April 4, 2012

Edamame: It's a clean, green, healthy machine

The fuzzy soy bean pods, a wonderful frozen-veggie alternative, are a perfect fit in salads and pastas.

By Rick Nelson / McClatchy Newspapers

Another week, another auto-pilot stroll through the frozen vegetables section of the supermarket. Green beans, yawn. Peas and carrots, no thank you. Broccoli? Insert eye roll.

VEGETABLES BEANS
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Edamame may be best known as a salty bar snack, but they stand in nicely for peas and fava beans in a variety of dishes.

McClatchy Newspapers

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Here's a suggestion: Edamame.

The gently fuzzed, whole-pod versions of young soybeans are widely known as steamed-and-salted bar snacks. But their pea-like seeds – which bear a slight resemblance to lima beans and manage to hold much of their buttery texture, delicately sweet flavor and Granny Smith apple color when frozen – make for a delicious and colorful addition to routine cooking.

Better still, leaving someone else to do the shelling makes them as convenient – and as versatile – as any other more familiar frozen vegetable, just slightly more exotic. And flexible they are, standing in for peas and fava beans in salads, succotashes, pastas and other dishes.

Another bonus: They're high in protein, fiber and B vitamins.

Then there's the name. Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-meh) means "branched bean" in Japanese, and it's a much sexier way of saying "green soybean" or "Asian pea," right?

And, surprisingly, shelled edamame are widely available.

ORANGE-EDAMAME-TOFU STIR FRY

Servings: Four

Note: From "The Woman's Day Everyday Cookbook," by the editors of Woman's Day.

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1 (14-oz.) package extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic

2 teaspoon freshly minced peeled ginger root

1 bunch asparagus, cut into pieces

2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced

1 cup (about 5 oz.) frozen shelled edamame

1 (3½-oz.) package sliced shiitake mushrooms

½ cup sliced green onions

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup water, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and crushed red pepper, and reserve.

Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook 5 minutes, turning often, until golden. Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 seconds. Remove.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in skillet. Add asparagus, peppers, edamame and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add orange juice mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in tofu and green onions and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired, and serve immediately over brown rice.

Per serving: Calories 230, fat 11 g, sodium 470 mg, carbohydrates 20 g, saturated fat 1 g, calcium 247 mg, protein 19 g, cholesterol 0 g, dietary fiber 7 g

EDAMAME,GREEN BEAN AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Servings: Eight to 10

Note: To toast cumin seeds, cook in a dry, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until they are fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. From "Gourmet Today" edited by Ruth Reichl.

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

12 oz. (about 2½ cups) frozen shelled edamame

1 (19-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large garlic clove

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

½ teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile, including seeds, or to taste

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (see Note)

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Cook green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. With a wire skimmer or a slotted spoon, immediately transfer beans to a large bowl of ice water. When beans are cool, transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

(Continued on page 2)

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