Energizing edamame

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Katie Scarvey
There are some foods that leave one feeling completely satisfied and energized, and no, I’m not talking about Carolina pork barbecue.
If you’re looking for a quality fuel for your body, edamame is an excellent choice.
Edamame (pronounced edda-mah-may) is really just a fancy name for boiled green soybeans. These don’t sound particularly yummy, I realize, but they’re actually quite wonderful.
They have a pleasant, slightly nutty taste, but the best thing about edamame for me is that when I eat it for lunch, I feel like superwoman all afternoon.
After doing some reading about whether or not this feeling is justified, I learned that edamame does in fact contain a lot of things that contribute to sustained energy, including lots of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. It also has plenty of tryptophan, which can improve sleep, elevate mood and even help regulate appetite.
Edamame also contains an essential trace mineral called molybdenum, which is said to enhance concentration. It’s also packed with folate, considered a natural mood booster.
You can buy edamame in the pod or already shelled, which is my preferred form. For snacking, however, edamame in the pod works nicely. While doing a healthy home cooking story a while back at the home of pediatrician Chris Magryta and his nutritionist wife, Nicole, I noticed that their young children enjoying edamame as a pre-dinner snack. Just toss the pods into salted, boiling water for five minutes. Pop them right out of the pods into your mouth — but don’t eat the pods themselves.
Edamame is more widely available now than it used to be, although it’s still not a common item at farmers markets. You can, however, find edamame at McDonald’s as a topping on the Asian salad.
This recipe for Roasted Edamame Salad comes from Alton Brown. I haven’t made this exact concoction, but I’m pretty confident that this recipe will be a winner, especially with fresh, local tomatoes and corn.
Roasted Edamame Salad
— Alton Brown
12 ounces fresh or frozen shelled edamame, about 2 cups
1/2 C. fresh corn kernels, about 2 ears of corn
1/4 C. finely diced scallion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 C. chopped fresh tomato
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the edamame, corn, scallion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a 13 by 9 metal pan and stir to combine. Place on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the edamame begins to brown. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator until completely cool, approximately 30 minutes.
Add the tomato, basil and vinegar to the edamame mixture and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
• • •
I happen to love the taste of falafel, so I tried the following recipe recently. I was impressed with how easy and good it was. It’s baked, so it’s lighter and healthier than the regular fried version.
I added a little bit of olive oil to this recipe, and I think that next time I’ll also add some crushed garlic.
You could also easily form burgers with this mixture.
Edamame and Chickpea Falafel
— London Foodie in New York (londonfoodieny.com)
6 ounces chickpeas, about 1 cup
9 ounces shelled edamame, about 1 1/2 cups (you can boil them firstor use straight from the freezer if you want)
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
large handful cilantro sprigs, rough chopped (including stalks)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. whole wheat flour (or plain)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Tip into a bowl and then form into 12 balls. Place them on a nonstick baking tray and mist with an oil spray to get the outsides extra crispy
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crispy. Serve in salads or stuffed into pitas with spring greens and fresh veggies — tomatoes and cucumbers would be wonderful.
A yogurt sauce with some cucumber and dill would top this off nicely.