Dressed Up Veggies

Miso gives an unexpected boost to an array of fresh veggies.

Blanched and sauteed vegetables tossed with melted butter.

Been there. Done that.

Wake things up by mixing an equal amount of blonde miso into the butter first.

Voila! What you get is a really velvety sauce that clings beautifully to the veggies. The flavor doesn’t scream miso soup. Rather it just lends a subtle umami or savoriness to it all.

The recipe for “Saute of Market Vegetables with Miso Butter” is a cinch to make. Even better, you can vary the vegetables you use, according to what’s in season.

The dish is from the new “The Paley’s Place Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press) by Vitaly Paley and Kimberly Paley, the husband-and-wife team behind one of Portland, Ore.’s most charming restaurants.
A  mix that also included baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans – get blanched first. The miso butter could not have been any easier to make; Just stir together equal parts softened butter and blond miso paste. Everything gets a final warming and mixing in a saute pan over medium heat.

If you’re expecting the dish to taste very Japanese-like with the bold, salty, savory flavor of miso soup, you’re going to be surprised. The flavor is much more subtle. The miso adds a heightened umami note to the whole dish, and creates a much lusher sauce with more body than mere butter alone would.

But the dish does not scream “Asian” from the get-go. In fact, even though it has miso in it, this vegetable medley could probably be served alongside almost any main dish you like, no matter what the cuisine. I’m already thinking this would be wonderful alongside Thanksgiving turkey.

Saute of Market Vegetables

(Serves 4 to 6)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup blond miso

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound green beans, stems trimmed

1 small head broccoli, separated into small florets

1 small head cauliflower, separated into small florets

1 bunch green onions, white parts only

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large green zucchini, ends trimmed

1 large yellow zucchini, ends trimmed

24 baby carrots, peeled, trimmed, and glazed

1/4 cup Persillade (See below)

To make the miso butter, place the butter and miso into a small bowl and mix with a fork until well blended. Cover, and set aside at room temperature.

Have a large bowl of ice water ready. To cook the vegetables, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season it with salt until you taste it. Add the green beans all at once and cook until tender yet still brightly colored, about 5 minutes. Remove the beans from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately refresh in the ice-water bath to stop the cooking and help the beans retain their bright color. Drain and dry with paper towels, then set aside.

Repeat the process with the broccoli, cauliflower, and green onions. Taste for doneness and be mindful of the cooking time, as it will vary from vegetable to vegetable.

Quarter the green and yellow zucchini lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large skillet over high heat, add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the green and yellow zucchini pieces, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until they turn golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Discard the oil and wipe the pan clean.

In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all the vegetables, including the carrots, to the skillet to warm them through, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the miso butter until it melts, and then the persillade. Transfer the vegetables to a large serving platter and serve immediately.


(Makes about 1/3 cup)

1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only

3 large cloves garlic

Finely chop the parsley on a cutting board, then gather it to one side of the board. Finely chop the garlic. Mix them together and chop some more until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a small container, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to use.

From “The Paley’s Place Cookbook” by Vitaly Paley

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  • Hi Carolyn!

    Beautiful recipe and review. No doubt that this place left on you very nice memories 🙂
    A delicious veggie dish…actually a flavorful and colorful one!


  • That’s a great idea! Try tahini sauce with lemon juice and garlic…



  • Great idea, I love miso. Mark Bittman has a great recipe for green beans in a walnut miso sauce.

  • Wonderful idea! I will definitely give it a try.

  • What a great and simple idea. Sounds delicious!

  • Miso and butter, what a great combo!

  • Is “blond” miso newspeak for shiro (white) miso?

    I find it curious that the book’s author makes the statement: “This dish is inspired by Japanese cooking, where miso seems to make food taste salty without any salt.” Salt is a major ingredient in the making of miso and figures prominently in the ingredient list. I just checked a few packages of different types of miso in my frig and they each had almost a gram of sodium per serving—about 1/2 teaspoon.

    Furthermore, in my experience, vegetables blanched in sufficiently salty water—about 2 tablespoons per liter—do not require further salt.

    In reality, all the Paley’s are doing is creating a compound butter, which traditionally has be may from many different ingredients, some of them quite strong in flavor. More info on compound butters can be found here: http://xrl.us/beheea

  • Very good idea. Just saw miso pop up in a chicken pot pie last week too. The sneaky miso is getting into everything.

  • Peter, you are correct. This is essentially a compound butter made with blond or white miso.

    Sara, thanks for reminding me about the Mark Bittman recipe. I clipped it out long ago, but have yet to try making it. I’m glad you reccommend it, too.

    And Rosa, that is a wondeful tip about using tahini, lemon juice and garlic on veggies. I bet that would make an awesome salad dressing, too.

  • For the sake of convenience (because it’s all I have right now) can I use red miso for the time being? These vegetables look colorful, vibrant and very happy to be so dressed!

  • Tangled Noodle: I would think red miso would be fine. It will probably impart more color, and a deeper miso flavor than the milder white variety. Maybe start with a slightly higher butter to miso ratio at the start, just to be sure the end result is not too salty or overpowering. You’ll have to let us all know how it turns out. ;

  • Dear Carolyn!
    Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
    Thank you so much for inviting me on Foodbuzz!
    I see we are already shring a few friends!LOL
    As a Frenchman living in Japan, I do eat a lot of blanched/boiled vegetables.
    Try serving them with an aioli sauce next time!

  • I know this is awesome, I also had an awesome experiene with pasta too! such an orgasm!

  • Ooh, neat idea! I think miso might be on a grocery list soon, I could use a new way to cook veggies (and some lighter soups, for that matter).

  • Sounds great and the proportions (1 to 1) are so easy to remember.

  • Yummo! I’ve really never cooked with miso, but love miso soup. Sounds like an ingredient worth further exploration, and this will be a great way to start!

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