Simple Swaps with Soyfoods

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 instead of ricotta in lasagna or the cream in your pumpkin soup. Whether you’re preparing dinner for family, entertaining guests, or cooking for one, think about adding soy to your classic dishes to boost their healthfulness and flavor.

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


Soyfoods Month Swapables - tofu versus chicken

Tofu can be added to or substitute meat in a variety of dishes. Flavored, ready-to-eat tofu is often available in the refrigerated section of your grocery store and is great for easy-to-prepare meals.

  • 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 pour-able tofu is great in mousse, pie and soup.
  • Use firm or extra-firm tofu instead of meat for baking, grilling, sauteing and frying. For an even firmer texture, use a tofu press to squeeze out the moisture and give tofu an even meatier texture.

Burgers, Crumbles and Other Meat Alternatives

Soyfoods Month Swapables - Soy Crumbles versus ground beef

Having soy-based meat alternatives in the pantry or freezer is the perfect way to solve the “What’s for dinner” quandary. Try using pre-cooked meat substitutes from your freezer or refrigerator case as they allow for quick preparation.

  • Soy crumbles are perfect for your favorite chili, spaghetti sauce, tacos and more, and contain 75 percent less fat than regular ground beef crumbles, cooked (pan-browned).
  • Veggie burgers are offered in a wide spectrum of flavors and textures. For the most meat-like, Morningstar Farms, Grillers, are full of classic, char-grilled burger flavor and contain 57 percent less fat than regular ground beef.
  • Textured soy protein (TSP), also known as textured vegetable protein (TVP), when re-hydrated resembles cooked ground beef or poultry in texture and may be used alone or with meats to make a wide variety of recipes.


Soyfoods Month Swapables - Soymilk versus Almondmilk

Soymilk works in place of dairy milk in almost any recipe and has more protein than all other milk substitutes. Soymilk contains fewer calories than 2% and whole dairy milk and contains complete protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals equivalent to dairy milk. It also contains the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is not found in dairy milk.

  • Add soymilk or soy yogurt to your smoothies for a great high protein breakfast.
  • For sauces, gravies, soups and other savory dishes, plain, un-sweetened soymilk works best.
  • Soymilk is low in saturated fat so it might not set properly in gelatin- or pudding-based desserts. Add a thickener, like cornstarch, and that will give it the consistency you want.

Dairy Substitutes

If your recipe calls for the use of a dairy product, there’s an excellent chance there is a soy substitute that will give you the same creamy texture with less saturated fat and no cholesterol. From cream cheese to cultured soymilk “yogurt,” soyfoods appear throughout the dairy-free spectrum.

  • Try soy yogurt in dips, toppings and garnishes or as an ingredient in baked goods.
  • Have a favorite cheesecake recipe or cream cheese frosting? Soy cream cheese works well in all types of recipes, including those that involve cooking and baking.
  • Frozen soy-based desserts can be a great replacement for ice cream any time of the day!


Soyfoods Month Swapables - Edamame versus French Fries side dish

Edamame, or young soybeans, are fun to eat out of the shell steamed and they can also be used instead of other beans in your favorite recipes. Edamame not only has more protein than other beans, it’s also provides a complete protein. You can only get a complete protein from other beans if you combine them with additional foods.

  • Use edamame when preparing your favorite bean salad or stew.
  • Edamame can replace garbanzo beans in hummus or white beans for a delicious bean spread.
  • Sprinkle edamame on a salad instead of nuts to add a little extra crunch.

Soy Nut Butter

Soy nut butter is a great substitute for any nut butter, often containing less saturated fat and more protein than other nut butters.

  • Use soy nut butter instead of peanut butter for peanut-free satay sauce.
  • For an extra creamy spread, whip soy nut butter with some silky tofu.
  • Warm soy nut butter up and use as a great dip for pretzels and vegetables.


Tempeh is a great meat alternative since it can be used with just about any cooking method. Use moist heat methods such as simmering, boiling or steaming, or dry heat methods including baking, broiling, grilling, saut?ing and pan or deep-frying.

  • Pre-cooked tempeh (most commonly found in grocery stores) can be added raw to sandwiches or recipes, or cooked to change its texture and flavors.
  • Thinly slicing tempeh and then grilling or frying it will bring out its naturally nutty flavor.
  • Mix chopped tempeh with mayonnaise, grapes and celery to create chicken salad.
  • Use tempeh to replace the beef in sloppy joes by sauteing it with onions and green pepper and seasoning it with chili powder, cumin and garlic powder.


Because miso is a fermented product, it adds a cheese-like flavor to many foods. It also acts as an emulsifier. Akamiso, also known as red miso, has a robust, umami flavor you get with veal or beef stock and can be used for hearty soups and gravies. 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.

  • To add a little zing to your veggies, use miso to create a cheesy sauce to go over steamed vegetables.
  • Instead of mustard in that vinaigrette, try a little white or red miso.
  • Add red miso to long-cooking tomato sauce for a richer, meaty flavor.

For more detailed information, please visit Cooking with Soyfoods.