Spaghetti with Walnut Miso Sauce

We saw a butterfly! Poor creature born before his time: snow and no nectar, not even a crocus.
I almost made pink soba for dinner. There is a recipe online for walnut miso sauce on soba, but didn’t bookmark it. Walnuts and miso together sounds like a good match, then I remembered a recipe from Ms. Shimbo’s book, The Japanese Kitchen, for a walnut miso dressing for vegetables. I recall that it was quite thick, and rather sweet so I have altered the original recipe a bit, adding a little rice vinegar and more dashi. The pink soba will be more appropriate when spring really has begun.

Spaghetti with Walnut Miso Sauce
my own version
based on Kurumi-miso-ae
page 236
serves 2 to 4


  • 2 ¼ ounces (½ cup) walnut meats
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Tablespoon corn oil
  • 1 Tablespoon mild miso
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup dashi (Japanese stock)
  • salt to taste


  • okra, red pepper, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens, asparagus, broccoli, burdock, green beans, or spinach


  • 8 to 10 ounces spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape
  • 1 Tablespoon oil

Heat a medium skillet over low to medium heat, add the walnuts, and toast them until they are heated through. I refine Ms. Shimbo’s recipe by rubbing the skins off the toasted nuts when they have cooled. The skin tastes bitter, especially when it’s black, and can be seen as unpleasant flecks in the sauce. Because you are going to grind the nuts, don’t worry about breaking them as you rub the skin off. Sometimes you can coax a reluctant skin off by re-heating the nuts.
Reserve 6 to 8 nuts for garnish. Put the remainder into a suribachi, or other mortar, or a food processor. Grind the nuts until they are smooth and oily looking. The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Heat the ginger, garlic, and oil until they smell good! Don’t let the garlic burn.
One at a time, add the ginger and garlic, miso, mirin, and shoyu, rice vinegar, and sugar to the mortar, grinding between each addition. Add the dashi and continue mixing until the mixture has the texture of a thick sauce. Add more dashi if needed. Check the seasoning, and add salt if you like.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil the vegetable(s) of choice for 1 to 2 minutes—spinach will cook much more quickly than broccoli. Drain, cool and dry.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Don’t rinse, but if it will sit for a while dress it with oil.
To serve, toss the vegetables with the sauce, and serve over the spaghetti. Garnish with the reserved walnuts.
You can see that I didn’t toss veggies and sauce: thought it would look prettier; and forgot the walnuts when I took the photos.

pan-fried lamb chop with mushrooms mmmmmmm


8 thoughts on “Spaghetti with Walnut Miso Sauce

  1. Good grief Tess! It’s only breakfast time here and having read this I now find myself greedily wanting dinner. Miso and walnuts sound like the perfect marriage. And then there’s the lamb chops, and then there’s the noodles, and then there’s the good greens – swoon
    I see you’ve snuck okra in here again and they do look very pretty sliced through, but, but promise me they are not slimy.

  2. Oh sweet Carolyn~~

    Breakfast and (not quite) autumn for you!
    I’ve been thinking about the flavors of miso and walnut for quite a while. They are a wonderful marriage. I loved this sauce! Chard with different colors would be beautiful. Do you get red, yellow, white, green chard in Australia? Woodchucks eat mine, but now J built a secure fenced in raised bed to grow chard and tomatoes. Maybe even okra!

    Snuck the okra in?? Yes, I wasn’t sure I’d like it in the last post, but I loved it! Didn’t want to waste the 1/2 pkg that was left… Can’t promise no slime, but I think young and short cooking time is the trick. If you try it, let me know if I’m nuts or if you think it’s good too?

    Have you ever thought about how vegetable recipes have so many violent words: grill until the skin turns black, remove the skin, blanch in boiling water, cut off the roots, chop into small pieces, stir into the hot oil…

    me, not a bit Welch~

    • Tess, the miso and walnuts do sound wonderful together together, but oddly enough, the okra just jumped out at me. “What’s this?”, I thought. I know you’re from Michigan, and so many people have an aversion to okra. Since I grew up in Savannah, GA, I love the stuff. It is a mite slimy but if small enough it’s good.
      I can’t often find good fresh okra here, so I tried small whole frozen okra, coated it with oilve oil, salted it and roasted it until done, which means I can’t remember how long. It must have been at 400 degrees. My southern forebears would have been shocked, but it was good and not a bit slimy, though I have a cousin who dislikes okra not because of the slime factor but because it’s fuzzy. LOL
      The cut okra is nice dipped in cornmeal and sauteed in bacon fat should you have any of the unhealthy stuff around. Actually, olive oil is good for the saute, too, just not quite as good. :)

      • Until just the other day, I thought okra was vegan glue! Now I’m wondering how difficult it would be to grow!

        I’ll have to check the freezer aisle: sometimes the fresh okra is unavailable or brown. Roasting sounds good, as does frying. What’s not to like when a thing is cooked in bacon fat. LOL

    • Hi Lucy

      I don’t think this recipe is really Japanese! I started with “Kurumi-miso-ae” and thought that seems like it would be good on spaghetti.

      Maybe “Kurumi-miso-ae” is similar to your “Furohuki Daikon with Walnut Miso”?

      I tried Google translate on your link. It showed a very funny name for the recipe:
      Walnut miso radish sprout intermolecular bath

      There are many times when I miss my mother too. She could make a delicious Finnish cardamom bread called “pulla .” I wish I had some right now!

      But she is dead and my father is not well.

  3. Tess,
    Actually, My Furofuki Daikon is not like that one..
    My Furohuki Daikon is easy cooking.
    If you have a time, please refer to it. That is good way.

    • Very nice.

      What is the powder he adds to the boiling water at 59 seconds?
      At 1:54, is it sugar, mirin, saki, egg yolks?
      And what is the liquid the citrus peel is soaked in?

      LOL: I can’t read Japanese, but sometimes I can pick out a word if it is about food, but he talks much too fast for me.

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