Edamame-Walnut Spread

edamame-walnut spread

Most people know edamame as the complimentary dish served at Japanese restaurants. It's soybeans in their pods sprinkled with coarse salt. They're so easy to eat, just pop a pod in your mouth and pull out the beans with your teeth. Soybeans are tasty, nutritious, and packed with protein. Lately they have become one of my favorite things to snack on in between meals. I steam a big batch and keep them in the fridge until I either get the urge to snack or a hunger pang. I've also come up with other ways to enjoy them.

One fast and easy way is to make a spread using a food processor. The beans can be combined with a bit of tahini for a Middle Eastern hummus-like spread. Or for more of a Mediterranean flavor, I like it with a touch of acid, vinegar or lemon. Nuts, such as walnuts or pine nuts, also make a tasty and healthy addition. It's like a pesto. I spread it on crostini, in a sandwich instead of mayo, and I even stir it into cooked pasta. Soybeans work as an hors d'oeuvre, a protein-packed snack, or as a component in a meal. They're a very versatile bean. Try this verdant and nutty spread and get ready to transform ho-hum meals into more interesting and ultimately flavorful creations.

Edamame-Walnut Spread

Note: Find soybeans in the freezer section of many supermarkets.

1-1/2 cups frozen, fully cooked shelled soybeans
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted in a dry pan
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons water
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Fit a small pot with a steamer basket and fill with water just up to the basket. Set over high heat. Once boiling, add soybeans, cover, and steam until bright green, about 3 minutes.

Combine steamed soybeans, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, and oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until puréed. If mixture is too thick, stream in water until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.