Edamames are green soybeans, harvested while the pod is still soft and bright green. In Japanese, “eda” means branches and “mame” means beans; thus, edamames grow in clusters on the soybean plant’s many branches. Edamames are rich in fiber and protein and, like all soybeans, may have significant health benefits.
Last weekend I used them to make Edamame Pesto Spread, a garlicky bean spread loaded with fresh basil, fresh mint, and parmesan cheese. The recipe was inspired by, but quite different from, Marcella Hazan’s Ligurian Raw Fava Bean Spread in Marcella Cucina.
I often use edamames as a substitute for fresh fava beans in Greek recipes, such as braised favas with dill and onions or favas and potatoes baked in grape leaves (recipes for both are in Tastes Like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska). Recently, I used edamames in Seafood and Vegetable Stew with Rouille.
Except for the fresh herbs, which are readily available at most grocery stores, Edamame Pesto Spread is made with pantry staples. It goes together in minutes and can be served right away. As a result it’s a handy recipe to keep in mind for last minute entertaining, especially in summer when herb gardens flourish.
Edamame Pesto Spread (Ενταμάμε Πέστο Σαλάτα)
Makes about 2 cups
Serve as an appetizer with pita chips or thin slices of bread. Edamame Pesto Spread is also good in sandwiches or on pasta.
1/2 cup freshly grated (or finely ground in a food processor) parmesan cheese
2 cups shelled edamame beans (frozen), thawed
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup whole mint leaves
1/4 cup whole basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Taste and add salt, freshly ground black pepper, or lemon juice, as needed.
This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair, created and hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Grilled Cheese and Edamame Pesto Spread Sandwich