Vegetable Bouillon (+ Miso Tonic)
If you’re looking for miso recipe ideas that are also great for immunity, look no further than this easy-to-make broth:
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