Embrace edamame!

The little bean packed with taste and many health benefits

It’s so easy to get into a rut when it comes to food. For me, that’s especially true with vegetables — until I discovered edamame. I purchased a bag in the organic frozen food section of my grocery store and brought it home. My husband raised his eyebrows at first, wondering what I was planning. Edamame is young soybeans. You can purchase them fresh or frozen, in the pod or hulled. If you are planning to use them in the recipe below, buy them already hulled.

One cup of edamame delivers nearly 5 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein. It also delivers 30 percent of the U.S. recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, 15 percent of calcium and 15 percent of iron. There is a lot of preliminary research that suggests soy protein can lower LDL cholesterol. Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications has said that consuming iron from plant sources seems to promote fertility. It also has a bonus of a high dose of folate — 121 percent of the daily recommended needs per cup.

The first time I cooked edamame, I started simple. I just steamed it with a little bit of salt. It was a delicious, buttery change from the occasional green peas. Now I’m starting to branch out, mixing it with other things. One of my favorite concoctions is based off of something I saw in a store. It’s a three-bean salad that packs a nutritional punch with fiber and protein. It can be a side dish or an appetizer served with pita chips. Either way, it’s a great break from vegetable boredom — and it looks pretty too.

Three-bean edamame salad

  • 10-ounce bag frozen edamame, blanched or steamed as directed on bag
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (or your favorite white beans)
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • ½ cup diced yellow pepper
  • ¼ cup diced purple onion
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Stir together edamame*, beans, peppers and onion in large bowl. Whisk together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and pour over the veggies. Stir gently to mix. Fold in parsley. Chill and serve. Best if used within 24 hours.

Nutrition facts per serving

Yield: 12 servings

Calories: 266

Calories from fat: 31

Total fat: 3.4 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 34 mg

Potassium: 884 mg

Total carbohydrates: 45.1 g

Dietary fiber: 11.9 g

Sugars: 4.8 g

Protein: 14.7 g

Vitamin A: 5%

Vitamin C: 60%

Calcium: 8%

Iron: 23%


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