May 1, 2023

Plant-Based Whole30 Miso Sauce

This Plant-Based Whole30 Miso Sauce is a great all-purpose topping for salads, bowls, wraps, silken tofu, or as a dipping sauce for veggies. Using soy milk makes the sauce extra creamy and adds a touch of sweetness.

You can buy already toasted sesame seeds at many Asian grocers. Japanese stores also sell ground toasted sesame seeds, which you can use to save even more time with this recipe. But freshly ground sesame is more flavorful and smells so wonderful, it’s worth the extra few minutes of prep time!

What is miso?

If you’re new to miso, you may be surprised to learn just how many different types of miso there are. Grocery stores in the West often only carry a few different miso, but in Japan, you can easily find 10-20 different types of miso in one store.

Miso is made with soybeans (these days, there are also chickpea varieties), salt, and koji, a fermentation starter. Rice koji is the most commonly used, but some miso is made with barley koji or soybean koji.

The color of miso can vary from white to yellow to red. White miso has the shortest fermentation period, resulting in a sweet, mild-flavored miso. Red miso has the longest fermentation period, resulting in a strong, salty miso. Yellow miso is between white and red, being saltier than white miso but milder than red. There is also awase (meaning “mixed”) miso which is a combination of white and red miso.

In general, white and yellow miso are great for sauces or marinades. Red or awase miso is better for soup since you really want that salty, savory miso flavor. But of course, you can use any kind of miso you prefer! If it’s your first time cooking with miso, yellow or awase miso is an excellent miso to start with as these are very versatile.

Try this luscious homemade sauce on our Plant-Based Miso Bowl here!

Recipe & Photos by Ellie Yamanaka

Plant-Based Whole30 Miso Sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp white or yellow miso
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or more rice vinegar)
  • 1/8 tsp grated garlic (1 small clove)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • GRIND toasted sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle.
  • ADD ground sesame seeds to a jar or bowl and mix in miso, soy milk, rice vinegar, grated garlic, and sesame oil. Add more soy milk if needed to thin the sauce.
  • STORE sauce in the fridge for up to 3-5 days, depending on the freshness of the soy milk. For longer storage (up to 2 weeks), make the sauce without soy milk, then add soy milk just before serving.
Ellie Yamanaka from ellielikescooking wearing a white top and smiling at the camera.

Ellie Yamanaka

Ellie Yamanaka is a food photographer and recipe developer who loves making simple, feel-good plant-based recipes that don't compromise on taste or nutrition. She's been making messes in the kitchen since she was 12, and after finishing university 10 years later, she decided to trade in her nutrition degree for a camera and a kitchen. Through her food blog Ellie Likes Cooking, she hopes to inspire others to eat more plants and get creative in the kitchen.