Adding Soy to Your Diet
You may not know much about soy foods, but by now you may have heard of their health
benefits. Soy foods are nutrient rich, low in calories and saturated fat. They are a good source of
protein and provide all the amino acids our bodies need. Soy foods are rich in iron, phosphorus,
potassium, B-vitamins and vitamin E.
Soy foods have many health benefits:
ξ May help fight heart disease by lowering levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol
ξ May help improve bone health, to prevent fractures
ξ May help guard against cancer. If you are at risk for breast cancer, we suggest
moderate amounts of soy foods (tofu, soy milk, tempeh, edamame, etc.), but you should
avoid isolated soy products (soy protein powders, soy supplements, and texturized
vegetable protein). If you have breast cancer talk with your doctor about soy
Soy foods may be used as a way to increase plant proteins in your diet while reducing animal
protein. This change can help you increase polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals in
the diet, and lower saturated fat content.
Do you want to increase soy in your diet, but do not know where to begin?
Below you will find recipes and ideas for products such as soy milk, soy flour, tofu, tempeh and
others. There are many highly processed soy products in grocery stores. It is best to focus on
less processed soy foods, such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk.
Soy foods are products made from soybeans. Soybeans can be used to make many types of foods
and are processed into many forms, such as:
ξ Soy milk is a fluid made by soaking, grinding and straining soybeans. It can be
substituted for cow’s milk in any recipe or used as a drink. Plain soy milk is a good
source of protein (7 grams) and B-vitamins. If you are using soy milk instead of dairy
products, its important make sure the soy milk is has calcium. The original and
unsweetened soy milk are the best options. These have the lowest added sugar content.
ξ Tofu is a soft, cheese-like food is made from curds of soy milk. It is bland on its own,
but picks up flavors of other foods. It is easy to use in many types of dishes. Some of
the uses include stir-fry, dips, shakes, desserts, kabobs, and soups. One cup of tofu can
provide up to 20 grams of protein. Tofu can be found refrigerated in the produce
section of your grocery store or in “juice box” packaging on the shelf of the natural
foods area. Tofu can be stored in the fridge up to one week or in the freezer up to five
months. You can get it in extra firm, firm, soft or silken textures. Types include:
o Water packed tofu. This tofu must always be covered with water that should be
changed daily. It comes in soft, firm, extra firm, and regular. Works best for
freezing and thawing, which make the texture meatier, and much more like a meat
o Silken or vacuum packed tofu. This tofu is custard like and ideal for soups,
desserts, and drinks. Silken tofu is too delicate to stir-fry, sauté, or grill. It comes in
soft, firm, and extra firm textures.
o Baked tofu. This seasoned, marinated, extra-firm tofu is ready-to-use. Use it in
sandwiches as a filling. It is a great substitute for chicken or tuna, and is very good
o Smoked tofu. This tofu is smoked on beech-wood. It is great in soups and stews.
o Reduced Fat Tofu. Several brands of tofu make a reduced fat or light version of
their products. It performs identically to full fat tofu.
ξ Tempeh is a cake of fermented soybeans with a nutty or smoky flavor. Sold at most
natural food stores and large grocery stores. One half cup can add up to 16 grams of
protein. Great when grilled, sautéed, pan-crisped, or braised. Tempeh can be frozen up
to one year.
ξ Soy flour is a rich flour made from ground, roasted soybeans that have been ground
into a fine powder. It does not contain gluten, so cannot replace more than 35-50% of
the wheat flour in a recipe. Soy flour tends to brown more quickly, so you may want to
lower the oven temperature when baking. One fourth of a cup can add up to eight grams
of protein. There are two kinds of soy flour:
o Full-fat flour contains the natural oils that are found in soybeans. Substitute soy
flour for 1/4 cup of the regular flour called for in your favorite baked goods. Works
best in baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads, and quick breads. Should be
stored in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.
o Defatted flour contains minimal fat as most of the oil is removed. Add 2
tablespoons in measuring cup before measuring the all-purpose flour. Works best in
lighter texture yeast breads. May be stored on the shelf.
