If you haven’t found a tasty food item that’s made from soy, then you haven’t been looking very hard. The bean is incredibly versatile – it can be created to resemble many different food-types, notably dairy and meat. But its biggest fans extol its health benefits, which have been well-documented. Studies have shown that soy contains antioxidants – daidzein and genistein – that have an anti-cancer effect. Additionally, it fights osteoporosis and enhances calcium retention. Whether you’re refining your diet or simply enjoy soy products, the food items listed below are excellent additions to your pantry or fridge.
Unlike regular burgers, soy burgers are low in calories and fat. And you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy a Boca Burger, which is perhaps the best-known of the veggie burger category because of its authentic meat-like taste. They’re easy to prepare; just take them out of your freezer and heat them up, and in minutes you’ll be ready to eat like a carnivore.
Looking to pig out on sausage without actually eating the pig? Soy sausage is another excellent food item for new vegetarians who are attempting to phase out meat in their diets. Italian sausages, kielbasas and beer brats made from soy can be enhanced with the additions of sauerkraut, vegetarian beans, barbecue sauce or a bun with ketchup and/or mustard.
Most Westerners are unfamiliar with Tempeh – a food native to Indonesia that’s high in protein and appropriate to eat with a variety of foods. It’s composed of slightly-fermented soybeans that have been cooked, and it’s made into a patty. Sometimes Tempeh is combined with grains and seeds, giving it a unique flavor. It can be used as a meat substitute and a soup, salad or stir-fry add-on.
Tofu has been a staple of the Chinese diet for more than two millennia, and today, it’s a popular food item among Westerners. Made from soy milk, tofu’s best attribute is its ability to absorb the flavor of the foods with which it’s combined. There are numerous tofu recipes, including tofu rice pilaf, tofu sloppy Joes or lasagna.
Soy nuts are a tasty snack that can be made at home during a rainy day. After soaking in water for several hours, simply bake them for 30 to 50 minutes or stick them in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. They’re an excellent source of energy, so stock up on them and eat them when you’re on the go.
- Soy Bars
If you like granola bars, then you’ll enjoy soy bars. They come in a variety of flavors and include large quantities of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids and antioxidant isoflavones. It’s an excellent snack for health-conscious people who prefer to avoid fatty and salty foods in between meals.
Cheese lovers can enjoy the taste of regular cheese without the fat and cholesterol. At your local health food store, you’ll find varying types of soy cheese – like mozzarella, cheddar, American, parmesan, pepper jack and monetary jack – many of which possess the texture and melt-ability of regular cheese.
- Soy (Milk) Shake
Soy shakes are low in fat, high in taste and easy to make. For example, if you crave a strawberry shake, then simply combine two cups of silken tofu, two cups of fresh strawberries, a half-cup of ice, a half-cup of plain soy milk, two tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of jam – and blend. You can also purchase readymade soy shakes from health food grocers.
- Ice Cream
Even if you’re on a dairy-free diet, you don’t have to sacrifice ice cream. Soy ice cream offers all of the flavor that traditional dairy-based ice cream offers, but with less saturated fat. There are a variety of brands that produce soy ice cream, so you can taste test until you find one that best resembles the real deal.
Soy yogurt is abundant in grocery stores, offering a low-fat alternative to dairy-based yogurt. An added benefit of soy yogurt is the presence of lactobacteria, which promote the health of your digestive system and lower your chances of getting colon cancer. Its flavor and nutritional value can be enhanced with the addition of fresh fruit.