Going Green

Everyone knows the phrase "Going Green", and I only mean it here in a half "Going Green" way. More on that in a second.

Today, I decided I wanted something bright, light and, well, green! I have been holding onto Alton's Edamame Dip for quite some time now without ever really trying it before. Most of the time when I post about something, I usually give it multiple goes before I actually commit to blogging about it. In this case, I made an exception because it was so simple, and in most cases you already have what you need if you are an edamame fan.

Soy beansFirst, a brief interlude about the importance of soy protein. I am lactose intolerant, and I swear by soy milk. If you haven't tried it (even if you're not lactose intolerant) give it a go. It's so good for your body. It's one of life's few complete plant proteins with all the essential amino acids your body needs. Amino acids have oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen, all of which are super important building blocks for maintaining your body. Soy also contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to your diet because your body can't make them! I won't bore you with more detail than that, but bottom line is that you need amino acids and omegas in your diet, and soy has it! 

Alton (and Kristin's) Edamame Dip
14 oz (two 16oz bags in-the-shell) of edamame
1/4 cup roughly diced onion
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
1 large sliced garlic clove
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon of brown miso (optional, really, I don't even taste it in mine)
1 teaspoon (minimum) of kosher salt or to taste
1 teaspoon red chili paste (this just brings heat, so feel free to use red pepper flake if you don't have this)
Freshly ground pepper
A couple drops of sesame oil (optional, don't go overboard! It's strong stuff!)
5 tablespoons (minimum) of olive oil

Our journey begins with two frozen 16 oz (1lb) bags of in-the-shell edamame, which ends up being just over 14 oz of shelled soy beans (we'll get to why we're using in the shell in a minute). Start by following the instructions on the bag for thawing. I put two bags in the microwave for 6 minutes on high, or until they were warm enough to handle without being too hot. Some parts of the bag were still frozen, this is not a big deal.

Put a pot of water on to boil (enough to handle all the deshelled edamame you've got, I used a 2.5 quart saucepan filled 2/3 of the way up with water) and add about a tablespoon or so of salt. De-shell your edamame, and do not discard the shells! (I'm getting to it, I swear!) Once they're de-shelled, drop them into the boiling water and bring back to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain and dump the green gems into a food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and pulse for several seconds. Scrape down the sides. Then, turn the food processor on and drizzle in the olive oil. Let it go until it's thick and just slightly chunky (but not big chunks). Give it a taste. I added more lime juice and salt to mine, but your's may be good as it is. Its a great recipe for this time of year because I am starting to desperately miss warm weather, and this is a nice, bright reminder that it's not too far off. Plus, it's like, ridiculously healthy for you. 

As for those shells...well, you got a compost pile don'tcha? Don't throw them out, they are gardening gold! Same goes for the papery stuff that came off the onion you just chopped, and those limes! Get them into your compost pile for the upcoming planting season. You'll be rewarded with wormy, composty goodness for your little plants. Its just the nutritional boost they need to get started, and you'll feel better because you're not contributing so much waste to your local landfill, right? Go green! =)

For more information on the nutritional benefits, and warnings (because some people may be allergic to soy products), visit the following websites:
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Mayo Clinic
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Also, here's Alton's original recipe in case you're interested in seeing the difference (there's also a video for how to make the recipe): Edamame Dip

Thanks to clinuvel.com for the lovely picture of the soybeans in a bowl! Grazie!


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