Soy has gone from geeky health food to a mainstream choice for healthy eating in appealing ways. Recognizing that, to eat something regularly, Americans require great taste, speed and a familiar form, manufacturers have focused primarily on the basics – tofu, soy milk and edamame, the good-tasting beans resembling baby limas – that are easy to use. They now give us ready-to-eat choices that look and taste like other foods we like.
Since soy is, arguably, the most versatile food in the world, eating it is simpler and more appealing than you may expect.
For drinking, soy milk comes in mocha, chai and other delicious flavors, and in ready-to-chug smoothies. For cooking, use it unsweetened in any recipe calling for milk. At breakfast, along with soymilk on your usual cereal, try one of the great-tasting cold cereals fortified with soy protein. Or have a cup of creamy, fruit-flavored soy yogurt.
Supermarkets sell frozen edamame (aid-a-MOM-eh) either in the pod or shelled, cooked or raw. Podded edamame are such a great snack that some stores also sell them in the deli case, cooked and ready-to-eat. Add shelled edamame when cooking any other vegetables. They go particularly well with broccoli, spinach and carrots, as well as in pasta sauce, soups, or salads.
With tofu, dice the many flavorful firm or extra firm versions and add them to a stir-fry or cold salad. Or, amaze yourself by puréeing the creamy, silken type of tofu into soups, dips and killer desserts like a fifty-fifty blend of tofu and melted, dark chocolate.
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
Yield: Makes 4 servings.
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4-6 scallions, white part only, chopped
- 1 lb. asparagus, preferably thin*
- 2-1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 8 oz. (1 cup) soft silken tofu
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Minced fresh chives, for garnish
- Heat the oil in a small Dutch oven or deep saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and scallions and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, hold asparagus in a bundle and lay flat on a cutting board. Cut off the tips and set them aside. Cut the stalks into 1-inch lengths, stopping when the hard, fibrous section at the end is reached. (Discard ends.) Add cut stalks to the pan, stirring until bright green, about 1 minute. Pour in 2 cups broth and add cayenne. Cover and simmer until asparagus is soft, about 15 minutes.
- Place asparagus tips in a small pot. Add the remaining broth. Cook until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain asparagus tips, reserving the liquid. Set tips aside.
- Puree tofu in a blender. Add asparagus and cooking liquid from tips. Blend to a smooth puree. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives. Serve hot.
*For easier cooking, the asparagus should be about the same thickness and length. The thinner the asparagus, the faster the soup cooks. With fat asparagus, too much liquid may cook out before they become tender. If that happens, add more broth, as needed, when pureeing.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
107 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat),
9 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 3g dietary fiber, 365 mg sodium
Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 Vegetable, 1 Low-Fat Meat, 1/2 Fat