Miso Is The Umami Touch Your Veggie Burgers Need

three veggie burgers
three veggie burgers - Alvarez/Getty Images

There's no need to miss out on deep, dark umami flavors in a burger just because you've opted out (at least temporarily) of eating animal meat. If you've spent any time perusing veggie burger recipes, you've seen all manner of combinations featuring mushrooms, black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. We're not here to recommend any one veggie burger construction strategy; we're just here to tell you that, if you're not already putting miso paste into the ones you make, it's time to start.

The addition of miso is going to bring a lot to your burger. Because it's fermented, the umami is real. There's also a light, glazed sweetness -- depending on the type you use -- that definitely plays well with others. Lastly, some lovely thick miso paste will take on the role of binding agent, eliminating the need for those veggie burger-necessary-evils beaten egg and breadcrumbs to keep the patty together. But what is miso, and which type should you put in a veggie burger?

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Of Miso Paste And Meatless Burgers

shiro miso
shiro miso - Evgeniy Lee/Shutterstock

We think miso is magic, but it's also a fermented soybean paste that dates back to the 7th century. All types of miso only contain three ingredients: soybeans, salt, and a kind of grain fungus the Japanese call koji. Once mixed together, the miso is allowed to ferment for up to several years. The length of fermentation is largely responsible for producing miso's two best-known forms: the light yellow-colored white (or shiro) miso; and the dark, reddish brown red (or aka) miso. The former is milder, sweeter, and not allowed to ferment for more than a year. The latter is made with a higher proportion of soybeans and can be aged for up to a decade. So, which one should go in your veggie burger?

The answer depends on what you're looking for. In a multi-ingredient burger recipe, say, one that includes things like sweet potato, red onion, quinoa, and squash, try substituting white miso for eggs, flour, and/or breadcrumbs. Conversely, you can use red miso as a glaze on a compressed stack of meaty Maitake, or hen of the woods, mushrooms. You won't need anything more for that burger beyond a slice of nutty Swiss cheese and toasted buns.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.