I sometimes overlook the fact that although many recipes on the blog contain ingredients or techniques that are common to me, they aren’t necessarily common to everyone. Not every reader knows the difference between tempeh and seitan or braising and blanching, so I’ve decided to start a new “Word of the Week” series of posts to help define and demystify common vegetarian kitchen terms. This week’s word is miso.
Miso is a paste that is typically made from fermented soybeans but may also include grains such as rice or barley. There are many different types of miso, which vary according to the type of grain used, the salt content, the length of fermentation, the place of origin, and more.
Most commonly found brands of miso are labeled by their color, with red, yellow, and white being the most common. Typically, the darker the paste, the stronger and saltier the flavor will be. Miso is wonderful for adding more flavor to soup recipes or just making miso soup, and it adds depth to salad dressings, such as vegan Caesar.
Miso is low in fat but contains many trace minerals and a good bit of protein. You can learn more about miso on Wikipedia or just pick some up at your local grocery store (I’ve found miso in the health food section of several major chains in my area) and start experimenting!