Soy beans are real superheroes of the food world – containing fibre, protein and essential fatty acids, these little green beans are powerful allies.
While fans of Japanese food have long raved about the pleasure of nibbling on a bowl of these fresh from the pod (known as edamame beans) even those of us who don’t see the appeal of whole beans can enjoy the benefits of soy in a variety of tasty ways.
A Very Versatile Bean
One of the greatest benefits of soy is its versatility – the beans can be eaten whole or turned into ‘tofu’ or bean curd – which in turn can be used to make nutritious meat-free sausages and burgers or used in stir-fries and salads. Moreover, the beans can be processed to make a kind of milk and today’s sophisticated soy-milk production lines have managed to create a smooth, tasty milk that can be enjoyed on its own, sweetened, or in flavours such as vanilla or chocolate.
Soy for Dairy Free Diets
For anyone following a dairy free diet, whether it’s because of a dairy allergy or because you want to cut down on animal based foods, soy is a real life saver. The milk tastes great with cereal, coffee or in fruit smoothies and the soy drink can also be used to create yummy treats such as dairy-free ice cream and desserts. Soy can also be used to create cheese and even meat substitutes, as its neutral flavour and versatile texture lends itself well to soaking up the flavours of any added seasoning. If you’re following a dairy free diet, you should always read soy milk, and other product, labels though as some can contain dairy ingredients.
Health conscious types have long been aware of the nutritional properties of soy, but soy-based dishes don’t need to be dull, ‘rabbit food’ style affairs. You can buy many tasty products made with soy and you can also create your own great dishes. With so many people now choosing to follow a dairy free diet, you can find excellent sources of inspiration on ways to incorporate soy into your diet. They can offer a wealth of soy-based recipes ranging from cakes and cookies to savoury pasta dishes, salads and pies.
Soy Milk on the Go
Quality soya milk is an ingredient that plays a key role in many of these recipes, as well as being a quick ‘on the go’ drink that is now increasingly available in cartons – often in tasty flavours such as cappuccino or vanilla. These drinks make great options for using as a base for fruit shakes – simply add your favourite fruit to a soya milk and away you go.
One word of warning though, always read labels as some soya milks can contain dairy ingredients. However, whatever your reasons for turning to soy, you can be certain that this little bean will become a new nutritional best friend thanks to its many uses.
If in any doubt over the suitability of soy for your diet always refer to a health specialist or doctor