As IBD patients, we are often looking for new ways to get the nourishment we need. Digestive complications can force us to find alternatives to problematic foods, while sometimes we get tired of true foods and want to try something new.

I have adopted a new favorite food that’s fabulously nutritious, and commonly overlooked. Edamame beans are whole soy beans, also called ‘sweet beans.’ They are often cooked in the pod and served hot. I’d most commonly eaten them as an appetizer, served steamed in the pod, at Japanese restaurants. They’re certainly quite yummy that way (and they’re fun to eat too).

But lately I’ve taken to using them in shelled form. I typically buy them frozen; they look like a bag of lima beans. When thawed they’re great on leafy salads, in grain salads, and I’ve been cooking them in a variety of recipes as well. My favorite quickie so far is very simple and only takes a minute in the microwave, with virtually no prep time.

For one serving I put about 2/3 cup of frozen beans in a bowl, add about a tablespoon of chicken or beef broth and a few shakes of soy sauce. Sprinkle a little onion powder and garlic powder on top, and add a few grinds of cracked pepper. If you don’t mind an extra minute of work, some freshly sliced scallions add a nice flavor. Microwave for about 60 seconds, and voilà, you have a super yummy (and healthy) snack. It’s also great as a protein dish to accompany a salad, or as a post-exercise boost.

Rich in amino acids, edamame beans are considered a complete protein, and provide lots of dietary fiber. They have a delightful texture unlike any other food I’ve eaten—firm like garbanzos, but not at all pasty, and not exactly crunchy either. They taste great alone, and adapt readily to complement a wide variety of other flavors.

Whether you’ve had them before or not, there’s definitely something new you can do experimenting with Edamame.

Bean Appetit!

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.