Healthy Eating: Adding Soy to Your Diet
Like many Americans, you may still be unfamiliar with soy foods, but by now have heard of their many health benefits. Soy foods are low in calories, have no cholesterol, little saturated fat and contain a healthy mix of essential fatty acids. They are a good source of protein and provide all the amino acids our bodies need. Soy foods are rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium, B-vitamins and vitamin E.
Soy foods contain phytochemicals, called isoflavones that provide many health benefits:
• Geneistein may help fight heart disease by lowering levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol
• Daidzein may strengthen bones, thereby preventing fractures
• Anti-carcinogens help guard against cancer. For those at risk for breast cancer, the usual recommendation is that moderate amounts of soy foods (tofu, soy milk, soy burgers, edamame, etc.) are beneficial, but isolated soy products should be avoided (soy protein powders or soy supplements). Those with breast cancer should discuss their individual situation with their physician.
• Displace other, less healthful, protein foods in your diet. Soy foods are low in saturated fat and are cholesterol free.
Do you want to increase soy in your diet, but do not know where to begin?
Below you will find recipes and ideas for products such as soy milk, soy flour, tofu, soy burgers, and many others. Adding more soy is quick and easy, so make soy a staple in your diet. Start today by stocking up on soy milk, soy flour, tofu, soy cereals and soy meat analogs.
Soy foods are products made from soybeans. Soybeans are versatile and are processed into many different forms, such as:
- Soy milk is a fluid made by soaking, grinding and straining soybeans. It can be substituted for cow’s milk in any recipe or used as a beverage. Plain soy milk is a good source of protein (7 grams) and B-vitamins; when fortified, it also can be a good source of calcium, B12 and other nutrients. Soy milk also comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors.
- Tofu is a soft, cheese-like food is made from curds of soy milk. It is bland on its own, but picks up flavors of other foods, making it very versatile. Some of the uses include stir-fry, dips, shakes, desserts, kabobs, and soups. One cup of tofu can provide up to 20 grams of protein. Tofu can be found refrigerated in the produce section of your supermarket or in “juice box” packaging on the shelf of the natural foods area. Tofu can be stored in the fridge up to one week or in the freezer up to five months. It is available in extra firm, firm, soft or silken textures. Different varieties include:
- Water packed tofu -This tofu must always be covered with water that should be changed daily. Available in soft, firm, extra firm, and regular. Works best for freezing and thawing, which make the texture meatier, and much more like a meat substitute.
- Silken or vacuum packed tofu - This tofu is custard like and ideal for soups, desserts, and drinks. Silken tofu is too delicate to stir-fry, sauté, or grill. Available in soft, firm, and extra firm textures.
- Baked tofu – This seasoned, marinated, extra-firm tofu is ready-to-use. Use it in sandwiches as a filling, a great substitute for chicken or tuna, and excellent in stir-fry.
- Smoked tofu - Smoked on beech-wood. Great in soups and stews.
- Reduced Fat Tofu - Several brands of tofu make a reduced fat or light version of their products. It performs identically to full fat tofu.
- Tempeh - a cake of fermented soybeans with a nutty or smoky flavor. Sold at most natural food stores and large grocery stores. One half cup can add up to 16 grams of protein. Great when grilled, sautéed, pan-crisped, or braised. Tempeh can be frozen up to one year.
- Soy flour—a rich flour made from ground, roasted soybeans that have been ground into a fine powder. It does not contain gluten, so cannot replace more than 35-50% of the wheat flour in a recipe. Soy flour tends to brown more quickly, so you may want to lower the oven temperature when baking. One fourth of a cup can add up to eight grams of protein. Two kinds of soy flour available:
- Full-fat flour - contains the natural oils that are found in soybeans. Substitute soy flour for 1/4 cup of the regular flour called for in your favorite baked goods. Works best in baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads, and quick breads. Should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.
