Beat the heat with protein packed edamame salad

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Summer is officially here, and wow did it come in with a bang! Triple digit temperatures have baked us recently. The SoCal desert folks have had it worse though: near-record high temps have been recorded in Palm Springs (122 degrees), Ocotillo Wells (124 degrees), and Death Valley (127 degrees).

According to the National Weather Service, the crazy intense heat we have experienced is caused by a high-pressure weather system that settles over the Four Corners area where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet.

Typically, this high-pressure system happens in June when a subtropical high-pressure system moves northward. This year that system has shifted all the way up to Alaska where it has created very dry conditions and increased chances of forest fires caused by lightning strikes.

Maybe you are like me when faced with this extreme heat. I don’t like to turn my oven on. There is something about turning on the oven that not only heats up my kitchen but it seems to heat up my whole house.

So, this oven evasion calls for creative ways to get dinner on the table. For my family that means firing up the grill.

One of my goals this year, if you will remember, is to incorporate more plant-based proteins in my family’s diet. And that can be a challenge if I’m ready to throw dinner on the grill. Or is it?

You’ve probably seen the fuzzy green pods at the local sushi restaurant. Many places serve a complimentary bowl of them before the meal, kind of a healthier alternative to chips and salsa. My kids like to press them open and pop the beans in their mouth.

What am I talking about? Edamame. Known by their Japanese name, edamame are young, immature soybeans that are soft and still in their pods. The pods are usually boiled or steamed and served with salt or garlic as seasonings.

You might not know that edamame is an excellent source of protein, packing 33 grams per 1 cup serving. It is also a good source of fiber and micronutrients like folate, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin K.

Because it is also gluten free and dairy free, it is a plant protein that is vegan friendly and allergy friendly. According to the Medical News Today website, consuming soy protein instead of animal proteins helps lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) levels, which in turn reduces the risk of high blood pressure and vascular disease, such as hardening of the arteries.

This week’s recipe is from Alton Brown on the Food Network website. This salad incorporates edamame along with two summer veggies, which are in season right now, tomatoes and corn.

When I made this, I messed up and added all the ingredients at once and roasted them together instead of doing what the recipe calls for, which is adding the tomatoes at the end. But, I found it was delicious despite my inadvertently not following the directions. And I liked the flavor of the roasted tomatoes.

If you don’t want to turn on your oven, you can roast this in a grill pan or even on a sheet of aluminum foil right on your outdoor grill, which is what I did to beat the heat.


 Roasted Edamame Salad

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. fresh or frozen shelled edamame, about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, about 2 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (or turn on outdoor grill to high). Combine the edamame, corn, green onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a 9 by 13 pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edamame begins to brown. Remove and let completely cool, about 30 minutes. Combine tomato, basil, and vinegar and add to the edamame mixture. Toss to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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Betty Williams