Any fan of Japanese food will recognize Edamame as the appetizer that’s been served to them pre-sushi for decades – but in recent years, these little green beans have had a serious makeover and gone from side-dish to superfood superstar thanks to how much of a boost they can give to your health. Since edamame is green soybeans, it has been part of the debate over the suitability of soy products for certain individuals and dietary choices, but barring those particular conditions, as long as it’s not consumed raw and it’s prepared in a way that could remove any potential toxins, edamame can provide plenty of health benefits. This low-calorie ingredient is a vegan source of protein, don’t raise blood sugar, and are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin K, iron, copper, and manganese.
How do you use it?
In Japanese cuisine, edamame is traditionally served steamed or boiled, and typically then flavoured with a little salt. The beans can also be roasted, and like any other bean, can be delicious when flavoured with a whole variety of spices during the cooking process. Much like a bag of nuts, edamame prepared in this way can be used as an easy on-the-go crunchy snack. Edamame can also be consumed in the form of pasta or noodles, with many health-focused companies now creating products such as edamame pasta as an alternative to traditional wheat- or gluten-free pasta. They can also be made into a dip that’s similar to guacamole – just be sure to cook them first!
In Japanese, the word “edamame” means “beans on a branch” or “twig bean”. Soybeans are one of the highest natural sources for dietary fibre, and soybean is also used in large number of industrial processing products, from soy ink to candles, animal feed, and even as a more environmentally-friendly fuel alternative for diesel engines.