Get your umami fix and upgrade your side dish game with these delicious and healthy miso green beans! Quick, easy, and packed with flavor, this plant-based side dish will have you coming back for seconds.
Miso green beans are the antidote for side dish boredom. This plant-based side dish is the perfect way to add some excitement to your meals. With its umami flavor and healthy ingredients, it's a win-win for your taste buds and your body.
And the best part? It's quick and easy to make, perfect for busy weeknight meals or last-minute dinner parties.
The star of the show here is, of course, the miso paste. This fermented soybean paste is a staple in Japanese cuisine and is known for its rich, savory flavor. Mixed with a few other simple ingredients like maple syrup and sesame oil, it creates a delicious sauce that coats the green beans in a savory-sweet glaze.
But let's not forget about the green beans themselves. These humble veggies are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins and fiber. And when stir-fried to perfection, they take on a whole new level of deliciousness.
What is miso?
Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans. It is a thick paste with a salty, savory flavor and is commonly used in Japanese cuisine to add depth and umami to dishes.
The fermentation process of miso can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, and different types of miso can be made with different grains such as rice, barley, or soybeans.
Miso is also a good source of protein and fiber and contains beneficial bacteria that can aid in digestion. It is often used in soups, marinades, dressings, and glazes to add flavor and nutrition to meals.
There are several different types of miso available, each with its own unique flavor profile and characteristics. I used white miso for this recipe, but yellow miso is a good substitute.
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Ingredients for green beans with miso
- GREEN BEANS: Look for bright green, unblemished green beans. I use the regular green beans for this recipe. If using thinner French green beans, be sure to adjust the cooking time to avoid overcooking them.
- OILS: Use avocado oil or another neutral oil for cooking the beans. A teaspoon of sesame oil is included in the glaze for flavor.
- MISO: Miso can be found in the refrigerated section or international aisle of well-stocked grocery stores and most Asian markets. I usually purchase the refrigerated versions, but some grocery stores carry shelf-stable miso (refrigerate after opening). Look for white miso, also known as shiro miso, for this recipe.
- GARLIC: Mince a few garlic cloves.
- MAPLE SYRUP: Use pure maple syrup.
- SOY SAUCE: Use regular soy sauce. See the Substitutions section for other options.
- SESAME SEEDS: Containers of toasted sesame seeds can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
Substitutions and Additions
GREEN BEANS: Try this recipe with other vegetables,, such as asparagus, broccoli, or snap peas. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
MAPLE SYRUP: Substitute with another sweetener, such as agave nectar or honey. Please note that honey is not considered to be vegan.
SOY SAUCE: For gluten-free, use tamari. Liquid aminos or coconut aminos can be used for a soy-free option.
SPICE: If you like a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
How to make miso green beans
PREPARE THE GREEN BEANS: Trim the green beans by cutting off the ends. Cut longer green beans in half. Cutting them on a diagonal makes a nicer presentation.
MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, soy sauce, maple syrup and sesame oil. Set aside.
THE SKILLET: Either or a wok or a large skillet work for this recipe. I like to use my favorite enameled cast iron braiser. If using a stainless steel skillet, you may need to use additional avocado oil to stop the green beans and glaze from sticking to the bottom.
COOK THE BEANS: Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, then add the oil. Spread out the green beans in the skillet. Cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds or so. The goal is for the green beans to be slightly blackened and just tender when pierced with a fork.
THE GARLIC: Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Take care not to burn the garlic.
THE GLAZE: Pour in the miso sauce and stir until the green beans are coated.
SERVE: Serve them up right away!
Oil-Free Cooking Method
Stir-frying the green beans produces the lovely blackened bits (hello, flavor!) on these green beans. However, if you prefer an oil-free recipe, try this method.
BLANCH AND TOSS: Blanch the green beans in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water. It will take the green beans just a few minutes to become fork tender, so watch them carefully. Once cooked, toss them with the sauce, omitting the sesame oil.
Make-ahead and Storage
Miso green beans are best served right after cooking. However, they still taste pretty darn good a couple of days later. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Simply reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.
What to serve with green beans
Miso green beans are a great side dish for any meat-based or plant-based meal.
PLANT BASED: Pair them with tofu, tempeh, or grilled portobello mushrooms. You can also serve them with a simple grain like quinoa or brown rice for a more filling meal. Try them with Vegetable Quinoa Stir-Fry.
MEAT BASED: Serve them as a side dish for Chicken Kimchi Stir Fry, Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken, Soy Honey Glazed Salmon or Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, miso paste is vegan. It's made from fermented soybeans and does not contain any animal products.
Some miso paste brands may contain gluten, so it's important to check the label. Look for brands that are labeled as gluten-free if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
Yes, you can use white red or yellow miso instead of white miso in this recipe. White miso is milder and sweeter than red miso, so adjust the amount of miso paste to taste.
No, it's not recommended to freeze miso green beans. The texture and flavor may change when frozen and thawed.
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Miso Green Beans
- 1 tablespoon white miso (See Note 1 for substitutions)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (See Note 2 for substitutions)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave nectar or honey (not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
The green beans
- 1 pound green beans
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or other neutral oil with high smoke point
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, soy sauce, maple syrup and sesame oil.
The green beans
- Trim the green beans by cutting off the ends. Cut longer green beans in half. Cutting them on a diagonal makes a nicer presentation.
- Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. For skillets, I prefer enameled cast iron because it handles high heat better than nonstick skillets. If using stainless steel, you may need additional oil.
- Once the skillet is very hot, add the avocado oil and heat briefly.
- Add the green beans and stir to coat the green beans with oil. Spread them out in the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds or so, until the green beans are slightly blackened and just tender when pierced with a fork.
- Stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Take care not to burn the garlic.
- Add the sauce and sesame seeds, and toss to coat the green beans. Remove the heat. Serve immediately.
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