In Japanese cooking, miso is a staple. Even though the OG soybean version is great on its own, instantly upping the flavor of anything it’s tossed into, its cool younger cousin is starting to steal the spotlight in the plant-based world.
While soybeans undoubtedly make for a tasty miso, you can also get the beloved paste from chickpeas. And the most popular option currently on store shelves—Miso Master Organic‘s Chickpea Miso—has a long list of qualities that Hilary Hinrichs, certified nutrition coach and founder of Holistic Hilary, says makes it more than worthy of being a refrigerator staple.
Not only is it less salty than traditional misos, but it also packs in more koji rice, which contains Aspergillus oryzae, a type of mold. But don’t freak out just yet. Despite sounding a little iffy, it’s what ferments the rice, therefore increasing its health benefits.
“Chickpea miso is a great source of zinc, vitamin K, copper, and manganese. Because of the fermentation, it also provides loads of beneficial bacteria for the digestive system,” Hinrichs says. “Having these added probiotics in your diet is an easy way to keep your microbiome in order.”
So, how exactly do you go about using it? Hinrichs loves mixing curry powder and tahini into her chickpea miso, then drizzles the creamy final product over her veggie dishes for added flavor. No matter how you decide to give it a try, one thing’s for sure: After that first bite, you’ll be totally hooked.