- Defatted flour - contains minimal fat as most of the oil is removed during processing. Add 2 tablespoons in measuring cup before measuring the all-purpose flour. Works best in lighter textures yeast breads. Maybe stored on the shelf.
- Textured soy protein, or TSP—a textured soy flour that is sold in granular or chunk style. TSP has a chewy texture and can used as a meat extender or meat replacement. When added to recipes each ½ cup prepared can add up to 11 grams of protein. It can be found in the freezer section of the grocery as soy burgers and soy “crumbles” to use in place of ground beef.
- Soy oils- Oil extracted from the soybean. Good for frying and has a high smoking point. It has a blend of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Soy Cheese - Soft soy cheese is a good alternative to sour cream or cream cheese. The firmer cheese can be used as you would dairy cheese, though they do not melt the way dairy cheeses do. Firmer soy cheese is often colored and/or flavored to resemble particular dairy cheeses, such as mozzarella or Cheddar.
- Soy milk
- Soy Dream®: Vanilla, plain
- Silk® Soy milk: Chocolate, vanilla, plain
- Soy cereals
- Kashi®: Go Lean, Go Lean crunch, Heart to Heart
- Soy protein Bars
- Kashi Bars®: Go Lean, granola bars(trail mix, and Honey Flax)
- GeniSoy Bars®: apple crisp, chocolate fudge brownie, cookies and cream, café mocha fudge, chunky peanut butter fudge
- Soy nuts – Crunchy soy nuts can be used in place of peanuts or other nuts in most recipes. The nuts come both salted and unsalted. Soy nuts are great in salads!
- GeniSoy® soy nuts: Barbeque, plain, salted, unsalted.
- Soy Snacks – Many different snacks on the market and more new items every day.
- GeniSoy®: Soy crisps- zesty barbeque, deep sea salt, rich cheddar cheese, and apple cinnamon.
- Eat smart: Veggie crisps
- Soy meat products - Generally soy meat alternatives contain soy protein or tofu and other ingredients mixed together to simulate various kinds of meat.
- Boca®: Chicken patties, brats, burgers, sausage links
- Morningstar®: Garden selections
- Gardenburger®: Original, sun dried tomato basil, veggie medley, black bean, and flame grilled
½ c. silken tofu (about 4 oz)
¾ c. sweetened frozen strawberries
2 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 - 12 oz. serving
Calories: 355 Protein: 10g Sodium: 45mg Carbs: 40.7g
Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 0.7g Cholesterol: 0mg
12 oz. firm or extra firm, lite tofu (refrigerated block)
1 tsp. Olive oil (or use pan spray)
2 green onions, sliced
1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 Tbs. green bell peppers, chopped
2 Tbs. red bell peppers, chopped
4 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced
Dash cayenne pepper, dash of turmeric (optional)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Mash tofu with fork and put in microwave-safe bowl and microwave 1 minute. Meanwhile, heat frying pan and coat with oil or pan spray; sauté vegetables until crisp-tender. Add red pepper and tofu and combine. Mix in spices. Serve warm with toast or rolled in a tortilla.
Yield: 4 servings
Calories: 70 Protein: 6g Sodium: 135mg
Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 0.5g Cholesterol: 0mg
1/3 c. stone ground corn meal
1/3 c. soy flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
¾ t. baking soda
1 c. plain yogurt (or soy yogurt)
¼ c. honey or 1/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c canola oil
½ t. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, then pour into dry mix. Stir until moist, do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 12 muffins (1 muffin per serving)
Calories: 151 Protein: 3g Sodium: 190mg
Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 0.7g Cholesterol: 18mg
Tomato Bisque Soup
2t. olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
30 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 t. dill
Salt to taste
½ t. white pepper
1 c. soy milk
2t. sugar or honey
10 oz. lite firm silken tofu
Sauté onions on medium heat; add garlic and stir to avoid burning. Add remaining ingredients, except tofu. Heat through and remove from burner to cool 10 minutes. Transfer to food processor or blender, add tofu and puree until smooth. Serve hot or chilled.
