While the holidays are a time of tradition, they’re also the perfect occasion to take your favorite recipes to the next level for entertaining. This year, treat your family and friends to celebration recipes with a little added something—the salty, umami (savory or meaty) flavors of miso. Typically found in the refrigerated section at supermarkets, miso is a soybean paste fermented with rice, barley or other grains. A traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine, miso is now gathering fans in the U.S. as well because it adds a touch of protein and personality to a variety of recipes. Miso offers approximately 2 grams of protein per 1 Tbsp. serving, and provides nutrition benefits, such as probiotics (the naturally occurring live bacteria found in cultured and fermented foods) that are good for the digestive system.
Traditionally, each of the three major types of miso has its own flavor profile and uses. Mild-flavored white miso is just right for dressings, soups, beverages and desserts. Yellow miso has a nuttier, slightly more robust flavor that lends itself to marinades or roasted vegetable dishes. Red miso complements roasted meats and gravies.
Here are 10 ideas for adding the magic of miso to your favorite recipes for entertaining.
1. Make miso aioli as a dip for fried appetizers or a sandwich condiment by adding white miso to the traditional aioli ingredients of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. Or, for a shortcut, stir miso into ready-made mayonnaise.
2. For an easy, colorful appetizer, blend white miso and balsamic glaze with a little canola oil to drizzle over slices of fresh mozzarella and roasted red bell peppers or ripe tomatoes.
3. At casual get-togethers, serve miso butter with popcorn, and garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. Simply stir a little white miso into melted butter and toss with the freshly popped popcorn.
4. Add white miso to prepared ranch dressing for a savory miso ranch dip for raw vegetables.
5. Baked stuffed mushrooms take on a whole new dimension when you add white miso to create miso stuffed mushroom filling.
6. For holiday parties, serve globally inspired miso meatball appetizers with 2 Tbsp. of red miso added to the tomato sauce recipe, or create Asian meatballs with miso in the meat mixture and a miso and beef broth-based gravy.
7. For holiday buffets, create a sweet miso sauce for roasted acorn squash or sweet potatoes by adding white or yellow miso to maple syrup, or a brown sugar and butter mixture, along with a little oil and rice wine to balance the flavors.
8. For a holiday brunch, mix a batch of miso Bloody Mary cocktails with a little white miso added to the recipe for a rich flavor.
9. For a warming appetizer or a cozy evening snack with friends, add white miso to your favorite soup recipes, including miso carrot soup and miso corn chowder.
10. For dessert, the nutty, savory notes of white miso enhance chocolate cakes and brownies. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp. of miso to your usual recipe and discover the difference.
Enjoy the versatility and flavor of miso this holiday season!