All About Edamame
It's pronounced eh-duh-maa-mei and these cute, little bean pods are packed full of goodness! Edamame is a type of soybean that is native to Asian cuisine. The fuzzy pods that hold the beans are very tough and indigestible but the soybeans inside have a mild, yet delicious taste (and are a personal favorite!). This versatile legume can be added to a variety of dishes or eaten alone as a snack.
Another great thing about edamame is their quick and easy prep! Simply boil a pot of water, add the edamame and cook for about 4 minutes. If they aren’t tender enough, another minute or so should do it. You want them to be soft, but not mushy. Drain the water, add to a bowl and season to your liking. If you prefer a microwave instead, pop the whole bag in the microwave and cook for about 4 minutes. There are usually about 3-4 beans per pod. Pinch the pods with your fingers to pop the beans out and enjoy! Personally, I think that part is fun, but if it seems like a hassle, don’t fret - you can buy pre-shelled edamame too. Edamame can be found in the freezer section of most local supermarkets (I buy them at Trader Joe's or Wegmans). I’m sure if you can get your hands on some fresh ones, they would be just as tasty.
3 Ways to Use Edamame
Edamame Hummus – Swap out your chickpeas for this protein packed bean. Blend the edamame with some olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste often used in hummus), salt, red pepper flakes and lemon juice for a simple, but vibrant spread. You can incorporate this as a spread in sandwiches and wraps to add a little extra protein and healthy fat in a tasty way. Or you can enjoy it as a dip with some fresh veggies or crackers for a delicious and healthy snack!
Stir Fry or Rice Bowl – Edamame is a great addition to any stir fry or rice bowl. The savory flavors of garlic, ginger, mushrooms and soy sauce combined with the freshness of these beans make for a great Asian styled meal. If you’re a vegetarian, this is one way to get your protein fill, too!
Edamame Soup – Bored of the usual pea soup? Change it up with edamame. Packed full of nutrients, protein and hearty flavors this creamy edamame soup recipe from “The Skinny Taste Cookbook” looks delish! The beans can be blended into a soup like this one or kept whole to add a bite to noodle soups or veggie stews.
These little guys pack a punch! Just one cup of edamame provides 18.5 grams of protein, 188 calories and a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Better than that, edamame is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs to take in from the diet. This is great for vegetarians or vegans to add to their meals to pump up their protein levels. The FDA also states that soy products are heart healthy, noting that 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Additionally, these beans are high in fiber, containing about 8 grams per cup, and may reduce low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol levels. Other research shows edamame may be beneficial for bone health as well. Edamame contains plant compounds called isoflavones and roughly 34% of the adult daily vitamin K intake in one cup. These are both needed to keep bones healthy and strong and reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Bottom Line: Get your hands on some of these soybeans and give them a try for yourself! They’re easy to prepare, versatile, nutritious and delicious!
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Written by: Emily Roumpapas, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern