(Family Features) – The hybrid is parked in the driveway, the energy-efficient light bulbs are in their sockets, the recycling bin is at the curb, but what’s in the pantry? With many earth-friendly food options available today, it is easier than ever to make informed choices that are good for the body and the environment.
In her new book, “Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes & Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle,” (Wiley, 2009), culinary nutritionist Jackie Newgent, RD, lists preparing plant-based meals first among her Big Green Cooking “Rules.” According to Newgent, switching to more earth-friendly foods like soy is one of the most immediate ways a person can start reducing his or her carbon footprint.
“Soy is one of the most energy-efficient sources of protein,” said Newgent. “Soybeans and other soyfoods have always been a popular choice in my recipes because of their various health benefits, unique flavor characteristics, and cooking versatility.”
Soybeans deliver high-quality, complete protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats and a number of vitamins and minerals. A variety of research suggests that soy may help maintain a healthy heart and support bone health. Soy is also rich in isoflavones, plant-based compounds with antioxidant properties.
Foods made from whole soy are especially nutritious. The soy in whole soyfoods is minimally processed to keep soy’s naturally occurring nutrients intact.
“I enjoy following an earth-friendly eating plan while aiming to get as much nutrition as I can out of my choices,” she says. “So, I select whole foods, like foods made with fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and whole soy, when possible.”
Edamame and dry roasted soy nuts are two popular forms of whole soy. For good nutrition on the go, Newgent recommends SOYJOY®, an all-natural, nutrient-rich food baked with whole soy and real fruit. It is made with non-genetically modified whole soybeans grown in the United States.
For more information about earth-friendly eating and soy, visit soyjoy.com.
Mini Soy Sombreros
24 wonton wrappers, thawed, if frozen
1 (12-ounce) package soy burger crumbles
1 1/2 cups canned diced organic tomatoes with juices
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup shredded soy-based cheddar-style cheese or organic or locally produced aged cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1. Coat two mini muffin tins with homemade cooking spray (fill a spray bottle with oil of choice) and press a wonton square into each cup. Lightly coat squares with cooking spray. Place in toaster oven (do not preheat). Turn to 350¬∞F, and bake until light brown and nearly crisp, about 7 minutes, rotating trays halfway through baking. (Toaster oven sizes and cooking times will vary. Bake in batches if necessary.) Turn off toaster oven and let bake in off oven until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Let cool in pan.
2. Mix soy crumbles, tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, and crushed red pepper in large skillet. Place over medium heat and cook while stirring until heated through, about 5 minutes. Divide mixture among wonton-cup “sombreros,” about 2 tablespoons each. Top with cheese and onion and serve.
Makes 12 servings, 2 sombreros each
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
From “Big Green Cookbook” by Jackie Newgent, RD