Saturday, August 25, 2012

navy bean puree

I like to act on information...enthusiastically. I learn something new, and it can change my life.

The problem is, I'm always learning new things. When I found out gluten flour had such a high protein content, I bought it in bulk. Then I learned how hard it is to make seitan that doesn't a) squeak in your teeth, or b) taste like cardboard. And now I have four bags of gluten flour that have been sitting on top of our kitchen cupboards for a year.

And I'm wavering a bit on the tofu front too.

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I love soy. It's so versatile and full of protein. But gosh darn it, no one can tell me whether it's good or bad for us.

There is research on both sides of the issue. I've read that soy can help prevent breast cancer and re-balance female hormones. And I've also read the opposite. (Soy is phytoestrogenic, meaning it contains molecules that mimic the chemical structure of estrogen.)

I read and critique a lot of research in my work, and I can tell you that it is very hard to know the quality of it without reading (and understanding) a report yourself. Who has time for that? And even if a study is well done, we need to get the same results many times before we can be really sure.

And so...the jury is out on soy.

Bottom line, tofu and other soy products are usually very processed, and that's something I like to avoid if I can. But since it's such a convenient and versatile protein source, I usually have it on hand, and tap into my supply when a recipe really needs it or I'm really striving to get a lot of protein.

And just as I waver on gluten and soy, I can't quite decide if this navy bean purée should be eaten like mashed potatoes or hummus.

Try both.

Yep, both ways are good.

Navy Bean Purée

Ingredients:
1 1-lb. bag of dried navy beans*
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 12-oz. package of silken tofu
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp ground thyme

*If you'd rather use canned beans, you will need 5-6 cups after draining. Skip step 1.

1. Cover the navy beans with several inches of water in a large pot. Heat on the stove on high until the water comes to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until beans are very tender. Drain, and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. (You can throw the cloves in whole, but if you chop them, add a few minutes after the onion has been cooking.) Sauté until onions are translucent.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the beans, along with the rest of the ingredients. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor) to blend until smooth. This will be very thick. I preferred it that way, but if you're having trouble blending or prefer a thinner consistency, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer. Serve as a side, or with fresh vegetables.


What's your opinion on soy?

10 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about soy. i have no idea if i should eat alot of it or not. but as a vegetarian, its my duty to find some sort of protein sub, so i do eat the occasional veggie burger or tofu meal. i just don't eat too much of it. everything is bad for you! even breathing air, i am sure!

    xo
    sami

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    1. Yup! All those pollutants, you know. ;-)

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  2. This navy bean paste looks so yummy. I imagine it would taste great overtop crostini like hummus. Yum!

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  3. I struggle with that too. It seems everything you read either says soy causes or prevents cancer. For now I just use soy milk in my coffee and will have tofu every once in awhile.

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  4. Great recipe Clair! I hate that about soy! Is it good, is it bad? No one really knows. I guess eating it in moderation won't hurt although I admit that {just like you} I love its versatility and always have some on hand.

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  5. oooooooooh my. this looks delicious. i feel the same way about soy (it's so delicious if you put it on a panini press, its so easy!), so i usually just let myself eat tofu and limit or eliminate use of other soy products. my fall quest is to make amazing seitan loaves :) i've heard the veganomicon one is the BEST.

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    1. Ooh, let me know if you succeed! I've come close with a seitan sausage, but just can't quite LOVE it.

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  6. I grew up eating soy - my parents were vegetarian and it's how we got our protein. I'm hoping that it's good because we sure ate a heck of a lot of it!

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  7. I get so confused by all the conflicting information with soy too! I hear you. I don't eat it very often and if I do, I try to get the best quality tofu I can. I use it like you do, in a few dishes here and there and desserts. I don't bother with packaged food that contains soy-that's bad news I'm afraid. I love the idea of navy bean puree. Great way to get some protein.

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Thanks for making me smile. =)