Yield: 4 entrée-sized servings
Calories: 156 Protein: 9g Sodium: 840mg
Fat: 5.6g Saturated fat: 0.8g Cholesterol: 0mg
Hold the Eggs Salad
12 oz. extra firm lite silken tofu
1/3 c. fat-free or lite mayonnaise, lite Miracle Whip, or soy based mayo
1 T. yellow mustard (for flavor and color)
1 tsp turmeric
T. diced vegetables (a mix of bell pepper, celery, and onion)
Dash black pepper, if desired
Crumble tofu in a bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve on pita or bread with lettuce leaves for a tasty and quick main dish. Refrigerate leftovers
Yield: Filling for 4 sandwiches.
Calories: 70 Protein: 6g Sodium: 325mg
Fat: 2.5g Saturated fat: 0.4mg Cholesterol: 0 mg
8 oz. firm tofu
¼ c. low sodium soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1 T. dark sesame oil (for flavoring)
½ T. canola oil (for stir frying)
3 c. coleslaw mix
1 garlic clove
¾ pound angel hair pasta
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Cut tofu into ¼ inch thick strips and place in bowl. Make marinade by combining soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Pour over tofu and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours.
Spray cookie sheet with pan spray and spread tofu strips in single layer. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until desired firmness. Reserve marinade. Start boiling water for pasta. Just after adding angel hair, heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and stir-fry slaw mix and garlic 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in remaining marinade.
Cook pasta 3 to 4 minutes or until done. Drain.
Gently toss hot pasta, cooked slaw mix and baked tofu in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped cilantro (avoid adding during cooking, as this diminishes flavor).
Note: If you cannot find coleslaw mix, substitute 2 ½ cups shredded cabbage and 1 cup shredded carrot.
The sesame oil that gives this dish its distinctive taste is dark brown in color and available at most grocery stores in the Asian food section; it is very strong, so measure carefully. Rice-wine vinegar is also found in the Asian foods area.
Yield: 4 servings (main course)
Calories: 460 Protein: 18g Sodium: 615mg Carbs: 47.2g
Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 1.2mg Cholesterol: 0mg
Peanut Butter Spread
12 oz. lite silken tofu
½ c. peanut butter
1 large banana
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Serve on whole grain bread for a spread which is lower in fat than plain peanut butter. Try topping with nuts, raisins or sliced bananas for variety.
Yield: Spread for 6 sandwiches
Calories: 190 Protein: 9.5g Sodium: 940mg
Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 2.2g Cholesterol: 0mg
12 oz. soy burger for recipes (such as BocaCrumbles®)
Sautéed vegetables of your choice
6 c. prepared spaghetti (white, whole wheat, spinach or a combination)
3 c. prepared spaghetti sauce
Prepare pasta and heat sauce. Heat crumbles in spaghetti sauce, add sautéed vegetables. Pour over noodles.
Yield: 4 servings (2 c. each)
Calories: 450 Protein: 21g Sodium: 1090mg
Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 1.5g Cholesterol: 0mg
2 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes (or equivalent to make 2 c. broth per package directions)
½ c. boiling water
6 oz firm lite silken tofu
1 t. olive oil or pan spray
2 c. fresh mush rooms, sliced
1 med onion, halved and sliced crosswise
2 t soy sauce
2 T. dry sherry
½ t. black pepper
16 oz fat free sour cream (a good brand is Naturally Yours®)
3 c. fresh vegetables, chopped in bite-sized pieces (a mixture of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers)
16 oz egg noodles
Boil water for noodles. Dissolve bouillon in ½ cup water then place in blender or food processor; add tofu and puree.
Heat pan on medium-high heat, then add oil.
