Cool, hip, and beautiful from every angle, edamame is the supermodel of the frozen vegetable world. People who shun all other frozen vegetables proudly display their edamame bags in supermarket carts and proffer it as a sophisticated nibble at dinner parties.
Edamame is a specialty variety of soybean harvested while still green. Because they are immature, the beans have a crisp-firm bite and a fresh, clean flavor. Frozen edamame is widely available in at supermarkets these days; you can find it both in the pod or shelled. The whole pods are most often eaten as a snack (you may have had them in a Japanese restaurant); the pods are lightly cooked in salted boiling water and then only the beans are eaten by pushing them directly from the pods into your mouth
While the pods are fun for snacking, it’s the shelled edamame that most excite me because they can be added to all manner of dishes, including salads, soups, stir-fries; even plain as a side dish with little more than salt and pepper.
Taste and convenience aside, there’s the matter of nutrition. The other vegetables I have discussed this month are health stars in their own right, but in comparison to edamame, they look scrawny and knock-kneed.
Just take a look at the stats: a 1/2 cup of shelled edamame (or 1 and 1/8 cup edamame in the pods) has a mere 110 calories, most of which come from protein (11 grams worth). They further boast the following:
9 grams fiber (that’s about the same as 4 slices of whole grain bread)
10% of the Daily Value for vitamin C
10% Daily Value for iron
8% Daily Value for vitamin A
4% Daily Value for calcium
The first edamame recipe I’m sharing is one I make often because it is so simple and tastes great: a succotash-inspired salad made with quinoa (a super-amazing grain!).
Succotash has two primary ingredients: lima beans and corn. But far superior succotash is as simple as substituting shelled edamame for the lima beans. When held up for direct comparison in terms of both taste and texture, the lima is the Yugo of the bean world; edamame, the BMW.
As my husband so aptly put it the other night, “edamame takes the suck out of succotash.” Thank you, darling; I couldn’t have said it better myself.
This is a very flexible recipe; you can vary the seasonings and the vegetables to taste (except for the corn and edamame—although I was running short on the edamame the other night and added some canned white beans; I will repeat in future).