Saturday, February 18, 2012

Go Soynuts!

Are you a soynut lover? Crunchy, toasty and definitely with handful-to-mouth snackability, these protein rich toasted beans are the new "no-nut nut" on the block, and are a pretty big hit with the low-carb, high protein crowd, as well as parents who need something to tide their kids over from school through soccer / hockey / dance / swimming until dinner is ready that isn't packed full of sugar or preservatives. And with soy's natural high fibre and impressive isoflavone content (shown to help reduce the risk of certain cancers), a handful of them tossed onto a salad is a healthier option to croutons and a lower-fat swap for tree nuts. Since all beans are not only protein sources (as bioavailable as eggs or dairy are), but also complex carbohydrates, they keep you full and energized too.

Unfortunately, even though the beans themselves are plain and simple, many commercially available brands of soynuts are packed with oil, salt, sugar and occasionally allergens like dairy, wheat, egg whites and nuts. GMO status labelling is hit and miss on the packages, which is a concern for most of us who are trying to steer clear of the hormones and synthetic agents linked to problems with fertility and development, plus there are the hosts of doomsday soothsayers that link anything soy to any and all health problems under the sun (which, by the way, is not the case - much like the whole "wheat and gluten is evil" mentality, the problem is overprevalence of the hexane-adulterated, individual components of the raw ingredient in processed food, not the original food itself!). Not to mention, packages of soynuts are on the pricey side - at about $4.50 a pound for non-organic bags and even more for that seal of assurance, those $1 grab bags of chips seem like a much better value snack option for those on the go.

Until now, anyways. What if I told you that you can make your own, preservative / oil / salt / sugar / dairy / egg / nut free snackable soy (or any bean) nuts, for pennies? In fact, when I costed out this recipe with the organic, non-GMO raw soybeans I used, the whole thing - 2 1/2 cups or 10 servings - was forty-five cents. Yes. The same amount in soynuts from the bulk food store (not certified organic or anything free, nor the most expensive variety out there) runs you $2.50. Plus, when you make your own, you have unlimited potential in terms of flavour - try honey and garlic, or salt and vinegar, or even wasabi!


Really, what more could you ask for? Maybe tomorrow's treat - a perfect use for these fresh-roasted goodies!

Plain Soynuts
Adapted from Simply Gluten-Free's Homemade Soy Nuts
Makes about 2 1/2 cups, ten 1/4 cup servings
1 cup dry soy beans
water
  1. In a large covered container, completely cover dried beans with water (you want a good 3" above). Let stand overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  3. Drain the beans and dry well on a clean kitchen towel.
  4. Spread beans in a single layer on the sheets.
  5. Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes and rotating pans halfway through.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 77.4
Total Fat: 3.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.4 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 6.8 g

*Like I mentioned above, absolutely any bean can be roasted into a munchable treat (so those who are soy allergic / soy phobic, take heart!). However, using beans other than soy means their roast times will vary. For smaller types (adzuki, for example) start checking at 45 minutes. Kidney and lima beans can take up to 1 1/2 hours (and I recommend soaking these a minimum of 24 hours).