Tomato Corn Salad & Miso Dressing
Give your usual corn and tomato salad a twist with this delicious miso dressing / miso vinaigrette. Perfect to eat on the spot or pack it in a jar for lunch at school or work. If making ahead of time, leave the miso dressing in the jar and dress right before eating for tastiest results!
Miso is a traditional Japanese fermented food. It is typically made with cooked soybeans that are cultured with koji, which is Aspergillus oryze–– a type of mold. Miso can also be made with chickpeas, rice, barley and rye Once the grains are cooked the koji and salt are added and then the product ferments anywhere from 6 months to 3 years (sometimes longer!). 1
Miso is teeming with microorganisms making my Corn and Tomato Salad a probiotic meal! The probiotic benefits are only enjoyed when miso is consumed raw, high heat will kill the beneficial microorganisms. Probiotics, in general can improve the immune system, help prevent bowel diseases and can reduce diarrhea.2 Research is still pending on the specific benefits of the probiotics found in miso.
Miso flavor and taste varies greatly depending on the ingredients, temperature and fermentation time, and salt concentration. There are three main categories of miso––white, yellow, and red. 3
- White miso is typically made with a large percentage of rice and is what I used in my Tomato and Corn Salad. White miso has a mild, mellow, delicate taste thanks to the shorter fermentation time.
- Yellow miso is typically made from soybeans and barley and has a mild, earthy flavor.
- Red miso is mostly soybeans and is typically fermented the longest giving it a pungent, robust flavor that is ideal for soups and braises.
So, now that you bought a whole jar of miso to make my Corn and Tomato Salad what else can you use it for?! Miso is great to be used as a marinade for any protein–– chicken thighs, salmon, steak, etc. Miso soup is also a savory dish typically served with meals in Japan. I love having miso soup in the winter, simply add 1 tbsp of miso to 1 cup of hot water and mix.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are the non-digestible parts of plants that feed the healthy bacteria in our gut. The beneficial microbes consume the prebiotics via fermentation for their survival. By feeding the good bacteria we are able to increase their populations and promote a healthy gut. Once the prebiotics are fermented they produce a compound called short chain fatty acids that can lower the pH of our gut and help in metabolism, inflammation and disease prevention. 4
Probiotics are important to include in our diet such as miso, yogurt, sauerkraut and supplements. It is equally as important to include prebiotics, a food source for the probiotics. In my Corn and Tomato Salad the spinach and corn are good sources of prebiotics.
This vinaigrette is what sets my Corn and Tomato Salad apart from the rest! The key ingredients to a vinaigrette are fat and an acid. This alone can work, but the addition of a few ingredients (miso!) really bring a dish to life! I used olive oil for the fat and white wine vinegar for the acid. The mustard acts as an emulsifier keeping the oil and vinegar from separating. The miso adds that umami kick we raved about earlier, and the soy sauce gives a nice salty depth.
Some other possible additions are honey or maple syrup to add a touch of sweetness. A sweetener will decrease the miso-umami kick and will make a more easy introduction to this fermented condiment. Fresh squeezed lime juice also pairs well with miso and can be used in addition or in replace of the vinegar.
Adding fresh made toasted bread turns my Corn and Tomato Salad into a twist on Panzanella, a Tuscan salad that you must try! There will be a lot of yummy juice from the tomato, corn and vinaigrette and the bread will help soak it up. My favorite way to add toasted bread is to cut or rip a baguette (or whatever bread you prefer) into bite size chunks. Then, add some olive oil, garlic and dash of salt and pepper. Ina Garten’s recipe says to toast the bread in a pan, but you can also do it at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
Let’s Get Cooking!
What are you waiting for?! My Corn and Tomato Salad can be made and ready in 15 minutes, and a bit longer if you opt to add the toasted bread. It is full of probiotics and umami flavor thanks to the miso and provides a slew of textures and flavors with all the vegetables and herbs!
- Miso Primer | Cook’s Illustrated. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5718-miso-primer. Accessed March 3, 2020.
- Shi LH, Balakrishnan K, Thiagarajah K, Mohd Ismail NI, Yin OS. Beneficial Properties of Probiotics. Trop Life Sci Res. 2016;27(2):73-90. doi:10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6
- All About Miso – Article. FineCooking. August 2014. https://www.finecooking.com/article/all-about-miso. Accessed March 17, 2020.
- Davani-Davari D, Negahdaripour M, Karimzadeh I, et al. Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods. 2019;8(3). doi:10.3390/foods8030092
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups corn frozen and thawed or fresh cut off cob
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ¼ cup basil chiffonade
- Optional: ¼ cup grated parmesan
- Mix vinaigrette ingredients together in a jam jar and refrigerate until time to use.
- Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve with dressing on the side or dress salad and toss before serving.