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Why You Should Reach for the Edamame This Winter

Edamame is packed with vitamin K and manganese. This soy protein is also easy to prepare at home. Check out these healthy vegan and vegetarian edamame recipes.

Many people are looking to integrate more plant-based sources of protein for health and environmental reasons. Soy can be transformed into a variety of food products, from tofu to dairy substitutes. It’s environmentally friendly to grow and is an inexpensive protein source, making it a star in sustainability worldwide.

Edamame is a young soybean, hence its green color. Despite its youth, edamame offers more vitamin K and manganese than the mature soybean. It also provides five times the folate than its mature counterpart, a nutrient important to prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy. Like the mature soybean, edamame contains protein. In fact, about 12 percent is made up of protein, so it can double as a veggie and plant-based protein source.

Though edamame might most often be found as an appetizer at an Asian-inspired restaurant, this soy protein is easy and versatile to prepare at home. Found in the freezer aisle through all four seasons, check out these four healthy vegan edamame recipes:

  • Asian-inspired Edamame Guacamole
  • Sriracha-garlic Edamame Stir Fry
  • Easy and Quick Edamame Power Bowl
  • Everything but the Bagel Steamed Edamame

Asian-inspired Edamame Guacamole

Guacamole is a staple appetizer at many Mexican restaurants. The deliciously creamy dip offers the perfect contrast to the crunchy chip. Edamame is an interesting and healthy addition to the appetizer, offering up protein and additional nutrients such as vitamin K and folate. Even better – the fat content of the avocado allows the fat-soluble vitamin K of the edamame to be readily absorbed in the body.

Try this Asian-inspired twist on the Mexican staple, featuring sesame seeds, green onion and soy sauce:

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 1 green onion stalk, chopped
  • 1 clove large garlic, finely minced
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup edamame, steamed
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (or Everything but the Bagel Seasoning from this recipe)

Instructions

  1. Pulse steamed edamame in a food processor or blender with soy sauce and lime juice until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, add all ingredients except sesame seeds and gently mash avocado to combine with ingredients until it has reached desired texture. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  3. Enjoy with chips, on toast or with a salad or rice bowl.

Sriracha-garlic Edamame Stir Fry – Serves 2

Homemade stir fry is great for days when you find yourself wanting a quick, healthy meal. Often, preparing the protein is the most time-consuming part. For this, consider reaching into the freezer for a steamable protein like edamame to combine with a mix of fresh, frozen and canned ingredients. Enjoy this vegetable-rich stir fry that can be enjoyed by itself, with rice or a few pasta noodles:

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Oil, such as sesame, canola or olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup edamame, steamed, pods removed
  • ½ cup baby corn, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 2 green onion stalks, chopped
  • ½ cup cashews, chopped
  • Optional – chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms, bell peppers, edamame and baby corn until bell peppers have softened.
    1. Turn down heat to medium-low and push vegetables to the side. Add rest of oil and minced garlic and sear until fragrant. Add soy sauce, honey, sriracha and ginger or your favorite stir fry sauce and stir until these wet ingredients are well combined, then combine with vegetables.
    1. Top with cashews, green onions and cilantro. Serve on its own, with whole wheat pasta noodles or brown rice.

Easy and Quick Edamame Power Bowl – Serves 2

Salads are a go-to healthy throw-together meal for many – simply chop up ingredients and toss them with a dressing. If you’re craving a warm meal on a cold day, try this 15-minute power bowl loaded with energizing nutrients and edamame as the protein.

Ingredients

  • Steamable brown rice and quinoa bag
  • 1 cup edamame, steamed, pods removed
  • 1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green onion stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. spicy mayo (make your own by mixing 5 tsp. mayonnaise with 1 tsp. sriracha)

Instructions

  1. Steam brown rice and quinoa bag according to package instructions. Divide into two bowls.
    1. Divide and place remaining ingredients on top except spicy mayo, into the bowls. Finish with a 1 tablespoon drizzle of spicy mayonnaise over each bowl.

Everything but the Bagel Steamed Edamame

This steamed edamame dish is a protein-rich veggie snack.

Ingredients

  • 12-ounce bag edamame
  • 2 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 4 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Steam edamame according to package instructions. Place in a bowl covered with a paper towel.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine with other ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon on top of steamed edamame. Store the rest of the mixture in an airtight container to enjoy on avocado toast, scrambled eggs and more.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. See more at AHealthierMichigan.org.

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