Not a day goes by that I am not asked about soy and the role they play in healthy eating. There are all sorts of wild and crazy rumors circulating the internet: soy will make your brain shrink; make men impotent; prevent babies from developing and contribute to cancer.
Ay, ay, ay…as I often say!
The truth is simple. Organic, traditional soyfoods, like tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso and soy sauce are of tremendous benefit to human health. Just ask the cultures that enjoy them and love some of the longest and healthiest lives in the world…hello Okinawa!
Check this out!
What Okinawans Eat
"Most traditional Okinawans, eat mainly vegetarian diets. Their meals may include stir-fried vegetables, tofu, sweet potatoes, and Goya (often translated as "bitter melon"), a vegetable extremely popular as a symbol of Okinawan health food....While centenarian Okinawans occasionally eat some pork, it is traditionally reserved only for ceremonial celebrations and consumed in very small amounts. The Okinawan diet is rich with soy based foods such as tofu and miso soup."
"The average citizen consumes at least seven servings of vegetables daily, and an equal number of grains (in the form of noodles, bread, and rice - many of them whole grains). Add to this two to four servings of fruit, plus tofu and other forms of soy, green tea, seaweed, and fish rich in omega-3s (three times weekly). Sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, onions, and green peppers are prominent in the diet. Vegetables, grains, and fruits make up 72% of the diet by weight. Soy and seaweed provide another 14%. Meat, poultry, and eggs account for just 3% of the diet, fish about 11%. The emphasis is on dark green vegetables rich in calcium (Okinawans, like other Japanese, don't eat much dairy). Okinawans do drink alcohol, but women usually stick to one drink a day, while men average twice that. Moderation is the key."
So enjoy these delicious soy recipes and relax. This humble bean can only benefit your healthy diet.
This main dish is just yummy. There really is no other way to describe it. It’s packed with nutrients, protein, and hot spice to stimulate circulation, which promotes heart health. It’s easy, versatile, and is just gorgeous.
Makes 3–4 servings
8 ounces tempeh
½ cup spring or filtered water or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Serrano peppers, minced (with seeds for more heat, without seeds for mild taste)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ cup unsweetened low- fat coconut milk
4 whole fresh green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2–3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped*
Place avocado oil to cover the bottom of a flat- bottomed skillet over medium heat. Brown the tempeh on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove tempeh. In the same skillet, add water, soy sauce, garlic, Serranos and ginger. Slice tempeh into strips and add to the skillet. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed into the tempeh, about 3–4 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice and simmer 2–3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
*You may use cilantro in place of the parsley, but I personally hate the taste of cilantro, so I never use it.
Crisp Watercress Salad with Edamame
This salad is brilliant at any time of year and has so much interesting flavor and textures . . . and with watercress being a rich source of vitamin A, C, E, and K, as well as calcium and potassium and at only 11 calories per cup, this peppery green is invaluable to health. And then there’s the edamame, tiny powerhouses of nutrients.
Makes 2–3 servings
¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 bunch watercress, rinsed well, hand shredded into bite- size pieces
1 cup lightly steamed edamame
1 cup pitted olives
Combine dressing ingredients in the bottom of your salad bowl. Add watercress, edamame, olives, and toss to coat ingredients with dressing.
You may use pear or apple slices, unsweetened dried cranberries (in place of edamame), hazelnuts, walnuts, or pine nuts (in place of olives). You can change the salad completely by adding cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.
A healthy twist on our favorite classic Chinese take-out dish. Tofu has a cooling effect on our bodies, as well as being high in protein and calcium--and low in fat. It’s relaxing energy makes it great de-stressing comfort food. The hiziki adds dramatic flavor and lots of minerals; the shiitake gravy cleanses the blood and aids the body in digesting the protein. And the sautéing brings just the right touch of vitality so you don’t relax into the twilight zone...
