Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recipe for Edamame Pesto Spread (Ενταμάμε Πέστο Σαλάτα)

I always keep a bag of shelled edamame beans in the freezer. They’re colorful, taste great, and very versatile.

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 SpreadEdamame 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 SandwichesGrilled Cheese and Edamame Pesto Spread Sandwich


Tay said...

This is brilliant! I will make it today...recently started shopping at my local Asian grocery store for a few things (young coconuts, etc) and found that the bunches of Thai basil are so cheap and fresh there! I'll be trying this with Thai basil and mint.


Susan said...

Gorgeous, Laurie! I just want to dig in with wedges of crispy pita.

Thanks so much for the great MLLA8 recipe!

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

That is very creative Laurie! I would have never thought of making pesto spread from edamame beans. The color of the spread is so bright and beautiful. I've only eaten these beans boiled with salt. They are so healthy and tasty!

Peter M said...

Great colour Laurie and i see a man's face in the pesto...Groucho Marx? lol

Cheryl said...

I'll take anything pesto! This looks fabulous and yes, it's very creative. It looks so delicious:)

Maria Verivaki said...

i cannot remember if i ever had soybeans in nz - i dont think i've ever tried them in greece either

Joanne said...

I LOVE edamame. Whenever I dine at a Japanese restaurant, edamame is always an item I order. Believe it or not, I have never tried cooking with it at home. This edamame pesto spread sounds perfect!!! I MUST venture over to Korea Town and grab me some frozen edamame soon.

Katie Zeller said...

I can't get edamame here... I wonder if I can do the opposite and substitute fresh fava beans? I'll give it a try - if spring ever gets here.

Laurie Constantino said...

Tay, I hope you like it!! Thai basil and mint sound perfect.

Susan, yep, pita scooping is the way to go!

Nihal, thanks! I love colorful food, as you may have guessed! And since the edamame aren't cooked after thawing, they don't lose their nutrients.

Peter M, now that you mention it, I do see Groucho!

Cheryl, yes, anything pesto is good for me too!

Maria, until the last decade, you never really saw edamames in the stores here. But then a lot of Japanese restaurants starting giving them away as a free appetizer and now you can buy them anywhere. I've never seen them in Greece, that's for sure.

Bijoux, yes you MUST!!

Katie, you can definitely substitute fresh fava - either raw as Marcella does or quickly blanched, which is probably what I'd do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Trader Joe's, I now keep edamame in my freezer, too.

Simona Carini said...

Gorgeous! I will definitely try to make this.

Laurie Constantino said...

I'm jealous of people who have a Trader Joe's nearby, Lydia. I keep writing and inviting them to Anchorage, but so far they haven't bit.

Simona, I'm so glad you like it!

Laurie Constantino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rajee said...

Gorgeous and brilliant color!

manju said...

Love the sandwich idea for this spread. Great use for edamame! We've had to cut back on edamame and other soybean products b/c of T's hypothyroid condition but I love them.

Rumela said...

I love eating breakfast and always try new recipes. I would love to try the grilled cheese and edamame pesto spread sandwich for breakfast. that looks tasty. spread sandwich is also a healthy food option and can make a satisfying meal. The Photos are amazing... I am already feeling hungry. thank you for shearing your post.