Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root vegetables

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From the archives. This is a terrific vegan condiment of sorts, that can be used as described here on top of vegetables and roasted, or even as an onigiri filling. Originally published in January 2008.

I’m always looking out for interesting vegan sources of protein, and I think this one is really a winner. It’s a rich paste that contains miso, walnuts, and tahini - three terrific protein-rich foods. But never mind the nutrition aspect - it tastes terrific! Even the confirmed omnivore in our house loves it. It is a wonderful topping for firm, sweet root vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, turnips and so on. I’ve used it as a topping for carrots here. It looks rather meaty in a bento box, and is quite filling too.

I found the original in a cookbook from an author I am currently in love with, Yumiko Kano, called Saisai Gohan (Vegetable Meals), a book that I’ve mentioned before.

I did alter the recipe a little bit: I found the original version a bit too salty, so I reduced the amount of miso proportionately. I used tahini instead of toasted sesame, to give it a slightly more pasty texture to compensate for the reduced miso.

Choose a fairly low-salt miso for this if you can. I used a genmai miso (brown rice miso) which has a little texture and extra flavors. Gluten sensitive people can make this gluten-free by choosing the appropriate miso.

It keeps for about a week or so in the refrigerator, or longer well wrapped in the freezer. It’s a great bento staple to have around.

Miso, tahini and walnut paste

  • 4 Tbs. miso
  • 4 Tbs. tahini or other sesame seed paste (in Japan use nerigoma, 練りごま)
  • 4 to 5 Tbs. of finely chopped walnuts (I find it’s about 4 whole kernels per tablespoon. You could also use pecans or almonds.)
  • 2 Tbs. of the white part of a leek, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. of finely chopped fresh ginger

You can do the chopping part the easiest in a food processor, especially if you have a small bowl or ‘baby food’ attachment. Otherwise, do the chopping by hand.

Combine all the ingredients well. Store well covered in the refrigerator for up to a week, or divide into small portions (about a tablespoon) and freeze.

Baked carrot slices with miso, tahini and walnut paste

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of the miso-nut paste
  • About 10-12 1 cm / 1/2 inch thick carrot slices from the wide part of the carrot (you can save the tapered end parts for another dish)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 430 °F.

Put the carrot slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Spread the miso paste over the carrots. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or so until the tops are browned.

This can be made in advance, and keeps pretty well in the refrigerator for a few days. You can make it in quantity if you like and freeze it too. The best way to defrost them is to nuke them for a few minutes then pop them in a toaster oven for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can use precooked or frozen vegetables, put the paste on top, and broil in the toaster oven - though baking the vegetables really brings out their sweetness the best.

You can use winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, and other root vegetables instead of the carrots. Potatoes might be ok too but I prefer to use a vegetable with a little sweetness.

For a spicy variation you can use kochujang or spicy Korean bean paste, which is described in detail here.

Use as an onigiri filling

To use as an onigiri filling, toast 1/2 tablespoon of the paste in a dry nonstick frying pan for a few minutes until it starts to smell really nice. Cool and use to fill your onigiri.

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Miso and tahini paste with

Miso and tahini paste with nuts sounds really tasty!

Great recipe

I made this tonight and it was easy and delicious. The miso paste I used was a bit too salty, but next time, I think I’ll just use a little more nuts to mellow out the salt flavor.

Cookbook

No chance that there’s an English translation of Kano’s book, I suppose?

Unfortunately not

No there isn’t…and actually they might not translate as-is totally successfully. Many of the recipes do rely a lot on ingredients that might not be that easily available outside of Japan (I try to pick out the ones that are a bit easier to assemble).

Could I get anything out of

Could I get anything out of looking at the pictures? I’ve been working with japanese food (on and off) for over 10 years. I also have access to a japanese professor, in a pinch.

