Beyond tofu

Though I often walk by the refrigerated tofu section in the supermarket, I never walk by the Bean Ladies’ booth at the One of a Kind show in Toronto without buying a few bags of roasted soybean snacks.

Identical twins Jamie Miles and Julie Ryder have a new retail store in Brampton, but they seem to spend most weekends at shows and festivals across Ontario hawking their crunchy many-flavoured beans, from balsamic and sweet onion to pomegranate and pear.

My education continued when the Canadian Soy Foods Marketing Council (soyforlife.ca)  dropped off a basket of new and traditional soy-based products.

This new group aims to get Canadians eating more soybeans, high in protein and low in saturated fat. The pale yellow beans also offer fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and an impressive number of vitamins and minerals.

Turns out this humble bean may also help cool hot flashes and keep hearts healthy.

Silk chocolate soy milk, in a 2-litre carton, is easy to love. Light, chocolatey and refreshing, a cup measures 30% of our daily recommended dose of calcium.

Wow is the perfect name for this smooth peanut butter look-alike in a jar, which I’m now eating for breakfast and snacks. It’s produced by the Mahon family in Staffa, Ontario from “gently roasted” non-GMO local soybeans.

While I’m not sure peanut-phobic schools will accept this amazing substitute, which comes with labels moms can stick on their kids’ sandwiches, it’s a terrific product that kids with or without allergies can enjoy at home.

Another surprise was Sunrise Soya Foods’ tofu n’sauce. I must admit I had low expectations for this product, expecting a sweet, gloopy mess as I squeezed the teriyaki pouch over stir-fried broccoli and carrots. Instead, it provided a tasty Asian dinner for two in five minutes.

The Sol Cuisine tofu is about to be cubed and stirred into my favourite Sichuan dish, ma po dofu, a one-pot wonder of ground pork and tofu spiked with chili sauce. It’s delicious over jasmine rice.

Fat organic soybean sprouts from Toronto-based PH Food, sold in a bag, are great stir-fried with a little ginger. If you like the spicy soybean sprout salad served in Korean restaurants, look for the recipe at the PH Food website along with some tempting tofu recipes.

The only thing I hesitated to try was the little bottle of Plenish, a new soy oil developed for fast food fryers. It’s pressed from beans bred with less saturated fat and more heart-healthy monounsaturated fats than regular soybeans. Like other vegetable oils it’s also trans-fat free.

It all sounds great … perhaps it’s just the name that makes me uneasy.

And don’t forget edamame, the green baby soybeans in a pod that Japanese restaurants boil and sprinkle with sea salt. It’s the perfect snack with beer and a perfect way to end a soy-tastic day.

www.beanladies.com

http://phfood.ca

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