Guest blog by Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™
With summertime now in full swing, it’s the perfect time to bust out the barbeque. And I’m not talking about grilling traditional hamburgers and hot dogs. Aside from being high in saturated fat and cholesterol – two components of animal foods that can take a toll on your cardiovascular health – evidence now reveals that some forms of cooking and processing meats, such as grilling and smoking, can produce compounds which are related to inflammation and diabetes.
That’s why I’m all about promoting plant-powered foods that are good and good-for-you. Enter soy. This plant-powered superfood is near perfect, with rich sources of high-quality protein, fiber, 12 essential nutrients, and phytochemicals – all linked with health protection. Soyfoods are prime for the barbecue, perfect for picnics, and sure to satisfy all members of the family.
Here are 5 delicious ways you can enjoy soy during your outdoor get-togethers this summer:
- Take it to-go for an outdoor adventure. Pack edamame in a mason jar for a quick an easy snack when you’re hitting the beach or going on a hike with family or friends. The fiber and protein in edamame is a winning combo when it comes to keeping you satisfied in between meals.
- Prepare a simple salad for an outdoor picnic. Try my recipe for Endive Salad with Edamame and Pea Shoots to start. It’s so satisfying, yet doesn’t sit too heavy on those extra hot days.
- Keep it simple for potlucks. The last thing I want to do on hot summer days is spend too much time inside. That’s why I love having a few recipes in my back pocket to call upon when I need something in a cinch. The flavors in this simple dish for Baked Tofu with Pesto and Quinoa are sure to please any crowd, and can transform your meat-loving friends into tofu-loving advocates!
- Put it on the grill. Since tofu has a mild flavor, you have the luxury of flavoring it anyway you want! There are tons of delicious marinades floating all over the web, but my personal favorites are those that call on the plant-powered flavors of herbs and spices, such as these Thai Tofu Kebobs.
- Sip it up. During the season known for spending long hours in the sunshine, staying adequately hydrated is more important than ever. That’s why I love turning to smoothies; they not only pack in some serious nutrition, they also help me meet my fluid needs. My favorite smoothie is perfect for summertime: combine 3 cups watermelon, 1 cup soymilk, 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 basil leaf, and 2 ice cubes. Blend until well mixed. It’s enough to make two servings – one for now and one for later!
By using soy products in your summertime recipes, you’re not only giving your family the gift of delicious food, you’re also giving them the gift of health. So dish up and enjoy plant-powered meals featuring soy with your family.
Here’s a simple, delicious recipe from my latest book, Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes. It is sure to fuel your active lifestyle this summer.
Recipe: Curried Tofu Papaya Wraps
Active preparation time: 18 minutes
Total preparation time: 48 minutes (including chilling time)
Now this is what I call healthy, delicious eating on the run! Filled with a colorful, flavorful tofu, papaya, and coconut filling, this wrap is a delicious treat as an appetizer or for lunch. Stock up on powerful nutrients, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber, and protein in this meal-in-one.
Makes 6 servings (one 9-inch wrap each)
- ½ cup (119 g) canned light coconut milk (well mixed before measured)
- 1½ teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (see Notes)
- One 12-ounce (340 g) package extra firm tofu, drained and cubed (pressed, for best results—see page 000)
- 1 medium papaya, peeled and diced
- ½ cup (48 g) chopped green onions, white and green parts
- ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh cilantro
- Pinch of sea salt, optional
- Six 9-inch (23 cm) whole grain tortillas or wraps
- 3 cups (102 g) fresh watercress, or baby salad greens, if unavailable
1. Mix together the coconut milk, curry paste, ginger, garlic, turmeric, soy sauce, and cayenne in a mixing bowl until smooth.
2. Fold in the tofu, papaya, green onions, and cilantro. Taste and season with sea salt, if desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or overnight, if desired).
3. Place one tortilla on a cutting board. Spread ½ cup of the tofu mixture down the center of the tortilla in a row. Top with ½ cup of the watercress.
4. Fold the right side of the tortilla over the center and start to wrap tightly, pressing in as you wrap. Place the wrap on a serving dish seam side down.
5. Serve as a whole wrap for an individual meal (cut in half for easier eating), or slice into thin pinwheels for an appetizer.
Notes: Adjust the spiciness of the wraps by increasing the cayenne pepper.
Store the curried tofu wraps in plastic wrap or in an airtight container as a perfect lunch to go.
If you won’t be consuming all of the wraps at one time, reserve the filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator and prepare the wraps no more than four hours before serving time to prevent the greens from wilting and the wrap from getting soggy.
Variation: If papaya is not available, substitute 1 large mango or 2 large peaches.
Nutrition per Serving: 213 calories, 10 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 256 mg sodium
Star Nutrients: folate (10% DV), vitamin C (80% DV), vitamin A (30% DV), calcium (19% DV), iron (14% DV), magnesium (10% DV), niacin (11% DV), phosphorus (21% DV), thiamin (17% DV), zinc (10% DV)
From Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes Copyright © 2014 Sharon Palmer
Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered For Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes is now in stores!