Miso is traditional Japanese seasoning made from soybeans and a grain (e.g. rice, barley, wheat, rye), fermented with salt and koji (a fungus). Before the fungus part grosses you out, this is the part that gives it health benefits, providing gut-friendly beneficial bacteria! Miso has a salty, umami flavour and is incredibly delicious as a soup and to flavour dishes.
Health benefits of miso:
- Miso is rich in protein, including all essential amino acids. It is a good source of essential minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, choline and lecithin, and vitamins E, K, B vitamins, and folic acid.
- Miso contains polyunsaturated fats which help lower LDL cholesterol.
- Miso is rich in antioxidants, which scavange free radicals and help protect against cancer.
- Fermented foods are probiotics, adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your gut microbiome (intestinal flora). This improves your microbiome and digestive health, enhances the immune system, boosts your mood, and prevents a number of health concerns and diseases.
- The beneficial bacteria in your gut synthesis vitamin K (needed for building bones and blood clotting) and B12 (vital functioning of the brain, nervous sytem and production of red blood cells).
Things to consider:
- There is much debated research on the benefits or potential downsides of including soy products in the diet. Soy is a phytoestrogen, meaning it has a similar effect as estrogen in the body, however phytoestrogens have a much weaker effect than estrogen produced by your own body. Although miso is made from soy beans, the quantity consumed is quite small and unlikely to have a profound estrogenic effect.
- Soy products are widely produced from genetically modified (GM) soybeans. You can purchase organic soy products from non-GMO soy (just check the label) to ensure a lower risk of unwanted pesticides.
- If you are gluten intolerant, be sure to buy a gluten free miso paste (check the ingredients – if it has been made with non-gluten free grains like barley or wheat it is not gluten free).
This grilled miso eggplant is an absolute favourite of mine, and I know you will love it too! This recipe pairs perfectly with salmon (try flavouring with chilli and lime, or tamari), brown or basmati rice and steamed bok choy.
Miso Grilled Eggplant (gf/df/v)
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tablespoons GF Miso paste
- juice from 1/2 lime or lemon,
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon Mirin (note: this is optional and NOT gluten free. It’s an Asian sweet dressing so will give it a slightly sweeter taste to balance the saltiness of the miso)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Heat a grill pan on high. Wash and slice eggplant into 2cm rounds
- Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl and set aside
- Grill eggplant for 1-2 mins each side until you have golden grill marks on the eggplant
- Coat both sides of the grilled eggplant in the miso marinade and set aside for the flavours to infuse, whilst you prepare the rest of your meal
- Turn the pan to low-medium, and grease with a small (about 1/2 – 1 tsp) of coconut oil. This stops the marinaded eggplant from sticking
- Grill the eggplant for about 2-3mins a side to caramelize the marinade and cook the eggplant through.
- Serve hot and enjoy