The Power of Soy

The Power of Soy

The Food and Drug Administration says products containing soy protein may lower cholesterol levels, which can lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes.

Until recently in this country, the whole soybean didn’t appear on too many dinner plates, however, that is changing. As exemplified In the newest cookbook manuscript that we’re about to deliver to Simon & Schuster, soybeans are definitely starting to appear in their whole form, especially at trendy restaurants both here and aboard. To a lot of us, though, when soy comes to mind, we think of tofu. It’s true that tofu doesn’t have much flavor, but it absorbs flavors of other foods like a sponge. Use tofu in your favorite recipes like soup, stir-fries, chili, or lasagna in place of and as a way to add protein while reducing the use of animal protein. The tofu will soak up the savory flavors of the surrounding vegetables and sauces to produce a tasty dish.

Soy protein provides antioxidants that can reduce artery-clogging plaque and thus be beneficial for high blood pressure. There is also evidence that soy protein can enhance the body’s ability to retain and better absorb calcium in the bones.

For years, vegetarians have used textured soy protein (or textured vegetable protein), a dehydrated, granular form of soy, as a meat substitute. It is the main ingredient in veggie burgers and other meat-like products. To add soy power to home-baked goods, you can substitute some of the all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with up to 15% soy flour. Soy flour can also be used to thicken sauces and gravies. The more common soy products-tofu, soymilk, soy burgers, and the like—can be found in your local supermarket. For soy flour, soy nuts, textured soy protein, and soy nut butter, look in your health food stores or at mail order sources here on the Internet.

Here’s a great tofu recipe that Bonnie developed for our latest cookbook, The Joslin Healthy Carbohydrate Cookbook (Fireside/Simon & Schuster).:

Vegetable Tofu Kebabs

(makes 4 servings)

12ounces firm tofu, pressed and weighted, cut into cubes
2tablespoons red wine vinegar
2tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground pepper to taste
1medium red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into 8 squares
8small button mushrooms
1small yellow squash, cut into 8 slices
1sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges
  1. Place the tofu in a shallow dish. In a cup, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and pepper. Pour over the tofu and marinate for at least 1 hour, turning to coat each side.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Transfer the tofu to a paper towel to drain. Thread the tofu and vegetagles onto 8 skewers and lightly brush the vegetables with the marinade. Broil, turning the kebabs, until the vegetables are done, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning 4 times.
Per serving:216 calories (42% calories from fat), 11 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 11 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 0 cholesterol, 287 mg sodium, 719 mg potassium
Joslin Choices:1 low-fat protein, 1 carbohydrate (bread/starch), 1 vegetable, 1 fat