I can hear you as I type this.
“Kate,” you’re saying, “You promised that I would never need to buy a weird ingredient for any of your recipes. What is this miso business?”
Miso is fermented soybean paste. That sounds pretty weird, and I’m sure my mother has already closed her browser. But hear me out. You know how soy sauce adds that ridiculous savory umami flavor to anything you add it to? Miso does that, only about a million times better.
It’s also enjoying kind of a hipster moment; people are putting it in everything from roasted veggies to brownies. Miso is so hot right now. It’s the year of chickpeas, pomegranates, and miso, according to food bloggers worldwide.
So do yourself a favor. Find some miso. It’s probably either near the tofu or the refrigerated curry sauce in your grocery store — maybe by the pickled ginger and the refrigerated salad dressings. Get the white kind, since this is your first time. While you’re there, grab some scallions, peas, Brussels sprouts, and radishes, and then immediately run home and make this recipe.
It will make you feel like spring isn’t so far away, and it packs perfectly for tomorrow’s lunch, maybe with some of last night’s leftovers. It’s also a really impressive potluck dish, and one no one will feel guilty about scarfing down (except Paleo people, because of the soy).
I adapted this recipe from Deb Perelman’s Snap Pea Salad with Miso in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Instead of buying the cabbage she recommended, I used the Brussels sprouts I had already, and I’ve changed the honey to maple syrup here. Maple and miso are amazing together, and this simple swap makes it strict vegan, for those of you who care. You can also use snow peas if those look better to you.
This is an awesome recipe to test out your knife skills on, by the way. Pick the biggest, sharpest knife in your artillery and go to town.
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, untrimmed
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, halved, trimmed, and thinly sliced
- 3 radishes, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 large scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp white miso (I’ll give you another recipe to use the rest in later, I promise)
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp tahini (you still have some from the hummus, right?)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the peas for about 2 minutes, until just barely cooked but still crisp. Drain and rinse for 1 minute in very cold water. (This is a lazy man’s blanch, by the way, and Deb is much more by-the-book about her blanching).
- Trim pea ends and slice on the bias. Toss in a large bowl with sprouts, radishes, scallions, and 1 Tbsp of the sesame seeds.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or, in my case, my little food chopper, until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients, if desired. It should taste just a tiny bit too salty.
- Toss salad with half of the dressing; taste. Add more if you like, and save the rest for later. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds, and dig on in!