Miso Paste Is The Game-Changing Ingredient Your Pesto Deserves

A jar of pesto
A jar of pesto - smirart/Shutterstock

A nice pesto sauce glows with gorgeous green hues and boasts some of the most complex flavors of almost any dish in the kitchen. Traditionally made from fresh ingredients including basil, garlic, olive oil, a hard cheese like Parmesan, and pine nuts, pesto contains essential nutrients such as healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants. Pesto can also be used as so much more than pasta sauce. It also makes a great pizza sauce, egg topper, and sandwich spread. You can even bake a pesto-infused bread.

With so many qualities, it's no wonder pesto is popular with chefs and home cooks of all kinds. You might think that a product this good can't get any better, but almost any spread or sauce can benefit from the addition of flavor-enhancing ingredients. One such flavor booster that meshes especially well with the complexity of pesto is miso paste.

There's more potential in miso paste than just an opportunity to make miso soup. Much like pesto, it's unexpectedly versatile, and its powerful umami flavor meshes wonderfully with the strong notes of garlic and herbs present in a pesto sauce. So, if you want to amp up the already delicious flavor of pesto, try reaching for a jar of miso paste.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

What Miso Paste Brings To The Bowl

A bowl of miso paste
A bowl of miso paste - Evgeniy Lee/Shutterstock

Miso paste is an exceptionally rich fermented paste common in Japanese cooking that is made primarily from soybeans. With its signature salty and savory taste, a few teaspoons of miso dropped into a pesto will enhance its flavors by imparting both depth and balance. It is also easy to include in basic pesto recipes, compared to adding several different ingredients to achieve the same result that miso brings. For lovers of simple recipes, this is a one-spoon hack to help keep your cooking experience easy.

Because this paste can pack a powerful, salty punch even in small doses, it's a good idea to start by adding a small amount and taste the pesto as you go. A recommended ratio is to add 1 teaspoon of miso to every ½ cup of pesto. Proceeding slowly is especially recommended if you're using this tip to elevate a premade pesto, as most usually have a very high salt content. Of course, being able to control the ingredients is another great reason for making fresh pesto.

Other Ways To Elevate With Miso

A bowl of ramen
A bowl of ramen - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Pesto isn't the only thing that can benefit from a dollop of miso. The versatile paste's savory umami and smooth texture are a good fit for plenty of other dishes, too, making it an easy way to load a dish with flavor without relying on a bunch of various spices and herbs.

This savory paste is perhaps known for its use in broths, stocks, and soups where it is often as simple as combining the miso paste with vegetable broth or dashi to put you well on your way to creating an extremely flavorful dish. If you're pairing your soup with a salad, miso paste can punch up the flavors in salad dressings, introducing something unexpected to familiar flavors. Marinades, sauces, and stir-fries are also natural partners for miso because of how well miso caramelizes in a pan. The rich, balancing umami effect of miso paste can work wonders on many pre-made sauces or spreads, as well.

There are many types of miso paste available, but a basic rule is the lighter the miso, the sweeter and milder the flavor. Once you find your favorite, don't be afraid to add that extra punch of flavor to your pesto.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.