Experiencing the umami taste is universal and does not belong to any one culture or any one cuisine.

As stated on this website’s Homepage, “Every cuisine has its characteristic ‘flavor principle,’ but umami transcends them all.” The flavor principle of umami becomes even more appreciated as chefs and home cooks strive to reduce fat and salt (sodium) in their favorite savory recipes. Umami is a pleasant savory taste (actually recognized as the fifth taste) that is imparted by glutamate either naturally in flavorful foods, or added as umami seasoning (MSG).

Featured Recipe:

Savory Spinach Lasagna
Savory Spinach Lasagna
Print Recipe
This Spinach Lasagna recipe is quicker than most similar recipes because it uses pre-cooked, oven-ready pasta noodles, making it easier to assemble layers of the pasta.
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Savory Spinach Lasagna
Savory Spinach Lasagna
Print Recipe
This Spinach Lasagna recipe is quicker than most similar recipes because it uses pre-cooked, oven-ready pasta noodles, making it easier to assemble layers of the pasta.
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups bottled chunky tomato pasta sauce
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (from 8-ounce package) oven-ready
  • 2 10 ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, and egg.
  3. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over bottom of baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles side by side in dish. Spread 1 1/4 cups ricotta mixture over top of noodles. Top with a third of the spinach. Repeat layering two more times with sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, and spinach. Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spread remaining 1 cup sauce over top. Gently press lasagna noodles down into dish, so sauce comes up around sides. Cover dish with foil.
  4. Bake 35 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into rectangles.
Recipe Notes

Fresh Ideas: Use 1/2 pound sliced pepperoni sausage and 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms for the spinach layers. Use frozen chopped broccoli and some diced ham for the spinach layer and substitute shredded Jarlsberg for the mozzarella.

Healthy Cooking Tip: For convenience, this Spinach Lasagna uses no-boil lasagna noodles that are pre-cooked and then dehydrated at the pasta factory. Recipes that call for pre-cooked noodles are specially developed to include enough liquid to surround and rehydrate the noodles, either by calling for more tomato sauce or for water in addition to the sauce.The convenience of no-boil lasagna noodles is twofold: You get to skip the separate step of cooking pasta, and the rigidity of the noodles makes it easier to assemble the layers. Also, there are no “puddles” at the bottom of the lasagna dish when you use pre-cooked noodles, because the noodles soak up the added liquid.

Recipe courtesy of Reader's Digest

Try More Savory Recipes with Umami Ingredients.

Recipes with Umami Ingredients

Here are a few savory recipes to try that are naturally delicious and satisfying thanks to umami rich ingredients:

Sea Scallops with Chili Sauce

Sea Scallops with Chili Sauce
Sea Scallops with Chili Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Sea Scallops with Chili Sauce
Sea Scallops with Chili Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound sea scallops (about 12)
  • 2 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Rub seasoning mixture over scallops.
  2. In large, heavy skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tbs. butter. Cook scallops 2 minutes on each side or until golden and opaque. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
  3. Add wine or broth to skillet, stirring to loosen any browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in remaining butter until melted. Serve with scallops.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Reader's Digest

Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad
Thai Beef Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Thai Beef Salad
Thai Beef Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 stalk lemongrass cut into 2 pieces
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 pound honeycomb tripe
  • 1/2 pound chuck steak thinly sliced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground toasted rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chili peppers optional
  • 1 Thai chili pepper thinly sliced optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG (umami seasoning)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves thinly sliced
  • lettuce for serving
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the lemongrass to the water and season with salt. Add the tripe and boil for about 1 hour or until tripe is tender. Remove from water and set aside.
  3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the steak in pan until slightly pink, then remove to a bowl.
  4. Thinly slice the cooked tripe into 2-inch strips and place in a bowl with the steak. Season the meat mixture with lime, toasted rice, ground chili pepper, sliced chili, MSG and fish sauce and stir to combine. Taste and season with more lime juice or fish sauce as needed. Add the cilantro and green onions and mix well.
  5. Plate over bed of lettuce leaves, sprinkle with the mint and serve.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of The Today Show (NBC-TV, USA)
Photo credit: Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Honey Barbecue Wings

Honey Barbecue Wings
Honey Barbecue Wings
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
20 wings 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
20 wings 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Honey Barbecue Wings
Honey Barbecue Wings
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
20 wings 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
20 wings 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 cups vegetable oil up to 8 cups
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon MSG (umami seasoning)
Sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch sesame seeds optional
Servings: wings
Instructions
  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until ingredients are well-combined and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. As sauce is simmering, heat up 6 to 8 cups of oil in a deep fryer set to 350 degrees. Combine the beaten egg with the milk in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper and MSG.
  3. When oil is hot, dip each wing first in the flour mixture, then into the milk and egg mixture, and back into the flour. Arrange wings on a plate until each one is breaded.
  4. Fry the wings in the oil for 9 to 12 minutes or until light, golden brown. If you have a small fryer, you may wish to fry 10 of the wings at a time. Drain on paper towels or a rack.
  5. When the sauce is done, brush the entire surface of each wing with a light coating of sauce. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup
Wonton Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
1 batch
Cook Time
105 minutes
Servings
1 batch
Cook Time
105 minutes
Wonton Soup
Wonton Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
1 batch
Cook Time
105 minutes
Servings
1 batch
Cook Time
105 minutes
Ingredients
  • 5 pieces chicken
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 onion small
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon MSG (umami seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg white for sealing the wonton wrappers
Servings: batch
Instructions
  1. Heat oil; cook garlic until light brown. Add onion and ground pork; cook for 15 minutes and set aside.
  2. Spread the wonton wrapper and put 1/4 teaspoon cooked pork in the middle and fold in half and seal it with egg white. Repeat until you use the wrapper.
  3. Boil the chicken in 4 quarts water for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the bones and drop the wontons into the broth.
  5. Add garlic salt, pepper and MSG. Add more salt to taste. Cook wontons for 30 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad
Panzanella Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Panzanella Salad
Panzanella Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 pound large ripe red tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt optional
  • 5 ounces Italian bread
  • 1/3 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 6-7 leaves basil plus extra for garnish, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese shaved slices (not grated)
  • fresh black pepper
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces and put them in a non-metallic bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired) and allow them to sit for an hour.
  2. Tear the bread into rough bite-size chunks.
  3. Squash the tomatoes with your hands, discard liquid and then toss with bread, onion, basil, vinegar and olive oil. Season with pepper and salt (if desired) to taste. Garnish top with extra basil leaves.
  4. Serve with generous portion of parmesan cheese shavings over top. Best served immediately.
Recipe Notes

Umami Portobello Mushroom Burger

Umami Portobello Mushroom Burger
Umami Portobello Mushroom Burger
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Umami Portobello Mushroom Burger
Umami Portobello Mushroom Burger
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms stems removed
  • 3 cups red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper divided
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese 2 ounces, crumbled
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 4 slices thick tomato
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar and garlic in a bowl. Brush the mixture all over mushrooms and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add water and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is browned and very soft, about 15 minutes. Add port; cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes more. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat and cover.
  3. Preheat grill to medium.
  4. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Grill, gill-side down, for 5 minutes. Turnover and top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Grill until the mushrooms are tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  5. Toast buns. Divide the onions among the mushrooms. Serve (cheese-side up) on buns with arugula and tomato.
Recipe Notes

Ruby port -- a sweet wine -- gives extra depth of flavor to the caramelized onions.

Recipe courtesy of EatingWell.com “Recipes for Umami Foods”

MSG-Umami Taste Test

Try this do-it-yourself MSG taste test, as suggested by Chef Chris Koetke.