If you’re never tasted fresh edamame, you should consider it! Edamame are fresh, immature soybeans popular in Asian cuisine. I find they take on a succulent, almost buttery texture when cooked properly (for me, this is about 5-6 minutes in boiling water). Overcook them and they lose their bright green beauty.
This is true of many vegetables and I happen to think that the “secret” to tasty vegetables is simply cooking them enough, but not too long. So many people overcook their vegetables so no wonder they don’t like them!
This is an easy salad with a creamy, slightly spicy dressing that comes together quickly on a weeknight. If you have kids and your edamame came in the pod like mine, you should enlist their help to remove the shells. It’s fun for sure, and I think getting kids involved with dinner prep helps inspire, encourage and teach them to develop healthy habits that will last their lifetime.
High in fibre and protein, and low in fat and calories, edamame is somewhat of a nutritional rockstar. It’s also particularly high in folate. Edamame, like other soy foods, is also a rare plant source that is a complete protein. A complete protein means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins and some are considered “essential” because they must be obtained from your diet; your body can’t manufacture them.
There is a lot of debate, controversy and nutritional confounders associated with soy foods and soy-based research. Some wonder whether we should be eating any soy in any form at all mainly because of one thing: isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Based on the research so far, isoflavones may both help and harm, depending on the person and depending on the context (of course, this is true of many foods if you believe that food has the power to both heal and harm).
Because soy is a potent source of isoflavones and because these isoflavones mimic the hormone estrogen in the body, medical experts worry that soy foods could play a role in hormone- and estrogen-sensitive types of cancer. If this concerns you, you should definitely talk to your doctor before consuming soy and other foods high in phytoestrogens (e.g. flax, sesame seed, etc.) This site offers a list of the phytoestrogen content in some common foods.
I won’t weigh in here because it seems the jury is still out on the definitive benefits of eating soy (or not). I do think that eating soy as a whole food is a better option than eating it after any chemical or other processing (tofu, etc.) So for me, edamame can be part of my balanced diet in limited quantities.
Because so much of the soy grown in North America is genetically modified, look for organic edamame to ensure your edamame has not been genetically modified. (The same is true of corn, by the way).
Here’s the recipe:
Edamame Summer Salad with Ginger & Tomato Dressing
For the Salad
- Generous 1 1/3 cups shelled raw edamame (about 1 lb. thawed, raw edamame in pods)
- ¼ cup corn kernels
- 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- ¼ cup orange sweet pepper
For the Dressing
- 3 fresh whole cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons oil of choice
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Fresh grated ginger to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Unshell the edamame if it is still in the pod.
Cook the raw, thawed edamame for 5-6 minutes in boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water OR blanch it (drop into a bowl filled with ice cubes and water until cool).
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Add dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Have you ever eaten edamame? Do you love those sweet little green pearls as much as I do?
Life is a plate… eat up!