Good For You: Edamame

According to, the price of meat, chicken, fish and eggs is soaring globally. Here in Canada, meat prices alone have risen 7% in just the past  year. That has sent a lot of consumers—including your “Good For You” reviewer—searching for vegetarian alternatives to these costly sources of protein.

Thankfully, I have discovered Edamame. (pronounced Eda-mamy) Eda-whaty you ask?  Allow me to enlighten you.  Edamame are immature green soybeans, grown as a vegetable. Popular for thousands of years in Asia, the brilliant green pods are grown just to the point where they are edible—this renders them remarkably fresh and flavorful as well as highly nutritious.  While they are a relatively new item on the food scene in Canada, they are creating a decided “buzz” among Canuck foodies—for good reason.  Edamame are not only delicious and easy to prepare, they also pack a nutritional punch  unrivaled in the plant world. A mere ½  cup serving provides, on average, 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, .3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and a bevy of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, B1, C and K; copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and phosphorous.In addition, edamame are chock-full of two phytoestrogens—genestein and daidezein—compounds proven to have anti-inflammatory, bone-building and chemo-protective properties. Not surprisingly, recent studies confirm this powerhouse mix of nutrients can help reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, age-related cognitive decline, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Health benefits and economy aside, I must sheepishly confess that what really tempted me to buy my first package of edamame was the taste of Mother Nature Market‘s house-made wild rice and edamame salad. I was lucky enough to be shopping at MNM on a day when they were offering customers small samples of this delicious Asian inspired creation. (they also make a fabulous black bean/edamame salad)  Impressed by edamame’s unique fresh, smoky “pea-like” flavor I decided to get myself a package so I could recreate similar scrumptious treats at home.

So off to the freezer section I went, where I selected a bag of  MacKellar Farms, Canadian grown non-gmo shelled edamame.  It’s important to note that most of the edamame sold in Canada is grown in China and IS NOT guaranteed to be free of genetically modified organisms. THAT is why I love the MacKellar Farms brand—the family grows gmo free soybeans using sustainable farming practices on their award winning farm in Ontario.  Another key factor to note when buying edamame—they come frozen; either still in the pod, or shelled. I opted for the “shelled” variety as I assumed they would provide ease of preparation and more “bang for my buck”.

After having made edamame my kitchen “muse” for the past few weeks I can happily add another positive adjective to their profile—they are unbelievably versatile. You can, of course, simply steam or boil them and top with lemon and butter for a delightful side dish. However, I urge you to get creative and go beyond simple preparations by pureeing them and using them as a base to make everything from green hummus to falafels,veggie burgers and sublime bean spreads! They can also add intrigue to soups, stews, pilafs casseroles and pasta dishes.

I personally love them sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan cheese and baked in the oven till golden brown.  In addition, I am also partial to a new pasta dish they inspired me to create—a creamy melange of whole grain penne, mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and edamame. (see recipe below)

Why not let these health-enhancing, delicious, budget-friendly super-food beans inspire you? You will be doing your body, taste buds AND pocket book a great service.


Whole grain penne with lemon and edamame

Serves 4


400 grams whole wheat penne (or pasta of your choice)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 spring onions finely chopped

250 grams mascarpone cheese

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup shelled edamame

1 cup chopped green beans or aparagus tips

1 small handful of chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste


Cook-the penne in a  large saucepan of boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat and fry the onions for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the mascarpone, lemon juice, edamame, green beans and most of the basil (save some for garnish) Season with salt and pepper and stir for 1-2 minutes until bubbling.

Drain the pasta reserving about 3 tbsp of the cooking water. Stir the pasta and reserved liquid into the creamy edamame mix. Serve immediately, garnished with the extra basil.

MacKellar Farm’s non-gmo edamame is available at:

Mother Nature’s Market-240 Cook St.

Lifestyle Markets-2950 Douglas Street.

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