White in colour, and is a cholesterol-free, dairy-free, low-sodium source of high-quality protein. It’s thought to be the most consumed soy product in the world!
It comes in numerous light flavours, but readily absorbs the flavours of marinades and other foods it’s mixed with. It’s also available in many textures; soft or silken tofu is suitable for dips and creamed soups, while firm tofu is either used in stews, or crumbled to replace ground meat.
Tofu comes baked, smoked, marinated, and crumbled. Although it’s usually vacuum-packed, it’s also available in bulk, dehydrated or frozen form. Fresh tofu smells slightly sweet and has distinctive flavours, and therefore should be eaten shortly after purchasing.
Also known as soybean curd, 150 g or 175 mL (3/4 cup) is listed as 1 serving in the “Meat and Alternatives” section of Canada’s Food Guide.
Ever wonder how it’s made? Whole soybeans are soaked, and then ground, cooked and strained. The final stage gives two products: soymilk, which is the liquid fraction, and okara, the solid fraction. A coagulant is added to the hot soymilk to form curds, similar to the way cottage cheese is made from cow’s milk. The curds are then pressed into blocks to form tofu. Voilà.
In their various forms are lactose-free, and likely the easiest soy products to add to your diet! 250 mL (1 cup) of fortified soy beverage is listed as 1 serving in the “Milk and Alternatives” section of Canada’s Food Guide.
As well as quenching your thirst, soy beverages can be used in your morning cereal, or substituted for low-fat dairy milk in most recipes. They’re available in a wide variety of flavours to suit every taste, and come in both shelf-stable aseptic cartons and fully-enriched refrigerated varieties.
(pronounced eh-duh-MAH-may) are green soybeans, a popular item found in Japanese cuisine. Edamame are buttery and sweet with a naturally high sugar content. They’re very easy to prepare; steam them, and then serve tossed with a bit of salt and/or butter. They can be shelled before or after cooking.
SOY-BASED, NON-DAIRY PRODUCTS
Important for lactose-intolerant consumers. Frozen desserts, soy-based yogurts, cheddar-flavoured soy slices, and soy parmesan-style products are just a few of the dairy alternative products on the market.
Range from ground meat-style crumble and veggie dogs, to deli slices and flavoured chunks for stir-fries. They’re made primarily from soy proteins, but a few are derived from tofu. The quality, nutritional value and variety of these products are impressive!
They can be cooked relatively quickly for convenient preparation of meals – and flavours and spices are typically added to these dishes to enhance sensory qualities.
TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN (TSP)
Often called texturized vegetable protein, is made from defatted soy flour that is compressed, and then processed into granules or chunks. It’s sold as a dried product, and is 50 to 70% protein.
The wide array of soy protein ingredients, when re-hydrated, resemble cooked ground beef or poultry in texture, and may be used to replace the meat in spicy dishes such as chili or tacos, or to extend the protein content in your favourite meat-based meals.
To prepare it, combine equal amounts of boiling water and TSP and let stand for a few minutes. For extra flavour, use broth or salad dressing as the liquid.
Made from roasted soybeans that have been ground into a fine powder, can be used in small quantities in almost every baked product. The taste of soy flour varies from a “beany” flavor to a sweet and mild one, depending on how it’s processed.
It’s a gluten-free protein booster, and it brings moisture to baked goods, as well as providing the basis for some soymilks and textured vegetable protein. This versatile ingredient improves the taste and texture of many common foods and often reduces the fat absorbed in fried foods.
Because soy flour doesn’t contain gluten, it cannot replace wheat flour entirely. If you’re able to digest gluten and you’re just aiming to cut down, try replacing 15% of wheat flour with soy flour. Soy flour can additionally be used to thicken sauces and gravies.
A sweet, flavourful paste made from fermented soybeans, used to enhance the taste of sauces, soups, dips, marinades, dressings and main dishes. It comes in a variety of flavours, textures, colours and aromas, and can take the place of both salt and soya sauce in a recipe.
Miso is used extensively in Japanese cooking, and is usually added at the end of the cooking process; it’s best to stir it into soups just before removing from the heat. For a tasty instant soup, mix 15 mL of miso into 250 mL of hot water.
A traditional Indonesian food, is a fermented soybean cake that is tender and chewy. It has an overall firm texture and distinctive mushroom-like flavour. Tempeh can be marinated and grilled, or crumbled and added to soups, casseroles or chili.
The world’s leading source of edible oil. It’s low in saturated fat, rich in essential fatty acids, an excellent source of vitamin E, and, like all plant fats, contains no cholesterol!
Made from fermented, salted soybeans and is rice’s favourite companion. Gourmet, low-salt Canadian soya sauces are now available.
WHOLE ROASTED SOYBEANS
Also known as soynuts, and they may be oil-roasted or dry-roasted. They’re available plain, salted and in a variety of other flavours. A tasty and convenient snack food, they’re loaded with all of the benefits of soybeans. A 1/4 cup (50 mL) serving contains 15 g of soy protein.
Made from roasted soybeans. It has a similar taste and texture to peanut butter, without the common allergy concerns. It also has significantly less total and saturated fat than peanut butter, is cholesterol-free, and offers 7 grams of beneficial soy protein per serving. Soynut butter is now used as a peanut butter alternative in schools and camps.
WHOLE DRY SOYBEANS
Tan in colour, and are the mature seeds born in pods. They’re prepared and used in ways similar to other dried beans and peas.
These beans are available in natural food stores and select supermarkets, often sold bagged, or in bulk bins. Cooked yellow soybeans come in cans, and their flavour is quite mild.
To prepare, they must be soaked, and then cooked or roasted before being used in recipes. After they’re cooked, they can be added to soups, stews, salads – you name it!