Edamame is the soybean in its least-processed, tender green form. With zero cholesterol, loads of fiber and protein, and more than a day’s supply of folate per cup, it’s a fantastically healthy, low-cal snack. Buy frozen in husks or already shelled; steam or boil briefly. Squeeze the pods (don’t eat them; they’re too fibrous) to easily extract the slightly sweet, buttery beans.
Appetizer. For a supersimple snack, blanch edamame pods in salted water, drain, and serve on a platter with coarse sea salt, or salt mixed with Chinese five-spice powder. (Provide a dish for the empty pods.)
Dip. Combine 1 cup blanched edamame beans in a food processor with ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, a clove of garlic, a dollop of miso or soy sauce, and a drizzle of lemon juice, plus salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Add a little olive oil or water to achieve a smooth consistency. Serve with crudités or crackers.
Salad or side. Toss blanched edamame beans with salad greens, feta cheese, dried blueberries, and a white-balsamic dressing. Or combine with frozen and thawed corn, chopped red bell pepper, and sliced green onions; sauté in olive oil until warm, salt to taste, and serve with broiled fish.