3 Tasty Ways to Add Soy to Your Diet

These tips from food expert Mark Bittman will teach you how to transform soy into a delicious, healthy meal.

By Janis Graham from Reader's Digest | May 2009

Edamame SoybeansClive Champion / Foodpix / JupiterimagesIt's not hard to believe the studies touting the health benefits of soy. What's harder to believe is that it can taste good.

Soy’s reputation as a super-food has just gotten more solid: It’s not just good for the heart — it fights cancer too. In a recent study of 68,000 women in China, those who ate a soy-rich diet were 30 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer. And other research, on 14,000 Japanese men, found prostate cancer risk was cut by as much as 40 percent in those with high blood levels of soy compounds known as isoflavones.

No question, soy is well worth eating, especially given the evidence that it also protects bones. What’s harder to believe is that it can taste good. But, says Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, “if you treat soy right, it can be delicious.” His tips:

  • Try edamame — sweet, young soybeans you can keep on hand in your freezer. Buy them hulled for a quick side dish (steam for ten minutes, then sprinkle with Parmesan or splash with soy sauce). Or toss them into stews or pasta dishes.
  • Experiment with miso paste, made from fermented soybeans (find it in the refrigerated section of natural food stores). Add a few teaspoons to soup bases, dips, and marinades for a salty, nutty flavor, or use in place of butter on potatoes or pasta.
  • Transform tofu with this trick: Pat it dry, then freeze solid. As it thaws, it releases liquid, resulting in a chewier, denser texture — perfect for skewering, slathering with barbecue or teriyaki sauce, then grilling. Or marinate, then slow-bake at 350°F for an hour, to give it a firm crust and custardy interior.

Recipes to Try