April is National Soy Foods Month! Soybeans are an extremely versatile legume and can be prepared many different ways. Celebrate this month and every month, by including soy foods into your family meals!
Soybeans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and a popular substitute for meat, making soy products a great option for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption. In addition, soybeans contain iron, calcium, vitamin K, folate and fiber.
Listed below are some common soy food products that you and your family can try!
- Tofu: Tofu is an easy-to-cook soy food that is found at various levels of silken or firm. Silken tofu is best for blending or pureeing; create a thick and creamy texture from silken tofu for sauces, creams, and dressings. Firm tofu is best used in baking, grilling, stir-frying, or any dish where you want the tofu to retain its shape.
- Tempeh: Similar to tofu, tempeh is a fermented soy food that has a more of an umami or savory flavor. Tempeh can be sliced into strips or cubes to be baked, sautéed, or even made into a patty for a vegetarian sandwich. It can also be crumbled to a ground meat-like texture for dishes, such as chili or spaghetti. Before you cook tempeh, try marinating it with soy sauce, tamari, ginger, garlic, or your favorite dry rub to provide extra flavor.
- Edamame: Green soybeans are harvested while the beans are small and sweet tasting. When eaten with minimal seasoning, edamame makes for a healthy snack! Other ideas include adding edamame to salads, stir-fries, and pastas for a pop of color and a boost of protein to your meal! Check your local grocery store to find fresh or frozen pod or shelled edamame. Visit the Have a Plant: Fruit and Veggies for Better Health website for more creative ways to enjoy edamame.
- Miso: Miso is a sweet, flavorful, fermented soybean paste often found in Japanese cooking. It is packed with probiotics that provide healthy bacteria for our gut. Miso is often used to add a delicious and savory flavor to dishes. In addition to popular Japanese miso soup, try miso for dressings on salads, glazes for vegetables, or marinades for fish, steak, and pork.
- Soy milk: Soy milk is a plant-based, non-dairy beverage. When choosing soy milk, look for the unsweetened version to help limit your added sugar intake. Many soy milks found at the grocery store are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D and provide nutrients similar to cow’s milk.
For more information on soy, read the Center for Nutrition in Schools’ Nutrition and Health Info Sheet.
For more creative and tasty recipes that include soy products, check out this recipe collection from the Soyfoods Association of North America.