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Q: Is edamame a good snack for my family?


Absolutely. Many of us have enjoyed edamame out in restaurants but not at home. 

The word edamame is Japanese for “beans on a branch.” Edamame resembles an average pea pod but it is actually a soybean that is young and green when picked. Because of the rich nutrition content of soybeans, edamame can be an excellent snack or a delicious ingredient in any number of dishes. Compared to a fresh pea, the texture of edamame is a bit firmer, and the taste is a little nutty with a hint of sweetness. 

A ½ cup of shelled edamame pods provides 94 calories along with 9 grams of high-quality vegetable protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Edamame has 4 grams of healthy polyunsaturated fats and no cholesterol. Fiber contributes over half of the total carbohydrate count with 4 grams in a ½ cup serving. Edamame is considered sodium free and is a good source of calcium, iron, vitamin K and folate, not to mention the many health benefits of soy with its numerous phytonutrients and antioxidants. 

Edamame can be purchased either in the pod or hulled and can be found fresh in the produce section or with the frozen foods. Fresh edamame may be consumed right from the package and precooked frozen edamame simply needs to be defrosted. Some prefer to cook edamame for a more tender product. Edamame can be microwaved, steamed, boiled, roasted, or pan-fried. Always refer to the package for specific preparation recommendations

If consuming edamame as a snack or appetizer, enjoy straight from the pod. For those of you that are new to edamame, simply put the pod in your mouth and squeeze or bite the beans from the pod. FYI: The pod is tough and fibrous and is not meant to be consumed! 

Shelled pods are recommended when adding into recipes, such as soups, stews, salads and noodle dishes because of the convenience factor.

Regardless of how edamame is prepared, the process is simple and quick. 

Quick Edamame Snack Recipe: 

  1. Fill a pot with water, add a pinch of salt and boil.
  2. Add edamame pods to the water and allow them to boil for three to five minutes, stirring them occasionally. 
  3. Drain the cooked pods and place in a bowl of cold water for two to three minutes and allow to cool before eating.

Once cooked, edamame will last in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Note that fresh edamame can be frozen. Simply transfer to a Ziplock bag or an airtight container and pop in the freezer.

Check out Spotlight on Taste for some delicious ways to enjoy edamame.

For more information on soy-based foods, visit Nutrition 101.

Have another Nutrition question? Ask our Dietitian.

Jill Kwasny

Registered Dietitian