Salad made with soy

Edamame and corn salad

Three reasons to celebrate soyfoods month

April 21, 2022 | Joseph Hopper

Soybeans are often called a fuel and food, but they’re so much more. Soy is a sustainable plant protein, a healthy snack, a delicacy and a cold drink, during National Soyfoods Month in April and beyond.

1 // Soy is the original “plant protein”

Soy has all the essential amino acids our bodies need. It’s a complete protein source, and in 1999 the FDA gave soy protein its “heart-healthy claim,” which finds consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day in a healthy diet may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Soy is also a great source of calcium, with the same level of calcium absorption as dairy milk. It’s high in polyunsaturated fats and provides omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

2 // Soy may reduce breast cancer risk

Studies have shown if girls between the ages of 8 and 15 eat one or two servings of soy per day, they may reduce their risk of breast cancer later in life by up to 50%.

“This research is compelling when you start to look at how easy it is to incorporate soyfoods into one’s diet,” says Linda Funk, executive director of The Soyfoods Council. “Edamame is an easy one as is soymilk in the morning with cereal and soynuts. One serving of soynuts is just a quarter cup and it gives you approximately 12 to 14 grams of protein.”

In addition to studies showing the benefits of soy consumption for young girls, some observational studies have found that women who consume soyfoods after a breast cancer diagnosis are less likely to have a recurrence if they’re consuming soy.

“We’ve really come full circle in the breast cancer discussion,” Funk says. “It’s not surprising that the American Cancer Society, Institute of Cancer Research, Canadian Cancer Society and concluded that breast cancer patients can safely consume soy. We’re encouraging young girls to consume one to two servings of soy per day.”

3 // Shelf-stable soyfoods shine

In a world where supply chains and what’s on store shelves continue to be popular subjects of discussions, silken tofu and canned black soybeans are among the most popular shelf-stable options.

Black soybeans look like black beans and taste similar but have more protein and fewer carbohydrates. They go great with salsa and salads and create a delicious black bean dip.

Edamame and Corn Salad

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups cooked shelled edamame
  • 1 ½ cups cooked corn
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper

In a small saucepan, combine vinegars, sugar, cumin, onion powder and garlic. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Place edamame, corn and red pepper in a medium bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables. Stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate1 to 4 hours or until chilled, stirring once.

Shortcut: Use ½ cup bottled balsamic vinegar dressing and add 1 teaspoon of cumin, stir to combine. Pour over edamame, corn and red pepper. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours or until chilled, stirring once.

Yield: 6 servings.

Mexican Veggie Salad

  • 12 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflowerettes
  • 15 ounces black soybeans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 16 ounces shelled edamame
  • 1 package of zesty Italian dressing mix

Prepare corn, edamame and Italian dressing according to package directions. Set each aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the vegetables, toss together. Add dressing, toss lightly. Cover, place in in refrigerator, to marinate overnight.

Yield: 6-8 servings