A new spin on Fiesta Salad and the magic of miso in dressings

Impromptu Fiesta Salad.
Impromptu Fiesta Salad.

It is now officially hot in the Northwest. Temps are hitting the 90s and today will have the added bonus of humidity. This salad used to be our go-to hot weather dish even before we went plant-based, and I’ve modified it beyond the old salad-with-a-bottle-of-Catalina-dressing version. Now it uses miso, and you would never know the difference! If you already have a salad made and a can of beans on hand, this comes together in a flash.

Miso is fermented soybean paste, and it has become my essential ingredient in all of our salad dressings. We don’t use oil, so miso is a great standby replacement in homemade dressings when they call for oil. I usually use about 1-2 teaspoons as the substitute amount.

For a simple lemon dressing:

Juice of half a lemon


2 garlic gloves


1 tsp. of seasonings, your choice (I use Bragg’s Organic Sprinkles — its version of Mrs. Dash).

Blend that in a Magic Bullet or blender and you’ve got instant, delicious dressing without all the usual fat calories from oil. If you want a creamier version, add some avocado to the blend. You will not believe how good homemade dressing tastes.

If you’ve never shopped for miso, ask your grocer where it is. Most grocers in the US sell it in the cold case next to Asian foods such as Yaki-Soba noodles and maybe the tofu. I use organic mellow red miso for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you like.

Fiesta Salad with Fiesta Miso Dressing

Start with a big tossed salad — your choice of ingredients. My test version was super simple with leftover salad — red onion, carrots and lettuce. But please go beyond that! You can add tomatoes, radishes, broccoli, mushrooms, green onions, whatever you typically like!

1-2 cans of tri-blend beans or pinto or black beans, drained, rinsed. Put in bowl and set to side.


2 tsp. miso

3 tbsp ketchup (shop for a low-to-no sugar variety … I use a store-brand organic version that’s low in sugar)

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1-2 droppers of Stevia

a sprinkle of garlic powder

1/4 cup or more of water as needed

Blend in Magic Bullet or blender. Take the salad, add beans and pour dressing generously over it. A nice addition to the salad also can be cooked brown rice and red quinoa for a more substantial meal.


4 thoughts on “A new spin on Fiesta Salad and the magic of miso in dressings

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