Aya’s Kitchen: Summer Salad with Miso Dressing (V)

One of my favourite salads to make, especially when having guests over or contributing something for a pot luck meal, is composed of summer vegetables and finished with a Miso based dressing (and it’s vegan!). I’ve made several variations but you can use any kind of vegetables you want; radishes, carrots, runner beans, green beans, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers…

My inspiration comes from a signature salad at Trattoria Fossetta in Kamakura, which uses local Kamakura vegetables with a Bagna Cauda-like dressing (with anchovies and garlic). I love that salad, and have made it a few times, but one day I had to cook for a vegan friend, and I experimented with Miso, which surprisingly mimics that anchovy taste. It has plenty of Umami, which makes the salad very satisfying, even for non-vegans. It is made by simply mixing Miso (better to use a good quality one! One of my favourite to use has been an organic brown rice Miso from Yamaki Jozo. You can use any kind of Miso you likethough) with some grated garlic and olive oil.

The dressing is very easy to make, but preparing the vegetables can be quite a chore as each type needs to be cooked separately (vegetables like radishes, carrots and cucumber can be served raw).

Once you assemble the vegetables on a plate, season very lightly with salt and black pepper, and then use a spoon and your fingers to drop some of the dressing over each piece of vegetable. If you make the dressing in advance, the olive oil will take on a bit of flavour from the Miso, and you can use this infused oil to dress the salad more evenly. The chunks of Miso are quite salty so be careful not to use too much!

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