Happy National Soy Foods Month everyone!! Have you begun celebrating yet? Okay, yeah, I’m not surprised. Few people even know that April is soy foods month, much less “celebrate” it, but since soy is such a big part of many vegans’ diets, I think it’s worth a shout out. Soy is cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. Studies show that women who eat soy have a lower risk of breast cancer, and that soy may also help prevent prostate and colon cancers. Research also suggests that soy can help your heart, protect against osteoporosis, and even benefit asthma sufferers.
There are lots of other healthy reasons to eat soy, too. But I enjoy soy simply because it’s animal-friendly, super-delicious, and ultra-versatile. It can be used in everything from veggie burgers to soy milks to cheesecakes. A block of tofu may not be too appetizing on its own, but since it acts as a sponge and absorbs the flavors of anything it’s prepared with, you can use it to make Kung Pau tofu, chocolate pudding pie, eggless egg salad, and much more.
My Top Ten Fave Soy-Based Foods
While a healthy vegan diet should include a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, it’s good to squeeze in some soy products too—and there are plenty of products to choose from. Whole soy foods like tofu, edamame (soybeans), and tempeh are generally the healthiest, but other soy foods are good options too. Here are ten of my (current) favorite soy foods:
- Tofurky Sweet Italian Sausages: With baseball season approaching, I’m eager to eat these spicy vegan sausages while watching the Orioles play. They’re the perfect warm-weather food. They’re great grilled or fried and tucked in a bun with ketchup. The manufacturer, Turtle Island Foods, also makes tasty vegan beer brats and kielbasa, but the sweet Italian sausages are the best if you ask me.
- Sheese Soy Cheese: I like other soy cheeses okay enough (Tofutti makes a decent vegan cream cheese and passable American soy cheese singles) but this Swedish brand is my favorite, hands down. I especially recommend the smoked cheddar style. Sheesh is a little pricey though, and not too many stores carry it yet. But thanks to Pangea, the vegan superstore, everyone can enjoy it.
- Westsoy Chocolate Soy Shake: Mmmm. Thick and creamy. It’s like melted chocolate ice cream in a glass.
- Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles: A great alternative to ground beef, with only 80 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving. It can be used in everything from tacos to chili to spaghetti sauce to shepherd’s pie. Carnivores can’t even tell the difference!
- Silk Vanilla Soy Yogurt: It may not sound all that exciting, but if you throw in some defrosted frozen berries or other fruit, it makes a nutritious and delicious breakfast. The family-size container is more economical than single-serving soy yogurts too (less packaging too).
- White Wave Sesame Peanut Thai-Style Baked Tofu: Toss it with some linguini, peanut butter satay, broccoli, carrots, onions, and you’ve got a simple Thai-style meal without going to a Thai restaurant.
- Purely Decadent Turtle Trails Ice Cream: Just about every flavor of Purely Decadent or So Delicious dairy-free ice cream is, well, delicious, but I’m partial to anything with chocolate, pralines, and caramel!
- Boca Burgers: Need I say more? Just about everybody loves these vegan veggie burgers—even meat-eaters. The chik’n patties are tasty too.
- Gardenburger Meatless Breakfast Sausage: Another food for both vegans and meat-eaters to enjoy together. These savory soy-based sausages have only 60 calories per patty too.
- Worthington Chic-ketts: Tastes just like chicken! You can pull apart the “log” of mock chicken and eat it straight, or use it in chicken-free salads, sandwiches, soups, and casseroles.
Hmmm, I guess I should have made it a top 100 list since I can still think of many more great soy-based foods.
Which ones are your favorites?
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