Sunday, October 2, 2011

MOFO Day 2 - Soy You Think You can Dance

Soy has been touted as the greatest protein source since sliced bread by many nutritionists and health advocates. Lately it has come under fire because of its estrogenic effects. Personally, I feel that the natural estrogenic compounds found in soy are a lot less harmful than the synthetic hormones, anti-biotics and sub standard feed forced upon the poor animals that end up on the plate; not to mention the increase in food borne illnesses caused by the unsanitary and unhealthy practices the mass meat producers use in their factory farms.

It pays to do your reasearch when you are in search of good sources of soy protein. Highly processed food are generally not the best for you, soy products included. That said, it is best to try and find organic, non-GMO minimally processed soy products for the best health benefits. Definitely stay away from any label that includes hydrolyzed soy protein or soy protein isloate or concentrate as much as you possibly can. Stick with products that are minimally processed like organic tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame. I do use soy milk and soy creamer in some of my recipes, but I tend to stick with the four I mentioned and Tamari or Shoyu sauce for flavor and saltiness (I'm a bit of a saltaholic).

Tofu is probably the most commonly known soy product to the average Joe or Joanne. Rarely do I meet someone who hasn't at least heard of it. Most have either turned their nose up to the innocent 'fu or had it improperly prepared and vowed to never eat it again.  Hopefully many people are lucky enough to have an open mind and mouth and a darn good tofu recipe to try. There are some great vegan cook books out there that can provide you with the tools you need to make a delicious soy based meal.

I was never a big fan of the 'fu myself. But I have really grown to appreciate it's adaptability and flexibility for many recipes. Today's recipe includes tofu in, what I believe, to be its most common form: firm block tofu. This time I used a type I haven't used much in the past. I tried out Wildwood Brand's Tariyaki marinated tofu. It was not bad, but I much prefer to press and marinade my own to get just the flavor I want. More about pressing tofu (and about the many varieties and uses of tofu) in another post.

The recipe I bring to you today was a combination of "what do I have in the fridge?" and "how many proteins can I put in one dish?". Well to answer that I would have to say lots! First we have the soy group: tofu, edamame, miso, and tamari. Lets look at some of the other ingredients. Sesame seeds provide 4.8-6 grams of protein per ounce (toated/raw). If you get the unhulled variety you will gain a good dose of calcium as well. Each serving of soba noodles contains 10g of protein. Many vegetables contain trace amounts of protein as well.

According to's MyPlate application, each serving of The following recipe boasts 34 grams of protein!!! That is well over half the RDA for men or women. Not too shabby for one delicious meatless meal!

Soba - Tofu Protein Packed Awesomeness

2 tablespoons sesame oil divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic minced
1 cup edamame, thawed
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces, about 1 cup
3 green onions, sliced at an angle white and green parts separated.
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch bok choy, cut into bite sized pieces, about 3 cups
Miso Sauce (recipe below)
6 oz soba noodles, cooked according to package directions, rinsed with cold water to stop cooking.
2 tablespoons un-hulled sesame seeds (you can use regular if that is what you have)

Make miso sauce first. In large wok or saute pan heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium heat. Saute ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high. Add edamame, snow peas bell pepper, white and light green parts of green onion. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until peas and pepper are very slightly soft and turn bright colors. If veggies start sticking and pan is too dry, add a touch of water. Add remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms just start to release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add bok choy and saute until the bok choy is al dente. Gently toss in rinsed soba noodles and miso sauce. Stir until just combined and heated through.

Garnish with sesame seeds and green parts of green onions.

Serve immediately.

Miso Sauce

1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons red miso
1 tablespoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In bowl, combine all ingredients until miso is dissolved. Can store for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tune in tomorrow when I will be talking a bit about how to get your protein on the hiking trail!!


  1. That looks great, and what a protein punch! Thanks for some great information :)

  2. I love tofu when prepared right! This dish sounds delicious.

  3. Proper preparation is so important, otherwise it can really turn you off. It took me a long time to like tofu because I had really nasty versions.