Savory Swaps with Soyfoods


All soyfood ingredients

Have a beloved recipe? Chances are soyfoods can be swapped into it to add protein and nutrients for a heart-healthy alternative to your favorite foods. For example, tofu is so versatile you can use it as ricotta in lasagna, cream in pumpkin soup or in chocolate mousse. So this holiday season, think about adding soy to family classics for a boost of flavor, color and health – such as edamame in your stuffing recipe or three-bean salad.

The following are some tips for cooking with soyfoods to help get you started:

Dairy-Free Products

Grocery Aisle: refrigerator, freezer or produce section

From cream cheese to cultured soymilk “yogurt,” soyfoods appear throughout the dairy-free spectrum. Both soy sour cream and yogurt work best in dips, toppings and garnishes and also as an ingredient in baked goods, but do not hold up well in stove top cooking. Soy cream cheese works well in all types of recipes, including cooking and baking. As for soy cheeses, there are several options that have different melting characteristics. Those containing casein, a milk protein, melt better and taste “cheesy.” Frozen soyfood desserts can be scooped or eaten on a stick to finish a great meal.


Grocery Aisle: produce or freezer

Edamame, or young soybeans, are fun to eat out of the shell steamed. They can also be added to your favorite recipes for bean salad or even hummus.


Grocery Aisle: produce or international

Because it is a fermented product, miso adds a cheese-like flavor to many foods including soups, sauces, marinades and dressing. Akamiso, which means “red miso,” has a very robust flavor that works best in stir-fries, marinades and simmered dishes that contain strong-flavored fish, poultry, meat or vegetables. Shiromiso, a “white miso,” is less salty and much sweeter, making it especially good for mild-flavored fish and vegetables. And, hatcho miso, strictly a pure soybean paste, is savory-tart and mildly sweet.

Soy Flour

Grocery Aisle: baking or breakfast

Full-fat and low-fat soy flours work best in sweet, rich, baked goods like cookies, soft-yeast breads and quick breads. In these recipes, soy flour will substitute well for 10% to 30% of the wheat or rye flour. Replacing more than 40% of other flours with soy flour is not recommended because soy-rich dough browns faster.

Soy Meat Alternatives

Grocery Aisle: produce or freezer

Having soy meat alternatives in the pantry or freezer is the perfect way to solve the “What’s for dinner?” quandary. Fast preparation is why shoppers love these items, ranging from veggie burgers and hotdogs to chik’n nuggets and deli meats. There are rarely thawing or pre-browning cooking steps since most are pre-cooked.


Grocery Aisle: refrigerator and either beverage or natural products (shelf-stable)

Soymilk works in almost any recipe. For sauces, gravies, soups and other savory dishes, plain, un-sweetened works best. Try adding it to your favorite baked goods or dessert recipe, but note gelatin-based desserts such as instant pudding may not set properly. Of course soymilk works wonders in smoothies.

Soy Nut Butter

Grocery Aisle: with peanut butter

Soy nuy butter substitutes directly for any recipe that calls for peanut or any other nut butter.


Grocery Aisle: produce

Just about any cooking method will work for this incredibly versatile fermented, patty-like product. Use moist heat methods such as simmering, boiling or steaming, and dry heat methods including baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing and pan or deep frying. To microwave, combine 8 ounces of tempeh with 3 tablespoons of water in a covered glass casserole dish and heat on high for five minutes.

Textured Soy Protein

Grocery Aisle: canned goods (dried) and freezer

Textured Soy Protein granules or flakes can be rehydrated in a microwave, by covering the granules with water or stock and cooking on high for about five minutes. A pound of TSP will equal about three pounds of ground beef. Unflavored TSP easily assumes the flavor of other liquids and foods. It combines well with ground meat or poultry, or can be used alone in favorite recipes.


Grocery Aisle: produce

Fresh tofu is great baked, broiled, barbecued, grilled, fried, boiled, or steamed – flavored to your liking, and can be added to or substituted for meat in dishes. Flavored ready-to-eat tofu in the refrigerated section saves time. Also try freezing marinated tofu before cooking to enhance the flavors, thus making it an excellent addition to chili, pot pies and lasagna. Silken, soft and even pourable tofu are great in mousse, pie and soup.


For more detailed information, please visit Cooking with Soyfoods. And be sure to follow us on Facebook for weekly “swapportunities” each Wednesday and on Pinterest for hundreds of recipe ideas.



Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup
(Courtesy of the United Soybean Board)


- 1 tablespoon Soybean oil
- 1 Small onion, diced
- 16 ounces Silken tofu (1 package)
- 15 ounces Pumpkin puree (1 can)
- 1 Medium apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 cups Low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Curry powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 cup Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional) 

Instructions for Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup

Heat soybean oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until soft.

Place onions, tofu, pumpkin, apple, broth, curry powder, pepper and salt in blender.  Puree for 1 minute until smooth.

Return mixture to saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soup begins to gently simmer. Do not boil.  Ladle into bowls; top with pumpkin seeds, if desired.


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