The Meatwave

Miso-marinated Chicken Thighs and Mizuna Salad

Miso-marinated Chicken Thighs and Mizuna Salad View Recipe

The pandemic totally changed my meal planning and cooking style—where prior I figured things out on a day-to-day basis and winged it regularly, during covid I became a meticulous planner, mapping out every meal for a week to minimize trips to the stores. At the start of the summer, I still hadn't let go of that shift I had made, but I was also getting a bit tired of the thought of cooking just about every meal the whole week. This burnout lead to the first week in over two years I had absolutely no plan for and no idea what I was going to cook, if anything at all. I found myself at the farmer's market during that funk and bought a bunch of random stuff and figured I'd come up with what to actually do with it back at home. One of those items was a large bunch of mizuna, which turned into this really delicious miso-marinate chicken and mizuna salad.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

Mizuna was the sole motivator here, and it's a green I hadn't worked with in a very long time, not since I was part of a CSA way back when, while I was still living in Astoria, Queens. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard green and it has a really excellent light mustard bite with a hint of pepper as well. It can be mixed with other greens as a salad base, or merely used on its own, as I did here.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

Thinking about what would pair well with the light pungency of mizuna, I landed on savory, salty, and lightly sweet miso. I built up a fairly simple dressing of miso paste, oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, honey, and sesame oil which has way more depth of flavor than the amount of ingredients that went into making it.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

After becoming enamored with how miso worked in a marinade I made for beef last summer, I was set on repeating that here. I utilized many of the same ingredients that went into the dressing, which helped streamline and cut down time, but for the chicken I wanted something with a more more heavy handed flavor since it would inevitably mellow after being cooked. That had me using a lot more miso and adding in things like soy sauce, mirin, and brown sugar.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

I let the chicken marinate for a couple hours before I lit a fire outside. In the downtime while I was waiting for the coals to be ready, I prepped my salad mix-ins, of which I used only radishes, scallions, and cucumbers, not wanting to make this salad overly complex, but still needing to add some flavor and textural contrasts to make make it more interesting in the end.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

I cooked the chicken over direct high heat, and my main goal here was to get a good caramelized crust along with spotty charring to inject some grilled flavor and sweetness into the final dish. The sugar content in the marinade seemed to hit a sweet spot because I got those characteristics I was looking for at the same time the chicken was done cooking—since chicken thighs are quite forgiving, I wouldn't have minded if it took a bit longer, but if the thighs were charring before they were done cooking, I would have had to move them to indirect heat to avoid burning them.

Mizuna Salad with Miso Dressing and Grilled Chicken

While mizuna was what influenced the flavor direction of this dish, I was also in need of some lighter meals that were highly satisfying, and this certainly fell into that category. The chicken was quite addictive, with a sweet and savory flavor that had me eating almost an entire thigh before I even assembled the salad. It did get even better in the final dish though as that sweetness had a good contrast in the mustardy mizuna and the sharpness of the radishes. The miso dressing also upped that savory quality and tang, as those two elements became more subdued on the chicken once cooked. There has been a lot of advantages to my advance meal planning—less time shopping, less food waste, less cost—but I'm ready to balance that pandemic-era behavior with the more improvisational style too that results in things I likely would not preconceive.

Print Recipe

Miso-marinated Chicken Thighs and Mizuna Salad

  • Yield 4 servings
  • Prep 15 Minutes
  • Inactive 2 Hours
  • Cook 10 Minutes
  • Total 2 Hours 25 Minutes


  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • For the Chicken
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (about 4 thighs)
  • For the Salad
  • 1 large bunch of mizuna, washed, dried, and roughly chopped
  • 3 medium radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together canola or vegetable oil, lime juice, miso paste, honey, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. To make the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk together misto paste, mirin, canola or vegetable oil, brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, sake, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Place chicken in bowl and toss to coat thighs in marinade. Place bowl in refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals evenly across charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean grilling grate. Place chicken on grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until thighs are well browned and center of meat registered between 175-185°F on an instant read thermometer, about 10 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, then cut thighs into 1/4-inch strips.
  4. To make the salad: Place mizuna, radishes, cucumber, and scallions in a large bowl. Add in dressing and toss to coat and evenly distribute ingredients. Divide salad between 4 plates. Place 1/4 of the chicken atop each salad and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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  1. Bkhuna You think miso and chicken go together well, then you should look into Shio Koji.