Possibly the easiest soyfood for Americans to assimilate into their diets is edamame. They can be used any place dried or fresh beans are used, making them extremely versatile. But they’re also great eaten on their own. The Chinese call them mao dao or hair bean because of the fuzz on their sugar snap, pea-sized pods. But don’t be put off by the homely appearance of the pods, as plump, glistening beans will emerge. Edamame are a variety of soybeans that are picked early, when they’re green and tender, and served fresh. They’re in season from late July to September, but you can find them fresh, frozen and vacuum-packed year round in the supermarkets—both shelled and in the pod. A 12-ounce package of edamame in the shell yields 1 cup shelled beans. Sometimes you can find them in Midwest farmers markets.
They are high in protein and fiber and contain no cholesterol. They’re an excellent source of soy protein, with ½ cup providing 11 grams of protein. Try them tossed in pasta or soups, sprinkled on pizza, in pasta salad, bean salad, or pureed as a dip. A quick tip on shelling them; snip the ends and center of the pod with a scissors, squeeze, and the slippery plump beans will slide out.
—Courtesy of The Soyfoods Council.