Soybeans can be savoured in a variety of ways. Try making a salad this time

Like other beans, soybeans grow in pods. While we often think of them as being green, the edible seeds can also be yellow, brown or black.

The texture of soybeans is so adaptable that they can be processed in a host of ways making it easy for us to enjoy them in our daily diet. There are fresh soybeans (known as edamame), dried soybean seeds, soymilk, soy nuts, tofu, tempeh, soy flour, natto... the list goes on and on. And, with their delicious, slightly nutty flavour and wonderful nutritional profile, this legume can offer you maximum enjoyment and health.

Soybeans originated in China over 13,000 years ago where they were considered one of the most important crops. They were introduced into Japan in the 8th Century and many centuries later into other regions of Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam. Today, the U.S. is the world's leading commercial producer of soybeans.

Store dried soybeans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for up to 12 months. If you purchase soybeans at different times, store them separately since they may be in varying stages of dryness, and therefore will require different cooking times. Cooked soybeans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.

Nutritional profile

Soybeans are an excellent source of protein and manganese. In addition, they are rich in iron, phosphorus, dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 and potassium.

Now, for a recipe.

Soy and Mushroom Salad

Ingredients:

Soybeans, soaked: 100 gm

Oil: 15 ml

Lemon juice: 5 ml

Garlic, crushed: 1 clove

Salt and pepper to taste

Celery, chopped: 3 stalks

Mushrooms, sliced: 75 gm

Scallions, finely chopped: 4

Method: Cook the beans and drain well. Mix together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss the beans and vegetables in the dressing. Serve chilled.