When the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released, it became the latest scientific panel to encourage the consumption of more plant-based proteins. With more and more experts stating that plant proteins are better for your body and better for the planet, consumers are starting to listen. According to market research firm NPD Group, 50% of those seeking more protein in their diets say that plant protein is the best source of protein.
To celebrate April’s National Soyfoods Month,I’ve teamed up with the Soyfoods Association of North America to show you how versatile the mighty soybean is – packed with high quality protein and produced in an earth-friendly way.
“All plant proteins are not created equally. It’s important for consumers to understand the differences between them as more products hit the grocery store shelves,” said Nancy Chapman MPH, RD, executive director of the Soyfoods Association of North America. “Soy is the only plant protein that is highly digestible and comparable to beef, milk, fish and egg protein in terms of protein quality.Like animal protein, a complete protein has all nine essential amino acids in the ratios needed for human growth and health.”
Other benefits of the Mighty Soybean include:
- Environmentally Friendly: In terms of sustainability, soy uses fewer natural resources such as water and land than any other protein. Soybeans offer 941 pounds of protein per acre of land.On average, land requirements for meat-protein production are 10 times greater than for plant-protein production.
- Heart Healthy: Soy is a lean protein and contains less saturated fat than most other protein sources and naturally has no cholesterol. It is the only protein recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its role in reducing cardiovascular disease.
- Best for Kids: Soymilk is the only dairy alternative that meets U.S. Department of Agriculture child nutrition requirements for protein, calcium, vitamins A and D and potassium.
Throughout the month of April, the Mighty Soybean will be promoted in supermarkets across the U.S. via cooking demonstrations, coupons, in-store displays, discounts and recipes. The Soyfoods Association will also be encouraging consumers to share how the Mighty Soybean fits in their family meals online at soyfoodsmonth.org.
Below is a super simple yet flavorful baked tofu recipe. You can serve this baked tofu with your roasted veggies, anything you have on hand will work, over rice or greens. That’s the other thing about tofu, it is so versatile and can be served with just about anything and it will still taste delicious!
Baked Tofu and Veggie Bowl
- 1 (14 oz.) package of House Foods firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
- 1-2 cups vegetables for baking (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
- raw vegetables, diced (avocado, tomato, cucumber)
- 1. Drain the tofu, wrap it in a paper towel, then place it on a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and place a heavy can of beans or tomatoes on top of it. Let stand 15 minutes. Rewraps tofu with new, dry paper towel and repeat process one more time.
- 2. Unwrap the tofu, wipe it dry, and cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- 3. In a large, zip-top freezer bag, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, onion powder, ginger, water, and hot sauce. Add the tofu and toss the cubes in the marinade. Lay the bag on a plate and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, turning the bag a few times while marinating. The longer the better.
- 4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.)
- 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the tofu (the marinade can be reserved, refrigerated, and used for a dipping sauce or dressing for another dish). Transfer the vegetables and tofu cubes to the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning the cubes several times during baking, until they are crisp and browned, about 45 minutes.
- 6. Tofu can be served warm or at room temperature over a bowl of rice or mixed greens with the roasted and fresh veggies.
- 7. To make the dressing, boil 1 cup of carrots. transfer carrots and 1/4 cup of the water to a blender or vitamin and blend until smooth. Add in fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and mix. Serve with salad or rice bowl.
- Pressing the tofu to extract the water, and wiping it dry, helps the tofu absorb the marinade.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond http://glutenfreebostonandbeyond.com/
Tips for turning to soyfoods to power your plate.
- Try soymilk as a more sustainable alternative to cow’s milk. Fortified soymilk has a very similar nutritional profile (the most nutrient-rich of the plant milks, in fact) to cow’s milk, and its mild flavor is perfect for topping cereal, blending into smoothies, stirring into coffee and mixing into baked goods.
- Switch out chicken with tofu in your favorite recipe, such as stir-fry, cacciatore, pasta dishes, and casseroles. Just drain the tofu (you can use a tofu press for best results) and dice it. Remember tofu takes on the flavor of the sauces it is prepared in, so maximize the flavor of your dish by marinating or using a dry rub.
- Pack cooked, chilled edamame as your go-to healthy snack in kids’ lunchboxes, office brown bags and picnic baskets.
- Try a veggie burger for your next weekend BBQ.
- Give your weekend breakfast a healthy makeover with tempeh bacon served with grilled veggies and gluten free toast.
- Swirl silken tofu into smoothies, dips, puddings, or pie fillings for a creamy alternative to cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream.
- Sprinkle soy nuts into your trail mix, granola or yogurt.
I love Silk dairy free yogurt alternative topped with mixed berries.
The versatility of soyfoods is evident in the brands and organizations that sponsor National Soyfoods Month. Industry partners include: House Foods tofu; Silk soymilk and dairy alternatives; SOYJOY whole soy and fruit bars; Sunrich Naturals edamame; Yves meat alternatives; DuPont Nutrition and Health; and the United Soybean Board, Kansas Soybean Commission, Maryland Soybean Board and Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee.
For more information about April’s National Soyfoods Month, including myth-busting facts, nutrition information, tips, and endless possibilities for recipes, please visit soyfoodsmonth.org.
About: Soyfoods Association of North America The Soyfoods Association of North America is a non-profit trade association that has been promoting consumption of soy-based foods and beverages since 1978. The Soyfoods Association is committed to encouraging sustainability, integrity and growth in the soyfoods industry by promoting the benefits and consumption of soy-based foods and ingredients in diets.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Soyfoods Association of North America in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.