Use Miso To Elevate Your Next Batch Of Potato Salad

A classic potato salad made with creamy mayo and fresh herbs is a dish that sings. But every tune can benefit from a little remix on occasion, which is why you should use miso to elevate your next batch of potato salad.

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that has a deep savory flavor. It lends dishes a rounder, meatier taste with its salty, rich, and yeasty notes. Often added sparingly to soups and broths — much like a stock cube — miso paste instantly adds body to stews because it's high in glutamate, the amino acid found in other fermented foods, like sauerkraut and fish sauce, that gives them a deeply palatable umami characteristic.

Combining miso paste in your favorite potato salad recipe is a simple way to boost its savoriness without adding extra protein. Secondly, because miso paste has such a concentrated flavor, you don't need to add much to your taters to lend them a sating lift. This is useful because the small amount won't affect the consistency of your dressing whereas other flavorful additions, like vinegar, can loosen the texture of the original recipe. Moreover, you can use white, red, or yellow miso in your potato salad, but be mindful of their characteristics. Red miso is the strongest because it's made with a larger volume of soybeans that are fermented for longer; white miso is the mildest and yellow miso is a blend of the two. 

Adding the miso to your potato salad dressing

The best way to add miso to potato salad is to incorporate it into your mayo dressing. And a good rule of thumb to follow if you're confused about which variety would suit your palate, is that the paler the miso, the lighter the flavor. Simply add a small amount to the sauce, mix it well until it's fully blended, and give it a taste. Adjust the flavors as needed with more miso or more mayo to create a balanced mixture that will complement the neutral flavor profile of the spuds. Then you can add in seasonings, fresh herbs, or extra additions like sliced shallots to create an interesting texture. 

The fattiness of the mayo, the savory meatiness of the miso paste, and the refreshing lift of an acidic ingredient, like lemon, will combine to make the perfect dressing for the tender potatoes. The spuds will soak up the miso dressing as they sit, absorbing all that satisfying umami flavor.  Of course, not every potato salad is made with the traditional mayo. Feel free to add miso to a punchy vinaigrette-style potato salad dressing or a creamy vegan sauce made with cashews or silken tofu. Just be mindful to use less salt in your dressing to accommodate for the inherent saltiness of the miso paste.