Edamame is as magical as a unicorn; it’s the type of food that once you’ve gotten a taste you just can’t stop eating it, yet it's incredibly healthy. Not just healthy, really healthy. How many other foods can you say that about? They’re high in protein, full of vitamins and minerals, and can be ready to eat in almost as much time as it takes to open a bag of chips. Kinda makes you wonder why your freezer isn’t constantly full of edamame, doesn’t it?
How Do I Buy Edamame?
Don’t bother seeking out “fresh” edamame, which, aside from being near impossible to find, will nearly always pale in comparison to the frozen variety. The quality of edamame goes south pretty quickly once it’s picked, which is why, if you’ve ever seen them fresh in your supermarket, they’ve probably looked far less attractive than the ones you’ve had at restaurants (which, for the most part, use the frozen stuff). Edamame, when flash frozen shortly after harvesting, stays firm and flavorful, as if you’ve picked it from the farm yourself.
Edamame pods are inedible, but they’re fun; who doesn’t love popping a salty soybean into their mouth? Buying them in pods is a great choice if you’re eating your edamame as a snack.
If you want to use edamame as part of a recipe, spring for the ones that are already shelled, which will save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
How Do I Cook Edamame?
Another benefit to frozen edamame: to preserve its gorgeous green hue, it’s parboiled before freezing, meaning that you don’t actually need to “cook” it — if you’re not eating it straight from the package, all you’re really doing is heating it up.
You can cook edamame any way you want: steamed, boiled, roasted, or pan-fried. You don’t even need to turn on the stove or oven — steaming in the microwave is such a popular option that you can now easily purchase frozen edamame that’s packaged in steaming bags.
To boil edamame, fill a large saucepan halfway with water, then add a generous amount of salt so that the water tastes like the ocean. Bring to a boil, drop in the frozen edamame, and cook for three to five minutes until warm. Drain, then rinse with cold water to stop the edamame from overcooking.
To steam in the microwave, put the frozen edamame into a large, microwave-safe bowl with ¼ cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap, cut a few slits in it to allow steam to escape, then microwave for three minutes before checking to see if it’s at your preferred temperature — keep microwaving in one minute increments until they’re up to your personal edamame standards. Drain the excess water, toss with salt, and that’s it!
What Can I Do With Edamame?
Just like any other bean, edamame is a blank canvas with which you can pretty much let your imagination run wild. If you can dream it, you can (possibly) do it. Outside of steaming and eating plain, here’s a few ideas of things to do with shelled edamame.
Make a Dip
Just about any recipe you have for a bean-based dip can be modified to be made with edamame.
Stick to a Simple Sauté
Sauté edamame in a hot pan with oil with garlic, then once they’re brown, add a hefty pinch of your favorite spice blend and keep cooking until the spices are fragrant. Curry powder, chili powder, five spice powder — the list goes on and on.
Make a Glaze
Another quick sauté pan option: sauté the edamame until it begins to brown, then add a splash of your favorite thick sauce (like hoisin or sriracha) with a small splash of water and cook for about a minute to make a glaze.
Add Some To Your Favorite Salsas
Throw some chopped up edamame in salsas or pico de gallo. They’re also good in other popular vegetable side dishes, like coleslaw.
Add edamame to your baking sheet when roasting other vegetables, like broccoli or Brussel sprouts.