Tofu Edamame Miso. Let’s talk nutrition.
Don’t worry, I won’t get toooo super nerdy on you… but I will bring you this recipe for a Tofu Edamame Miso Grain salad that is chalk full of amazing nutrients and, undoubtably, absolutely delicious.
First up… miso. I’m a big miso fan. Ever since I experienced my first sushi and miso soup combination, I’ve been in love with its savory/sweet/sour taste. I was scared of it for a good long while, thinking it must be tricky to work and cook with… but no! It is simply a paste that can easily be used in dressings, sauces, stews, soups… you name it. You’ve already seen it pop up here a few times. Like here in my smokey-miso tofu marinade, or here as a dip for my addictive onion rings
Miso is a paste made from soybeans that has been fermented for 3 months to 3 years! Fermentation = plethora of enzymes = enzyme rich food. The binding agent in miso – zybicolin – actually works to detoxify and eliminate elements in the body that have been taken in through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in soil or food systems. It is a staple in Japanese and Chinese diets. To this day, it is ingested as a warm soup first thing in the morning in order to stimulate digestion and energize the body.
A few more benefits of miso:
These days, miso can be found in most grocery stores (usually with other asian ingredients). It can come in a variety of colors. The darker the color, the deeper the flavor (however I have never noticed too much of a difference). Another great thing is that you never need much in one recipe. A little goes a long way!
I love making dressings with miso. It adds a perfect salty tang that combines especially well with root vegetables or dark leafy greens. Here I have made a very easy dressing combining the saltiness of miso with the sweetness of orange.
Now onto grains.
I love using pot barley in this recipe, but any hearty whole grain will do. Just make sure it is a whole grain – meaning the bran layer is still mostly intact – in order to get that extra fibre as well as that extra chewy, hearty texture. Brown rice, steel cut oats, wheat berries or farro are also nice alternatives. Although pearl barley still contains a good amount of fibre (as fibre is found throughout the entire kernel) it is far more refined and has had most of the bran removed in the lengthened pearling process. This is why it takes less time to cook and will not retain the same chewy texture when covered in dressing. Like this delicious orangey miso dressing.
Ideally, soak your grain of choice for 6 hours to overnight before cooking. Do this by covering your grain in a mixture of warm water and 1 tsp of acid (lemon juice or vinegar). Soaking your grain is what sets the phytase enzyme free to break apart the phytic acid so your body can absorb all those wonderful nutrients. Grains are seeds, after all, and were made to withstand different systems until they find the right place and time to sprout. To protect themselves, grains have built in anti nutrients that hinder the enzymes in our digestive system. In order to break down these anti nutrients (phytic acid) we need to mimic the sprouting process. This means moisture + acidic environment + warmth + time.
Nutrition aside, soaking grains can also lessen the cooking time. And we all like that.
So as you can see, this Tofu Edamame Miso Grain salad is a nutrition power house – and we’ve only discussed two of the ingredients! Add the tofu and edamame for a solid serving of protein, your sweet potato for your starch and beta carotene and I’d say you’ve got a perfect meal in a bowl.
Crunchy, chewy, salty and sweet, this salad has it all.