Edamame beans for nutritional variety

Coming up with new and exiting foods to pump up the variety and nutritional quality of the family diet can be challenging.

edamame beans

Edamame seeds. Photo: File

Nutritionally our bodies require a daily supply of calories, fuels, and nutrients. The amount varies from person to person based on their height, weight, age, gender, and activity level.

To provide these daily requirements the diet should be varied, or have a good variety of food options. One such food that can help with variety and provide an excellent source of nutrition is edamame.

Pronounced ed-ah-mah-may, commonly called green vegetable soybeans they have a sweet nutty flavor and are high in protein, vitamin A and a wide variety of minerals. (Washington State University, 2001).

Edamame are harvested when the plump beans fill the pod and just before the pods turn yellow. The pods are not edible only the beans are eaten. They are found typically in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store, and your favorite sushi restaurants.

Nutritionally the beans are richer in calcium and iron than other typical varieties of heavy beans. They also boast higher in fiber, folic acid, and good quality protein providing all of the essential amino acids humans need in sufficient amounts (Washington State University, 2001 Online).

Edamame are an excellent way to improve your daily dietary intake of nutrients as well as variety. The beans contain a modest amount of unsaturated fat with essential fatty acids but contain no cholesterol.

Due to the lack of cholesterol, good source of fiber, and excellent isoflavones content which gives the soy its heart health protection, they would be an excellent option for people with heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and/or hypertension. Here are some recipes to try out this fantastic bean with your family today.

Spiced Edamame (Tara Godfrey)

2 cups Edamame cooked and shelled
1 Tbsp 5 spice Chinese seasoning
1/4 cup sushi vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger powder
1 Tbsp sesame flavoured oil
Mix all ingredients together while Edamame is hot. Cool for at least 2 hours and serve as an accompaniment to meal or as a snack. Servings: 4 providing 135Kcal, 6g fat, 11g protein, 9.3g carbohydrate, 3.8g fibre, 0mg cholesterol, 140IU Vit A, 15mg Vit C, 485mg potassium, 130.5mg Calcium, 54 mg magnesium, 100 ug folate, and 2.3mg Iron. (Data from USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 1998)

Stir fry with Edamame (Carol Miles, Ph.D. and Leslie Zenz)
1-2 cups tofu
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 stalks broccoli, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup baby corn
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mung beans sprouts
1/2 cup each water chestnuts and bamboo shoots
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup Edamame, boiled and shelled
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 tsp dry mustard
In a wok or large pot, gently sauté tofu and ginger in sesame oil until golden brown. Remove from wok. Add all vegetables except Edamame to the wok, and add orange juice. Cover and cook on medium heat 8 minutes or until tender. Add Edamame and garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove wok from heat and stir in tamari, mustard, and tofu. Serve alone, with rice, or Chinese noodles.

Marinated Edamame Salad

(Jazimes, Olympia, Washington, 1998)
Dressing: 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh chopped garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp lemon peel
1/4 tsp each : basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme
2 cups green beans fresh, cut in halves
2 cups Edamame cooked and shelled
1 medium scallion
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1 stalk celery
2 Tbsp parsley
1 cucumber, coarsely chopped

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside. Put green beans in microwave proof dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave on high about 3-4 minutes until crisp and tender. Drain well. Add Edamame.
Toss bean mixture and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk dressing again and pour over salad and toss. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. When ready to serve arrange on top of lettuce or spinach leaves. Servings: 4 with 263Kcal, 10g fat, 15g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 8g fibre, 0mg cholesterol, 268RE Vit A, 82mg Vit C, 129mg Sodium, 214mg Calcium, and 4mg Iron.

Three Bean Salad (The Complete Soy Cookbook by Paulette Mitchell, 1998)
1/2 cup Edamame cooked and shelled
20 Calmata olives, sliced
1/2 cup feta crumbled
1/2 cup garbanzo beans(chick peas) shelled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup navy beans
1/2 -3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (to taste)
15 artichoke hearts, diced
5 clove fresh garlic, diced
20-30 marinated sun dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients onto a bowl, cover with oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Marinated at least one hour in refrigerator.

Tara Godfrey is a Nutritional Counsellor with the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management.

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