The Joy of Soy featured in Blackbelt Gazette



Every trip to the dairy and frozen dessert section of our local grocer is done with wishful thinking. Weekly I mosey on down the aisle to the coolers and grab my family's favorite carton of Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk then anxiously scan the yogurt section hoping to find some soy yogurt. Low and behold, it has arrived! I was literally dancing in the dairy section. I may have even been spotted skipping out of the frozen dessert section after picking up my beloved Soy Delicious Vanilla ice cream.

Why am I so crazy about soy? The medical community has often referred to soy as the miracle food. Of all plants, it has the highest amount of protein, complete with all essential amino acids, low in carbs, high in fiber, a good source of calcium, and so much more. It’s an even greater source of phytosterols and phytoestogens. For those with high cholesterol, phytosterols reduce blood cholesterol levels. Phytoestrogens reduce the risks of estrogen-related cancers, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, menstrual and menopausal symptoms as well as cardiovascular disease. Talk about a superfood! Tofu is almost tasteless upon seasoning. So, it can be incorporated into almost any meal. Thus, we have such a large variety of soy products.

My favorite soy products:

1. Edamame. These fresh soy beans can be eaten straight from the pod, boiled, added to stews or salads, or used in stir-fry. The shell is inedible. They have a buttery, cashew like flavor alone, but takes on the flavor of any dish.

2. Tofu. Silken tofu is great for smoothies, ice cream, cheesecakes. Firm and extra firm are used more often for stir-fry, tofu scrambles, meat analogues (Boca, Morningstar products). Tip: Tofu submerged in water loses its freshness one week before the expiration date. Drain thoroughly before cooking.

3. Tempeh. A mixture of soy beans fermented with a fungus that binds it giving it a meaty texture and mushroom like flavor. It is also used in stir-fry as well a meat alternative for beef and bacon.

4. Textured vegetable protein or TVP. These defatted soybeans are chopped into chunks or minced, and substituted in dishes that call for ground beef. Much like tofu, its flavor depends on what you use to season it. You can use it for nacho supreme, ground beef, meat balls, veggie burgers.

5. Soy flour, replacing ¼ cup of the flour to your recipe gives all the benefits and absorbs fat in fried foods.

My fast and favorite soy recipes:

Homemade soy ice cream

¾ cup soy milk

1/3 cup maple syrup or agave

2 tsp vanilla (1 Tbsp for plan vanilla tofu)

1 box Mori Nu Tofu or 8 oz firm silken tofu

Combine all ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Add any flavors or fruit you like either blended or added later into your ice cream machine. Follow your ice cream machine instructions

Basic Tofu Scamble Recipe

1 Tbsp oil

½ carton extra firm tofu drained and pressed on paper towels to get rid of excess moisture, crumbled with hand

½ tsp curry powder or ¼ tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp Italian seasoning or a pinch of parsley, thyme, and basil

½ Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (opt)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat, add oil when it’s hot, then add tofu. Sautee for 3-5 minutes then add seasonings in order. Turn heat off and remove skillet from burner before adding Nutritional yeast. Scallions, mushrooms, celery, whatever else you want to add throw it in prior to tofu.

Sloppy No’s

1 ½ - 2 cups TVP or Morningstar Meal Starters Griller’s Original Crumbles

1 ½ - 2 cups boiling water (not needed if using meal starter )

1 sloppy joe mix/sauce

Buns

Once water comes to a rolling boil add TVP, remove from heat, stir, and cover. Stir again in 2 ½ minutes then add the mix/sauce. Simmer on low/medium then add to bun and serve when hot.

If using Meal Starter Crumbles, Follow package instructions.

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