Savory Soy

This culinary chameleon brings a powerhouse of health benefits to herbal recipes.

| June/July 2001

  • Flavor soy milk with fresh peppermint, then buzz in a blender with frozen berries for an icy-cold, isoflavone-packed treat.
  • Soybeans in the pod, also known as edamame, are one of the easiest-to-prepare of healthy snacks. Here they’re sprinkled with parsley for lemony taste and added vitamin C.
  • Silken tofu and the leaves of fresh herbs make a tart, low-fat, tasty dip or salad dressing.
    Photography by Anybody Goes
  • Silken tofu and the leaves of fresh herbs make a tart, low-fat, tasty dip or salad dressing.

You’ve probably heard this news, but it’s worth repeating: Soy foods are a powerhouse of health benefits. They’re high in protein and calcium, low in saturated fat, and packed with potent health-boosters known as isoflavones. Soy compounds are important weapons against cancer, heart disease, bone loss, and menopausal symptoms.

What’s more, soy is delicious. It’s a natural partner for herbs. Soy foods tend to be culinary chameleons; they absorb the flavor of whatever they’re paired with. Herbs are perfect partners for the nude taste of soy and can help create vivid palettes of flavors. Asian chefs have known for centuries that herbs and soy are a remarkable combination.

Today, a wide variety of products are made from soybeans; new, easy-to-prepare soy foods pop up regularly in supermarkets and health-food stores. These include soy milks and other products that mimic dairy foods such as yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. Tofu comes in silken, soft, firm, and extra-firm consistencies.

Tempeh is fermented bean curd; you can buy it plain or with added whole grains or sea vegetables in a variety of flavors. Miso, a cultured soybean paste, comes in a range of colors and flavor intensities. You can also find soy meat substitutes such as veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, and imitation bacon bits. Soy protein powders can be added to smoothies, juices, or cereals; textured soy protein can replace ground beef in burgers and stews. You may also want to check out soy butter, soy sprouts, soy flour, soy oil, soy nuts (roasted soybeans, plain and flavored), and fresh or frozen green soybeans (also called edamame).

Soy Recipes:

Berry-Mint Soy Smoothie
Green Goddess Dip or Salad Dressing
Herbed Miso Soup
Mediterranean Ragout with Tempeh and Herbs
Edamame with Parsley
Soy ‘Milk’ 

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