This Japanese inspired Asian miso dressing is a savory umami-rich aromatic flavor that is absolutely addictive. This dressing is perfect on greens, noodles, or as a dip!
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Savory Miso Dressing
I first discovered miso when I was browsing the Asian section at the grocery store. It was a totally new ingredient for me but has become one of my absolute favorite things to add to all my marinades, soups, and dressings. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning and condiment that is made from fermented soybeans, salt, and a type of fungus called Koji which aids in the fermentation.
There are many different types of miso you can use for this recipe. White miso is the mildest and sweetest of the Misos since it isn’t fermented as long. Red miso is fermented for the longest time and therefore has a richer deeper flavor and a darker color. Yellow miso is between white and red.
This dressing can be made with any type of miso but I prefer white or yellow for it. This dressing has a salty, nutty, earthy, unique aromatic flavor. It has a thick consistency similar to a ranch or Ceasar dressing which makes it ideal for noodles, salad, or as a dip.
How to make Miso Dressing
First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:
- Yellow or white miso (2 tbsp) – miso is a fermented soybean condiment. It can be found in most grocery stores in the Asian foods section.
- Rice vinegar (2 tbsp) – rice vinegar is going to give us a tangy hit, you can substitute apple cider vinegar if you don’t have rice vinegar.
- Lime juice (2 tbsp) – citrus will give the dressing a beautiful sharp flavor. You can substitute lemon juice if you prefer.
- Fresh grated ginger (1 tsp) – ginger has a strongly aromatic flavor and will add a defining subtle heat to this dressing. You can use a tube of ginger puree if you dont have time to grate fresh ginger.
- Garlic cloves (4) – garlic has a strong aromatic flavor and adds an earthy taste to this dressing.
- Sesame oil (4 tbsp) – sesame oil has a very strong seed flavor and is very pungent but it gives this dressing that salty Asian flavor.
- Olive oil (4 tbsp) – I use half olive oil and half sesame oil since the olive oil has a slightly bitter and much milder flavor.
- Honey (2 tsp) – a little bit of honey will tone down the strong spicy and aromatic flavors and help balance everything out.
- Cayenne pepper (? tsp) – a pinch of cayenne adds some heat to balance out the fermented miso and sweetness of the honey. You can omit this if you want the dressing to have no heat.
Once you have the ingredients, we use this method
Blend. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Add it. Use this dressing on salad, noodles, vegetables, or as a dip. It can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or jar for up to 2 weeks.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Miso Dressing
Use High-Quality Miso Paste: Start with a good-quality miso paste. White miso (shiro miso) is milder, while red miso (aka miso) is stronger and more savory. Choose the type that suits your taste preferences and the dish you’re preparing.
Balance Sweetness and Saltiness: Miso paste is naturally salty, so it’s essential to balance it with sweetness. Common sweeteners include honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown sugar. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.
Acidity Matters: Adding acidity, typically from rice vinegar or lime/lemon juice, brightens up the dressing and complements the umami of the miso. Adjust the acidity to your liking.
Experiment with Umami Boosters: To enhance the depth of flavor, consider adding umami-rich ingredients like soy sauce, tamari, or fish sauce. Use them sparingly and adjust to taste.
Use Fresh Garlic and Ginger: Freshly minced garlic and grated ginger offer a vibrant and aromatic flavor to the dressing. If you don’t have fresh, you can use garlic and ginger paste.
Emulsify the Dressing: To prevent separation, whisk or blend the ingredients thoroughly until well combined. An immersion blender or a small food processor can help create a creamy and emulsified texture.
Adjust Consistency: If the dressing is too thick, you can thin it out with a bit of water or more vinegar. Conversely, if it’s too thin, add more miso paste or a nut butter like tahini to thicken it up.
Taste and Adjust: Continually taste the dressing as you go along and make adjustments as needed. Balance the flavors of sweet, salty, sour, and umami to your liking.
Add Depth with Sesame Oil: A small amount of toasted sesame oil can add a rich, nutty flavor to the dressing. Start with a few drops and adjust gradually, as it can be quite potent.
Let It Rest: Allowing the dressing to sit for 10-15 minutes before using it can help meld the flavors. It often tastes even better after it has had some time to rest.
Use as a Marinade or Sauce: Miso dressing works well as a marinade for proteins like tofu, chicken, or fish. It can also be drizzled over salads, noodles, or roasted vegetables.
Storage: Store any leftover miso dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a week or so.
Miso dressing has a really complex flavor. It is savory, salty, and rich in umami because of the fermented miso. If you use white miso it will have a sweeter flavor and if you use red it will have a robust umami. Yellow miso will give you a flavor in between.
There are a lot of ways you can use this delicious dressing. You can use this as a topping for green salad, it also goes great drizzled on roasted vegetables, as a marinate for tofu or meats, on sushi, or as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies or dumplings.
This is a very healthy dressing. It is a good source of protein, probiotics, and various vitamins plus the benefits of the garlic and ginger.
This dressing can be refrigerated for several weeks to a few months. Be sure to store it in an airtight container and give it a good shake or stir before use since it may separate.
I would describe this dressing as having an American’s taste level “medium” heat. You can omit the cayenne to bring it down to low heat.
More Delicious Asian Inspired Recipes
Try these favorite Asian recipes next:
Asian Miso Dressing Recipe
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Delicious tangy, slightly spicy miso dressing is good on everything!
- 2 tbsp yellow or white miso
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- ⅛ tsp Cayenne pepper
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Use it on green salad, noodles, on vegetables, or as a dip.
- Keep in the fridge up to 2 weeks in a jar or airtight container.
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TILUCK Magnetic Measuring Spoons Set, Stainless Steel Dual Sided Spoons Set of 8, Stackable Teaspoon Tablespoon
Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, 10.25 long, Yellow
Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender, Professional-Grade, 48 oz. Container, Brushed Stainless Finish
Shirakiku Miso Shiro (white) Soy Bean Paste, 35.27-Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)
Amount Per Serving Calories 138Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 0mgSodium 159mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 1g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.