1 pound extra firm tofu, finely crumbled
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milk
1 cup mung bean sprouts
½ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
6-8 fresh scallions, minced
1/3 cup soaked hiziki, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, brushed free of dirt and thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated, juice extracted
several snow peas, trimmed, lightly blanched for garnish
1 small onion, diced
5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until tender, thinly sliced
3 cups spring or filtered water
2 teaspoons kuzu or arrowroot, dissolved in small amount of cold water
Crumble the tofu as finely as you can. Mix in the flour and almond milk, creating a thick batter. Fold in sprouts, seeds, scallions, hiziki, mushrooms, ginger juice and soy sauce to taste. The batter should be fairly stiff, so you may need to add flour if it feels too wet or soft. The batter should be spoonable, but soft.
Pour oil in a deep skillet to just cover the surface and place over medium heat. Drop generous spoons of batter onto the hot skillet--you want to create 3-inch pancake rounds. Cook the pancakes until golden brown, turning carefully to brown both sides. Drain on paper and transfer to a baking sheet. Keep cooked cakes in a warm oven while using the balance of the batter to make more pancakes.
Make the gravy by combining the onion and shiitake with water. Season to taste with soy sauce and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook until the shiitake and onions are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in dissolved kuzu/arrowroot, stirring until gravy thickens and clears. Serve on a bed of whole grain noodles or brown rice, smothered in gravy. Makes 4-6 servings.
Sea Veg Sauté
This dish combines sweet veggies with the strong flavor of arame for a dramatic dish that is rich in valuable calcium in combination with the other minerals we need to absorb and use this valuable nutrient.
Makes 3–4 servings
½ cup arame, rinsed well and left to soften
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 small leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed free of dirt, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, finely julienned matchstick pieces
½ cup fresh or /frozen organic corn kernels
Dry white wine
½ bunch fresh chives, minced
Rinse the arame several times, until the water runs clear-ish. Set aside. In about 5 minutes, the arame will soften enough to cook.
Place a small amount of oil, ginger, and leek in a skillet over medium heat. When the leek begins to sizzle, add a splash of soy sauce and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and corn and spread veggies evenly in the skillet. Top with arame and add enough white wine to half cover the ingredients, and a light seasoning of soy sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the wine has reduced to a syrup.
Remove from heat and stir in chives. Serve hot.
Down- and- Dirty Easy Truffles
These are not totally quick, but they are so easy to make and so delicious. And since most of your time is simply spent waiting for them to set in the fridge, I advise you make them the night before you plan to enjoy them.
Makes 24 truffles
12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
¾ cup unsweetened organic almond milk
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons silken tofu, pureed
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Place a couple inches water in a deep pot and bring to a boil. Place chocolate and rice syrup in a glass bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring almond milk and cinnamon to a gentle boil and pour it over the chocolate. Place the chocolate mixture over the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla and tofu. Cover tightly with plastic and
refrigerate until well set, as long as 3 hours.
When the mixture is set, remove from fridge. Make your hands as cold as possible so you don’t melt the truffles. (Run them under cold water and dry them). Using a teaspoon, take 1 teaspoon of the truffle mixture and form ¾-inch balls and place them on a parchment- lined cookie sheet.
Place the tray of formed truffles in the fridge for 20 minutes. To coat them with cocoa, roll each truffle in your hands for a couple of seconds to warm the surface. Toss in the cocoa powder to coat and return to the baking sheet. Do not worry if there is too much cocoa on the truffles. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes. Shake off any excess cocoa and place each truffle in a miniature foil candy cup.
These will keep, in a sealed container, in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
A simple dessert that can be made with any fruit, it’s satisfying, delicious, antioxidant-rich, and oh,- so- easy to make for any meal.
Makes 4 individual crumbles
½ cup almond meal (purchased or whole almonds ground in a food processor)
2 teaspoons avocado oil
⅓ cup brown rice syrup
2 cups mixed fruit, (fresh or frozen berries, chopped apples, pears, peaches or plums)
2 teaspoons arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil 4 3-inch ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet.
Combine the topping ingredients, mixing by hand to create the texture of wet sand. Set aside.
Mix fruit with arrowroot, rice syrup, and lemon zest, tossing gently to coat the fruit. Spoon fruit evenly into the 4 ramekins. Sprinkle topping over each ramekin covering completely and evenly.
Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned.