One of the most umami packed ingredients you can keep in your fridge is miso. This famous Japanese ingredient made from fermented soy beans with salt and fungus is packed with savory flavor. Miso paste works best when uncooked, so this miso salad dressing is an easy and delicious recipe to really get the most out of this ingredient.
While this miso salad dressing may seem to have a lot of ingredients, most of them are common pantry staples. Thus the only thing you really need to obtain is the miso, others have decent substitutes.
What Is Miso?
Miso is a Japanese soybean paste that has been around for centuries. In recent years it has gained popularity outside Japan, however most people simply know it for the famous miso soup. The paste, made from fermented soybeans with salt and fungus (and sometimes other ingredients like barley, rice, or millet) can be used in dressings, marinades, glazes, soups, noodles, and more.
Miso is considered a ‘living food’ in that the bacteria in the paste is still alive while it sits in your fridge. It is commonly believed that cooking miso ruins it. While this may be true, it is still a preference and many people in Japan and abroad make recipes with cooked miso.
There are also many different types of miso. From the shiro, or white miso (pictured above) to red, brown, or even mixed miso. They can be used interchangeably but each have different flavor profiles. The most popular is the white miso, which works in almost any recipe calling for miso paste.
The Best Miso Salad Dressing
While it may seem like there are a lot of ingredients, many of these are pantry staples and used in a variety of cuisines. While this recipe is Japanese based, all of these ingredients are used in East Asian cooking.
Miso Salad Dressing Ingredients
2 tbsp Miso Paste – I am using shiro, or white, miso but you can use any miso paste you like for this recipe.
2 tbsp Oil – something neutral like soybean or sunflower oil works best.
1 inch (about 2 cm) Ginger – grated
Juice of 1 Orange – for me this was about 5 tablespoons, but it is okay if you get less out of it.
1 tbsp Mirin – Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine often used in dressings and marinades.
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar – try to use a Japanese one for this recipe as the Chinese versions vary much more and can be far too pungent.
2 tsp Sugar – if needed to balance the rest of the ingredients.
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp MSG – this is really a key ingredient to get even more umami flavor. While miso paste naturally has msg in it, it doesn’t hurt to add just a bit more to kick this dressing up a notch.
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds – optional. I used a mix of black and white sesame seeds, but you can use whatever you want.
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl. Whisk to combine. See how easy that is? Now you can simply pour it all over a salad, or store it in a jar for future use. I like to use flip-top jars to store things, like you see in my homemade Chinese chili crisp recipe.
I love this miso salad dressing on a simple carrot and avocado salad. This is a great side salad to make when serving heavier Japanese main dishes like Japanese curry.
Miso Salad Dressing
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Whisk optional, can also use a fork
- 2 tbsp Miso Paste I am using shiro or white, miso but you can use any miso paste you like for this recipe.
- 2 tbsp Oil something neutral like soybean or sunflower oil works best.
- 1 inch Ginger about 2 cm, grated
- 1 Orange juice of, for me this was about 5 tablespoons but it is okay if you get less out of it.
- 1 tbsp Mirin Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine often used in dressings and marinades.
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar try to use a Japanese one for this recipe as the Chinese versions vary much more and can be far too pungent.
- 2 tsp Sugar if needed to balance the rest of the ingredients.
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp MSG this is really a key ingredient to get even more umami flavor. While miso paste naturally has msg in it it doesn't hurt to add just a bit more to kick this dressing up a notch.
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds optional
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk well to combine. Add a tablespoon of black and white sesame seeds if you want, totally optional.
Easy Miso Salad Dressing
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