Marvelous Miso

My “discovery” of miso came late in my vegetarian diet, probably when I became interested in macrobiotic foods, a topic of its own to be covered in the future. For me, miso is one of the best  items in  my meatless diet. I use it mostly to make soups or to add to entrees that need a boost. I also mix it with sesame paste (tahini) for a miso dressing.  But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you what miso is and then what it does to my dishes.

Information about miso comes from two sources. First, a flyer  on  the topic that I brought back with me from Seattle, where I taught cooking classes in the late 1990s at Puget Consumer Coops (PCC). All the information is now on their website:  Second, I also found info on

Miso is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley and salt. (For those who have hypertension and need to avoid salt, this may not be a food for you diet. Check with your doctor. es) According to the PCC flyer, there is also garbanzo miso for those who are soy sensitive. Not only does miso come from various food sources, it also comes in many flavors that range from mild to slightly sweet and salty as well as the more pungent flavors that are saltier with rich, wine like flavors. The lighter colors are generally more mellow and the darker ones more pungent. (I prefer mellow miso which is light in color, much like peanut butter color. es)

Miso is the essence of Japanese cooking, according to (Direct quote>) The Japanese begin their day with a fortifying bowl of miso soup and use miso to flavor a variety of foods in other meals throughout the day. Making miso is a household art in Asian countries, comparable to the American practice of canning foods. To make miso, soybeans and sometimes a grain such as rice, are combined with salt and a mold culture, and then aged in cedar vats for one to three years…. In Japan, different types of miso are prepared and evaluated much the way Westerners judge fine wines and cheeses…. You can use miso to flavor soups, sauces, dressings and marinades, and to make delicious patés.

Nutritional Value of Miso (Also from

Two tablespoons of miso provide:

Calories 71
Protein (gm) 4.00
Fat (gm) 2.00
Carbohydrate (gm) 9.00
Calcium (mg) 23.00
Iron (mg) 1.00
Zinc (mg) 1.25

Source as listed on the website: Composition of Foods: Legume and Legume Products. United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Agriculture Handbook, Number 8-16. Revised December 1986.

Note: The inside liner paper of my tub of miso (pictured above) has this statement: “Miso soup consumption linked with up to 50% reduced risk of breast cancer. (As reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol 95, Issue #12)

3 thoughts on “Marvelous Miso

  1. I agree with you about clacium & magnesium. I have my hair analyzed once each year to see if I am out of balance, nutrtionally. Try to get most of your calcium & magnesium from foods. love, es

  2. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

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