Another winter week, another auto-pilot stroll through the frozen vegetables section of the supermarket. Green beans, yawn. Peas and carrots, no thank you. Broccoli? Eyes roll.
Here's a suggestion: edamame. The gently fuzzed, whole-pod versions of young soybeans are widely known as steamed-and-salted bar snacks. But their pealike seeds — which bear a slight resemblance to lima beans and manage to hold much of their buttery texture, delicately sweet flavor and Granny Smith apple color when frozen — make for a delicious and colorful addition to routine winter cooking.
Better still, leaving someone else to do the shelling makes them as convenient — and as versatile — as any other more familiar frozen vegetable, just slightly more exotic. And flexible they are, standing in for peas and fava beans in salads, succotashes, pastas and other dishes.
Another bonus: They're high in protein, fiber and B vitamins.
Then there's the name. Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-meh) means "branched bean" in Japanese, and it's a much sexier way of saying "green soybean" or "Asian pea," right?
Orange, edamame tofu stir fry
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly minced peeled ginger root
1 bunch asparagus, cut into pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
1 cup (about 5 ounces) frozen shelled edamame
1 package (3½ ounces) sliced shiitake mushrooms
½ cup sliced green onions
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
In small bowl, mix ¾ cup water, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and crushed red pepper; reserve.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook 5 minutes, turning often, until golden. Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 seconds. Remove.
Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add asparagus, peppers, edamame and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add orange juice mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in tofu and green onions, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if desired, and serve immediately over brown rice. Serves 4.
Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 11 g. fat, 470 mg. sodium, 20 g. carbohydrates, 247 mg. calcium, 19 g. protein, 0 cholesterol, 7g. dietary fiber.
From The Woman's Day Everyday Cookbook by the editors of Woman's Day
Edamame, green bean, chickpea salad
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces (about 2½ cups) frozen shelled edamame
1 can (19 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile, including seeds, or to taste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (cook in dry, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until they are fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.)
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Cook green beans in large pot of salted boiling water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use wire skimmer or slotted spoon to immediately transfer beans to large bowl of ice water. When beans are cool, transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Return water to a boil and cook edamame until crisp-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer edamame to a bowl of ice water. When edamame are cool, drain and transfer to paper towels to dry.
Pat green beans dry and transfer to large bowl. Pat edamame dry and add to green beans. Stir in chickpeas.
Using side of a large, heavy knife, mash garlic and ½ teaspoon salt into a paste. Transfer garlic paste to blender. Add cilantro, serrano chile, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin seeds and cayenne, and blend, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth. Add dressing to beans, season with salt and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for one hour to allow flavors to blend. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (10 servings): 194 calories, 11 g. fat, 176 mg. sodium, 18 g. carbohydrates, 65 mg. calcium, 8 g. protein, 0 g. cholesterol, 6 g. dietary fiber.
From Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl
Orzo, edamame and shrimp sauté
2 cups orzo
4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
4 green onions, trimmed and very finely chopped
10 ounces (about 2 cups) frozen shelled edamame defrosted
1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably tamari
2 to 4 teaspoons freshly grated peeled ginger root
In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook orzo until al dente (tender but firm), about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and green onions; toss until shrimp turn uniformly pink, about 2 minutes. Add edamame, cooked orzo and cilantro; toss until edamame are warmed through. Add soy sauce, scraping bottom of pan. Remove pan from heat, add ginger and mix well. Orzo should be creamy; if not, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and toss again. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 600 calories, 20 g. fat, 1,550 mg. sodium, 66 g. carbohydrates, 150 g. calcium, 38 g. protein, 175 g. cholesterol, 8 g. dietary fiber.
From Vegetable Loveby Barbara Kafka
10 ounces (about 2 cups) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
½ cup or more cream or milk
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground white pepper
In blender or food processor, combine edamame with cream or milk, and purée until smooth (add additional cream or milk to desired consistency). Transfer purée to medium bowl, stir in lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or crostini. Makes 1 cup.
Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons: 64, calories, 4 g. fat, 8 g. sodium, 4 g. carbohydrates, 39 mg. calcium, 4 g. protein, 6 g. cholesterol, 2 g. dietary fiber.
From Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus by Lee Svitak Dean