More than a meatless burger smeared in mayonnaise, soy products are versatile, and come in many forms: tofu, tempeh, mock dock, seitan, and soy curls. The last, soy curls, is a variation I recently discovered -thanks to my dietician colleague Bettina- and I couldn't believe how much I fell in love with the product.
No, this is not an advertisement. No one is paying me to endorse this still somewhat obscure way to eat soy. This is simply something new you can, and probably should, try to expand your meat-free plate. Unlike most meat/soy alternatives, soy curls are not made from the derived protein. Instead, they are made from the entire soy bean by cooking & texturing the beans before drying.
To prepare: You'll want to rehydrate the soy curls by soaking in hot liquid (water, broth, etc) for 10 minutes before using, then drain, season, and serve. Once rehydrated, they take on a 'shredded chicken'-type form. There isn't a whole lot of flavor jammed packed into these curls, so be sure to season with your favorite marinades and spices (they take on flavor incredibly well). Add them to pasta, soups, casseroles, tacos, rice, pizzas, stir-fries, etc. Really, once rehydrated and drained, they can easily be substituted for almost any recipes containing meat. Well, maybe not in a Beef Wellington. But then again, why would you ever do such a thing?
(Actually, some people have used seitan...
if you have a vegetarian Beef Wellington recipe you love,
let me know in the comments below!)
When you buy them: They may be found in bulk at your local co-op and in some Asian markets (though maybe not labeled in English). Otherwise, they may be difficult to find. I suggest ordering them on-line to make it easy, and if you really enjoy eating them, order in bulk. It's a low-cost protein that will fill you up without breaking the bank. I particularly like the Butler brand [shown above], since it's GMO-free, and does not contain preservatives or additives.
If you're concerned about your heart health, this may be an excellent protein source for you. One serving of soy curls is only 100 calories with 10g of protein, 3g of fiber, no cholesterol, and only 5mg sodium. That's crazy deliciousness in a package with amazing nutrition to boot. Who wouldn't be excited about that?
Hopefully, I have brought you to a point of interest, and a desire to try something new and exciting. Try the recipe below to start your soy curl journey. Perhaps it will inspire you to experiment and create your own recipes, and share your thoughts/ideas/recipes in the comment section.
miso curly soup
4 oz soy curls
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced leeks
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 can, 8 oz., straw mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup yellow miso
8 cups broth or water
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
6 cups kale, chopped
2 oz. rice noodles
1. Rehydrate soy curls in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain
2. In a stock (soup) pot, heat and add oil. When at temperature, add the leeks and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger.
3. Mix in the miso and gradually whisk in the broth, sambal, and rice wine vinegar.
4. Next, add the mushrooms and soy curls. When it comes up to temperature, add the kale and rice noodles. Cook for 2 minutes and serve.