How to Use Miso

A quick and healthy Miso Alphabet Soup recipe
Miso is an ancient Japanese health food --- I'll show you how to use it, and why you need it in your life!

How to Use Miso ~ miso is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans. It’s a living, cultured, food, full of beneficial bacteria and countless health benefits — and it’s been used in Japan for literally thousands of years. I’ll show you how to use miso, and more importantly, why you should use it!

A quick and healthy Miso Alphabet Soup recipe

I love using miso, especially during the cold winter months. But because it’s a living food, you don’t actually cook it, otherwise you might lose some of those amazing health benefits, so that means it’s always fast and fresh. It has a unique umami flavor —  savory umami is called the ‘fifth taste’, coming after salt, sweet, sour and bitter. It’s associated with meaty, savory flavors, and things that are fermented and aged — a couple of foods that have a natural umami flavor are Parmesan cheese and Shitake mushrooms. Miso adds that unusual dimension to lots of different dishes, but soup is one of the most popular.

Mellow white miso paste for Miso Alphabet Soup

You’ll find miso paste in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, usually with other Asian ingredients like tofu and wonton wrappers. It comes in a range of colors from pale yellow (above) to deep reds and brown. It can be a little confusing because sometimes it’s made with rice, barley, or other grains. and they can be labeled with various names. And of course sometimes you’ll find imported products with Japanese packaging. A simple way to navigate buying miso is to go by the color. The paler colors (‘white’ or ‘Shiro’) are lighter and more subtly flavored, so if you are new to miso, start there. All miso will give you great health benefits, so you can experiment with any one you like. Once opened, a package of miso will last at least a year in the refrigerator.

Healthy and quick Miso Alphabet Soup


Miso is not only delicious, it has huge health benefits. It’s a complete protein, boosts the immune system, lowers cancer risk and blood pressure, and aids digestion, just to name a few. I made this Alphabet Miso Soup with Shiro, or white, miso paste. It’s a perfect choice for newbies because of its sweet mellow flavor, and I love it in this energizing, ‘feel better’ soup.

The Japanese use miso as commonly as we use salt or ketchup, but honestly I think the way you’ll get the most use out of it is in simple soups and salad dressings. Here are some of the ways I’ve used it ~

simple and nourishing miso soup


This is the classic, the one you get as a starter in every Japanese restaurant. You can go minimalist, like I did, or load it up with more veggies and tofu. Either way it’s soothing and nourishing.


Miso is a natural addition to dressings, since it will be used raw it maintains all its healthy qualities. Whisk it into marinades and glazes, too.

miso ramen with shitake mushrooms and chicken


This is a high protein meal with so much going on, it’s a feast of flavors, textures, and colors. I use red miso paste in this dish for added depth.

Miso Wonton Soup 1


 Miso is the original instant soup – this Miso Wonton Soup can be thrown together in minutes, using frozen wontons.

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    January 6, 2016 at 2:39 am

    Great post! I have an open miso bag in the fridge, good to know it keeps so long, I was already thinking about throwing it away. I haven’t made much with it, you gave me some good ideas!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    January 5, 2016 at 6:28 am

    mmm…how delicious! I miss wontons :-))

  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 4:21 am

    All set, I have all of these bookmarked.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Love miso soup! Must have mushrooms-)))
    Have a very creative new year, wishing you the best!!


  • Reply
    January 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Best use of alphabet food ever! HNY16GREG

    • Reply
      January 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Are there other alphabet foods??

  • Reply
    Meghan | Fox and Briar
    January 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Yum, these miso soups look so nourishing. My mom used to make miso when I was a little kid but I haven’t had it in years! Might be time to try it again 🙂

  • Reply
    January 4, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Loving all these miso ideas! Happy New Year !

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