Easiest Steamed Edamame

By Ann Fulton

The flavor-packed pop of perfectly cooked edamame is easy to achieve with a simple technique. A crowd-pleasing appetizer, for sure, but because they're so quick and easy, consider elevating the fun-to-eat pods to main meal status. Protein- and fiber-rich edamame makes a filling snack too! 
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The flavor-packed pop of perfectly cooked edamame is easy to achieve with a simple technique. A crowd-pleasing appetizer, for sure, but because they’re so quick and easy, consider elevating the fun-to-eat pods to main meal status. Protein- and fiber-rich edamame makes a filling snack too! 

 

A bag or two of edamame is a freezer standby in our house. Often enjoyed as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants, the vibrant green pods have gone mainstream thanks to their flavor, fun factor, and healthy appeal.

A short, simple technique will get them on your table in mere minutes while assuring tender-yet-toothsome appeal and perfect seasoning. 

So, while well-suited to a pre-dinner nibble or last-minute appetizer when guests appear, by all means think of edamame as a side dish on your dinner plate and serve it just as you would a side of broccoli or green beans.

Or serve edamame in addition to those vegetables. Though the pods look like a typical green vegetable (and taste much like one too), they are actually legumes–young soybeans harvested before they ripen or harden. As such, they offer a hearty dose of protein and their own set of nutrients.

 

 

The flavor-packed pop of perfectly cooked edamame is easy to achieve with a simple technique. A crowd-pleasing appetizer, for sure, but because they're so quick and easy, consider elevating the fun-to-eat pods to main meal status. Protein- and fiber-rich edamame makes a filling snack too! 

The simplest technique is the secret to achieving just the right saltiness and just the right bite.

    

Convenience, versatility, great taste, and wholesome appeal…

Think of edamame as cooking from the hip–no recipe is needed. Prepare it once, and you may be hooked!

Don’t have time to cook rice or potatoes to round out a meal? Steam edamame. Though totally different, it will fill the space on your plate and in your stomach.

It feels like a shortcut but is by no means a compromise.

Are the kids ravenous after school or need a hearty snack before or after a sports practice? Or do you need something filling to tide you over to dinner? Edamame may be the snack that shakes up the cookie/granola bar/chip routine. My family always called it fun food, which helps in light of the many sweet and salty processed options that are easy and rather tasty grabs.

Edamame is also packable, and it can be eaten cold or at room temperature. So, think of the tasty green pods as a worthy lunch box addition for adults and kids alike.   

Edamame in the pod

A few things to know:

  • How do you eat edamame? If you’re new to this legume, the beans are eaten directly from the pod, which is squeezed between your teeth to release the beans. The pod is then discarded as it is somewhat tough and fibrous. 
  • There are two varieties in the freezer section of the store. For this, make sure to purchase edamame that’s still in the pod, not shelled. That said, the shelled variety offers convenience when looking for a protein addition to green salads, grain-based bowls (great in Budget Sushi Bowls), and soups. Shelled edamame can also be used in place of lima and other beans in dishes like succotash (including my favorite Succotash Salad) and this easy bean salad
  • How long does edamame keep? Properly frozen edamame will retain its flavor and quality for up to 12 months. Once cooked, edamame will keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
  • The flavor and texture: Edamame tastes similar to peas, except peas are sweeter and edamame is nuttier. When steamed properly, edamame is tender yet still carries an appealing toothsome texture. The pod is seasoned, and you get the flavor as you run it through your teeth. 
  • Edamame is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also high in fiber and a variety of other nutrients including folate, vitamins A, C K, and magnesium.
  • Leftover steamed edamame may be reheated or enjoyed cold. 
  • For convenience sake, keep a bag or two in your freezer. 

 

With this technique, edamame is as flavor-packed as it is quick and easy. And it's so much fun to eat. Enjoy it as a regular side dish and snack rather than saving it for appetizer use only!

You could use a steamer basket, but you don’t need one because you’re using just enough water to create steam without submerging the edamame.

With this technique, edamame is as flavor-packed as it is quick and easy. And it's so much fun to eat. Enjoy it as a regular side dish and snack rather than saving it for appetizer use only!

After steaming for 3 to 5 minutes, drain well—but don’t rinse—and then immediately return the edamame to the hot pot. Any remaining moisture will quickly evaporate.

A few tricks make for the best edamame...and it's so quick and easy!

Lightly mist with olive or avocado oil spray and then toss. The oil spray works well because you want just enough oil to make the salt stick without making your fingers greasy. 

With this technique, edamame is as flavor-packed as it is quick and easy. And it's so much fun to eat. Enjoy it as a regular side dish and snack rather than saving it for appetizer use only!

Coarse salt, like kosher salt or a coarse sea salt, supplies more flavor with less overall use of salt along with a modest hint of crunch. 

The flavor-packed pop of perfectly cooked edamame is easy to achieve with a simple technique. A crowd-pleasing appetizer, for sure, but because they're so quick and easy, consider elevating the fun-to-eat pods to main meal status. Protein- and fiber-rich edamame makes a filling snack too! 

Sushi is a natural pairing, but use steamed edamame in other ways, too–like as a side dish instead of your favorite green veggie or simply to bolster a light meal. Or serve it as a satiating snack. 

A nutrition fact from our dietitian Emily:
As part of the soy family, edamame has often been criticized for its isoflavones. The theory is that these compounds can act like estrogen and therefore increase risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer or other estrogen-reactive medical conditions.

But human studies have shown soy to be protective against breast cancer, and other cancers for that matter, especially when consumption begins at a young age. For more on this topic, read Emily’s Soy & Breast Cancer – a short story!

In terms of medical conditions which are either reactive to estrogen or require specific dietary restrictions, it’s always best to consult with your physician and/or dietitian before making changes to your diet. 

Easiest Steamed Edamame
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 6 (¾ cup) servings
The pop of perfectly steamed edamame is easy to achieve with a simple technique. It's a crowd-pleasing appetizer, for sure, but because edamame is so quick and easy, it's worth thinking of as a speedy side dish too.
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen edamame in the pod*
  • Olive or avocado oil spray
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add a half inch of water to a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the frozen edamame and put the lid on.
  4. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to encourage even cooking. You can test one. The edamame should be hot throughout and the beans should be just tender.
  5. Drain well—don’t rinse—and then immediately return the edamame to the hot pot. Any remaining moisture will quickly evaporate.
  6. Lightly mist with olive or avocado oil spray and then toss. Sprinkle with kosher or coarse sea salt and toss again to evenly coat. The oil spray is the key because you want just enough oil to make the salt stick but not make the pods greasy.
Notes

*Bag size varies by brand. As a general rule, I add ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of edamame. Feel free to adjust based on size of bag used as well as individual taste.

Options: You could get fancy and sprinkle the steamed edamame with everything bagel seasoning or furikake (a Japanese spice blend available in the international aisle) in place of the salt. Or add a pinch or two of wasabi powder to the salt before sprinkling.

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For those who are curious…
The reason we don’t list nutritional breakdowns next to each recipe is because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how exact the measuring is. In saying that, if you email me separately, I can provide you with my best estimations on the nutrients you would like to know more about in this recipe. I’m happy to help! 

Quick to cook and fun to eat, the protein-rich appetizer can be a go-to weeknight side dish too. This simple, speedy technique is the answer. Delicious with Budget Sushi Bowls!

Budget Sushi Bowls with Canned Tuna are one of the many meals complemented by a side of steamed edamame. 

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