Probably

It’s a beautifully photographed book (well most Japanese cookbooks are), but she does use unusual ingredients, so that you can’t really guess what she’s using just from the photos sometimes. So you would need someone to translate the recipes for you to get the best use out of it. Also if you have good access to Japanese ingredients, it should be practical too.

Love your carrots!

I will confess - I had my doubts when I read the ingredients. But I should have trusted - this recipe is unbelievably fantastic. I can’t wait to try the paste on other vegetables. This will be a staple in my repertoire - I am going to blog about it at my blog and link over to you. Thank you so much! If you can recommend a meal to build around these, I would recommend it. Also, if you can recommend any Japanese cookbooks, I would appreciate it.

I loved It!!!!

Hi Maki,

I have been wanting to try this recipe ever since it was posted, but somehow kept on forgetting to try making it or did not have all the ingredients for making it. Finally made them last night after dinner in preparation for today’s lunch and dinner. It was just SUPER YUMMY.

Since I did not have walnuts, I substituted them with almonds like you suggested. My food processor wasn’t working properly so I ended up using the immersion blender for this. Instead of chopped, it turned this into a real fine paste, which made it difficult to spread on top of the roasting carrots. Never mind that, I just put a big gloop of the paste and mixed with carrots, so not all the carrots had the paste on top. It smelled great while baking in the toaster oven.

Did not warm them up but served them about room temperature for lunch and dinner tonight. They were amazingly good. Sweet carrots and a nutty and salty topping/or bottom. Just YUM!

Thanks!

This is one of my all time

This is one of my all time favorite recipes too :)

YUM!

It’s all I can do not to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon.

Can you think of other things I can put it on? I just roasted some veggies, but what else?…hmmm….Should I try dipping celery sticks in it? I might eat way too much. What else can I spread it on? Should I add it to an egg or something? I don’t really eat bread or crackers so that’s out.

Any ideas? I await your reply with bated (oh, no, wait, that’s miso) breath.

I haven’t tried these, but

I haven’t tried these, but some ideas that come to mind:

  • Mix into hot pasta
  • Use as a topping on rice (maybe after roasting until crispy)
  • Dry-roast and mix with nuts or cereal like a Chex mix? (not sure if it would fit there)
  • Sprinkle the dry-roasted stuff onto a salad

As a dip I think I would prefer something with the consistency of roasted carrot spread - you could add some miso there.

Have fun! :)

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

I haven't tried it yet (Internet was down), but... wow. I looked at the picture, at the ingredients (a little questionable for my taste), and at the picture again. It's now my screensaver so I can remember to make this scrumptious-looking recipe! Can't wait!

Lunch Time Here

WOW so yummy!! lunch time here!!

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste

Wow, thanks for such a great recipe. You are right, it really is difficult to find vegan recipes that contain protein but this one looks to be a real winner. Great tasting and good for you. online casino

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

This recipe seems really nice! I tried making the topping tonight, but I don't know if I did it right, or got the right kind of miso...What kind of consistancy should it have? I thought mine was a little too thick, and didn't spread well, so I added a little bit of water...

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

It is actually quite thick, sort of like chunky peanut butter. You sort of plop it on in spoonfuls, if that makes sense. But a little thinner consistency shoudl work also.

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

Even if it was thinner, I couldn't have managed to successfully spread it over those carrots. I just sprinkled it on with my fingers and it turned out great.

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

Every time I make this, I am amazed again at how tasty it is! <3 I mainly use this recipe for my onigiri, because I'm don't really like the usual things you put in onigiri. This is wonderful! I don't salt the outside of the onigiri, though, when I use this.

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

I have seen your awareness about this theme when you post it and it really gives an informational message to us readers. I am hoping that you will continue writing this kind of blog. Thanks for sharing this information.

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

This looks GREAT!

Re: Miso, tahini and nut paste for broiled or baked root ...

I've already seen your attention to this theme when you post it and it really gives an informational message to us readers. Really hoping that you will continue writing this kind of blog. Thankyou for sharing this information.

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