Sauté mushrooms and onions then season with soy sauce, sherry and pepper. Stir in tofu mix and heat. Stir in sour cream and reduce heat to low; do not boil or sour cream may separate. Steam vegetables. Cook noodles. Server veggies over noodles, then top with sauce.
Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 440 Protein: 19g Sodium: 595mg
Fat: 4.5g Saturated fat: 0.9g Cholesterol: 70mg
8 oz. tube pasta
5 oz. silken tofu
¼ c. pesto
salt to taste
3 c. bite-sized, raw vegetables (such as, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper and mushrooms)
Start water boiling for pasta and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place tofu and pesto in food processor or blender and puree; salt per taste (depending on salt content of pesto). Stir-fry vegetables, starting with those requiring more cooking (such as carrots) and ending with those needing less (such as mushrooms); heat until tender-crisp. Toss together hot cooked pasta, sauce and veggies in large bowl and serve.
Yield: 4 servings (main course)
Calories: 295 Protein: 12.5g Sodium: 98mg
Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1.0g Cholesterol: 4mg
1 c. firm silken tofu
1 t. grated lemon rind
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
1 ½ c. water
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 9” pie crust, baked for 10 minutes
3 large egg whites
¼ t. cream of tartar
1/8 t. salt
1/3 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Process tofu, rind, and juice in a blender until smooth. Combine water, 1 cup and cook another minute until thick; stir constantly with a wire whisk. Remove from heat and stir in tofu mixture. Spread evenly into crust.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on high speed of a mixture until foamy. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling. Bake for 25 minutes; cool on rack 1 hour.
Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 270 Protein: 5g Sodium: 210mg
Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 3.5g Cholesterol: 58mg
Banana Snack Cake
2 c. cake flour or sifted whole wheat pastry flour
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
1/3 c. extra firm silken tofu
1/3 c. water
2 t. lemon juice
¾ c. ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 c. sugar
¼ c. honey
3 T canola oil
1 t. vinegar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. mini or regular chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8”x12” baking pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
Sift flour, cocoa, soda and salt into medium sized bowl. Puree tofu, water and lemon juice in a food processor or blender, then add bananas, sugar, honey, oil, vinegar and vanilla; puree. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until dry ingredients are moist.
Pour batter into pan and smooth with spatula. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yield: 10 servings
Calories: 260 Protein: 3g Sodium: 200g Carbs: 43.7g
Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 1.3g Cholesterol: 1mg
The tofu replaces the dairy products in the recipe. It is so good and smooth.
1 unbaked pie crust
15 ounces canned pumpkin
12 ounces extra firm silken style tofu
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar or ¾ cup honey
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press pie crust into a 9 inch pan. Set aside. In a food processor bowl combine pumpkin, tofu, eggs, sugar and spices. Process until smooth. Pour into unbaked crust. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until filling is set. Filling will appear soft but will become firmer as it chills. Serve with light whipped cream.
½ c. sugar 1-1/2 cup plain soy milk
Tbsp cornstarch 1 tsp vanilla extract
Stir the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium sauce pan. Whisk the soymilk together. Cook stirring over moderate heat until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Chill well before serving
Yield: 3 servings
Calories: 196 Protein: 5g Sodium: 590mg
Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0.3g Cholesterol: 0mg
- The Art of Tofu by Akasha Richmond
- Cooking with Tofu by Robert McBride
- Soy of Cooking by Marie Osier
- Soyfoods Cookery by Louise Hagler
- Super Soy: The Miracle Bean by Ruth Winter
- The Tempeh Cookbook by Dorothy Bates
- The Tofu Cookbook by Leah Leneman
- Tofu Quick and Easy by Louise Hagler
- With a Little Help From the Soybean by Julia Elliot
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below.
UW Health West Clinic
|UW Health East Clinic
Nutrition Clinic Room 2106
5249 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 265-7405 appointments
American Family Children’s Hospital, 1675 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53792
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 11/12/2012
Copyright © 11/12/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#344
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