Botanical Name: Glycine max
Common Name: Soybean
Family: Fabaceae (Legume family)
Soybeans are annual legumes that belong to the Fabaceae family. They are native to East Asia and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Soybean plants have an erect growth habit, reaching a height of 2 to 6 feet. The leaves are trifoliate, and the flowers are typically small and purple or white in color. The fruits of soybean plants are pods containing two to four seeds, which are the soybeans themselves.
Here is the nutritional information for cooked soybeans per 100 grams:
Calories: 173 kcal
Protein: 16.6 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 9.9 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Sugar: 3 grams
Soybeans are also a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.
In addition to protein, soybeans are known for their high content of phytochemicals, such as isoflavones, which have been associated with potential health benefits. Isoflavones have estrogen-like properties and are classified as phytoestrogens. They have been studied for their potential role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, improving heart health, and managing menopausal symptoms, although more research is needed in these areas.
Soybeans are used in various forms, including tofu, soy milk, tempeh, soy sauce, and edamame (young soybeans in their pods). They are a versatile ingredient used in a wide range of dishes and cuisines worldwide.
The term “soybean” comes from the Japanese word “soya,” which itself is derived from the Chinese word “doufu.” The Japanese term “soya” refers to the soybean itself, while “tofu” specifically denotes the soybean curd made from the beans. The term “soybean” became widely used in English to refer to the legume.
Soybeans (Glycine max) are believed to have originated in East Asia, specifically in China. They have a long history of cultivation and use in Asian countries, particularly China, Japan, and Korea. The cultivation of soybeans in China can be traced back thousands of years, and they have been an integral part of the Asian diet since ancient times.
Soybeans were among the first crops to be domesticated in the region, and their use gradually spread to other parts of Asia. The legume played a crucial role in the agricultural practices and diets of ancient civilizations in East Asia. Soybeans were valued for their high protein content and versatile uses in various food products.
During the expansion of trade and cultural exchange, soybeans were introduced to other regions. In the first and fourth centuries AD, soybeans gained popularity in Japan and Korea. The Japanese term “edamame” refers to young soybeans still in their pods and is commonly consumed as a snack or appetizer.
The cultivation and consumption of soybeans expanded further when they were introduced to other parts of the world. Soybeans were introduced to Europe in the 17th century and later made their way to the Americas. In the United States, soybeans were primarily cultivated as an oilseed crop rather than for direct human consumption. However, the popularity of soy-based products has increased in recent years, leading to the consumption of soybeans in various forms, including tofu, soy milk, and other soy-based foods.
Today, soybeans are widely cultivated globally, with major producers including the United States, Brazil, Argentina, China, and India. They are used not only as a source of food but also for their oil, which is extracted and utilized in various industrial applications.
Excellent Source of Plant-Based Protein: Soybeans are considered a complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids that the body needs. They are an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans to meet their protein requirements.
Heart Health: Soybeans are low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of soybeans as part of a balanced diet may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and improve overall heart health.
Bone Health: Soybeans are rich in calcium and other minerals like magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Menopausal Symptoms: Soybeans contain naturally occurring compounds called phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones like genistein and daidzein. These compounds have estrogen-like effects and may help alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Weight Management: Soybeans are relatively low in calories and high in fiber, which can help promote a feeling of fullness and aid in weight management. Including soy-based foods in a balanced diet may support healthy weight loss or weight maintenance.
Digestive Health: The high fiber content in soybeans promotes digestive health by supporting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Additionally, soybeans contain oligosaccharides, which act as prebiotics, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Blood Sugar Control: The fiber and protein content of soybeans can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
Antioxidant Properties: Soybeans contain various antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and phytochemicals like flavonoids and phenolic acids. These antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and may contribute to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer.
Choose high-quality soybeans: Look for soybeans that are plump, smooth, and uniform in size and color. Avoid beans that are discolored, shriveled, or damaged.
Consider organic or non-GMO soybeans: If you prefer to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), opt for certified organic or non-GMO soybeans.
Check for freshness: Make sure the soybeans are fresh by checking the packaging or labels for the harvest or expiration date.
- Store in a cool, dry place: Soybeans should be stored in a cool and dry environment to maintain their quality. Excessive moisture or heat can lead to spoilage or insect infestation.
- Use airtight containers: Transfer the soybeans to airtight containers or storage bags to protect them from moisture, air, and pests. This helps to extend their shelf life and prevent contamination.
- Avoid exposure to sunlight: Keep soybeans away from direct sunlight as it can degrade their quality and nutritional content.
- Rotate stock: If you purchase soybeans in bulk, make sure to practice the principle of first in, first out (FIFO). Use the oldest stock first and replenish with fresh soybeans.
- Check for signs of spoilage: Regularly inspect the stored soybeans for any signs of mold, foul odor, or insect activity. Discard any beans that appear spoiled or have an off smell.
- Store in small quantities: It’s generally recommended to store soybeans in smaller quantities to ensure they are consumed within a reasonable time frame and maintain freshness.
1 cup cooked soybeans
1 cup mixed vegetables (such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: red chili flakes for heat
Optional: chopped green onions for garnish
- Heat sesame oil in a pan or wok over medium heat.
- Add minced garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the mixed vegetables and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly tender.
- Add cooked soybeans to the pan and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Drizzle soy sauce over the mixture and toss to coat evenly.
- Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes if desired.
- Continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until everything is well combined and heated through.
- Remove from heat and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Serve the soybean stir-fry as a side dish or as a main course with steamed rice or noodles.
1 cup cooked soybeans
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
Burger buns and desired toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.)
- In a mixing bowl, mash the cooked soybeans using a fork or potato masher until they have a crumbly texture.
- Add breadcrumbs, chopped onion, bell peppers, minced garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce (if using), smoked paprika, cumin powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
- Shape the mixture into patties of desired size.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Cook the soybean patties for about 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Once cooked, transfer the patties to a burger bun and add your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiments.
- Serve the soybean burgers with fries or a side salad for a delicious vegetarian meal.