Many people associate soy foods with vegetarian, vegan and Asian diets, but soy products can be incorporated into your favorite non-vegetarian dishes, supplementing — without replacing — eggs, meat, fish and poultry. You can highlight soy’s versatility without necessarily having it take center stage. Family and friends may not even know they’re eating soy, a plus for people who might otherwise shy away from vegetarian meals.
Some people may say soy milk and tofu taste bland, but this actually is an asset, not a drawback. The chameleon-like character of soy foods allows them to blend in with the tastes of foods you know and love, enabling you to stretch smaller portions of eggs, fish, poultry or meat while adding soy’s notable nutrition.
Soy milk can stand in for milk or buttermilk (7/8 cup plain soy milk plus 1/8 cup lemon juice or cider vinegar equals 1 cup of buttermilk) in cooking and baking. Blended, seasoned tofu (or soy milk mixed and heated with arrowroot starch) can replace sour cream or yogurt in seafood, turkey or beef stroganoff, chicken paprikash and a wide variety of American and international dishes. Mashed tofu may also be seasoned and used to replace cheeses in lasagna and other casseroles or used as a replacement for Hamburger Helper or mayonnaise. In this way, you can enjoy the familiar look and taste of your favorite dishes with fewer calories and fat grams. So, don’t be shy, give soy a try.
Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz brings 17 years of experience to the table as a whole-foods cooking instructor, healthy cooking coach, freelance food and health writer and former restaurateur. Rachel currently teaches cooking classes and operates a personal chef service in Phoenix, Arizona.