ξ Textured soy protein, or TSP is a textured soy flour that is sold in granular or chunk
style. TSP has a chewy texture and can be used as a meat extender or meat replacement.
When added to recipes each ½ cup prepared can add up to 11 grams of protein. You can
find it in the freezer section of the grocery store as soy burgers and soy “crumbles” to
use in place of ground beef.
ξ Soy oils are oil extracted from the soybean. It has a blend of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
ξ Soy Cheese. Soft soy cheese can be used instead of sour cream or cream cheese. The
firmer cheese can be used like dairy cheese, though they do not melt the way dairy
cheeses do. Firmer soy cheese is often colored and/or flavored to look like dairy
½ c silken tofu (about 4 oz)
¾ c sweetened frozen strawberries
2 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve right away.
Yield: 1 - 12 oz. serving
Calories: 355 Protein: 10g Sodium: 45mg Carbs: 40.7g
Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 0.7g Cholesterol: 0mg
12 oz. firm or extra firm, lite tofu (refrigerated block)
1 tsp. Olive oil (or use pan spray)
2 green onions, sliced
1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 Tbs. green bell peppers, chopped
2 Tbs. red bell peppers, chopped
4 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced
Dash cayenne pepper, dash of turmeric (optional)
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Mash tofu with fork and put in microwave-safe bowl and microwave 1 minute. Meanwhile,
heat frying pan and coat with oil or pan spray; sauté vegetables until crisp-tender. Add red
pepper and tofu and combine. Mix in spices. Serve warm with toast or rolled in a tortilla.
Yield: 4 servings
Calories: 70 Protein: 6g Sodium: 135mg Carbs: 5g
Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 0.5g Cholesterol: 0mg
1/3 c stone ground corn meal
1/3 c soy flour
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
¾ t baking soda
1 c plain yogurt (or soy yogurt)
¼ c honey or 1/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c canola oil
½ t salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl,
mix wet ingredients, then pour into dry mix. Stir until moist, do not over mix. Fill muffin cups
2/3 full and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 12 muffins (1 muffin per serving)
Calories: 151 Protein: 3g Sodium: 190mg Carbs: 12.4g
Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 0.7g Cholesterol: 18mg
Tomato Bisque Soup
2 t olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
30 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 t dill
Salt to taste
½ t white pepper
1 c soy milk
2 t sugar or honey
10 oz lite firm silken tofu
Sauté onions on medium heat; add garlic and stir to avoid burning. Add remaining
ingredients, except tofu. Heat through and remove from burner to cool 10 minutes. Transfer to
food processor or blender, add tofu and puree until smooth. Serve hot or chilled.
Yield: 4 entrée-sized servings
Calories: 156 Protein: 9g Sodium: 840mg Carbs: 21.5g
Fat: 5.6g Saturated fat: 0.8g Cholesterol: 0mg
Hold the Eggs Salad
12 oz extra firm lite silken tofu
1/3 c fat-free or lite mayonnaise, lite
Miracle Whip, or mayo
1 T yellow mustard (for flavor and color)
1 tsp turmeric
T. diced vegetables (a mix of bell pepper,
celery, and onion)
Dash black pepper, if desired
Crumble tofu in a bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve on pita or bread with lettuce
leaves for a tasty and quick main dish. Refrigerate leftovers
Yield: Filling for 4 sandwiches.
Calories: 70 Protein: 6g Sodium: 325mg Carbs: 5g
Fat: 2.5g Saturated fat: 0.4mg Cholesterol: 0 mg
8 oz. firm tofu
¼ c. low sodium soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1 T. dark sesame oil (for flavoring)
½ T. canola oil (for stir frying)
3 c. coleslaw mix
1 garlic clove
¾ pound angel hair pasta
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Cut tofu into ¼ inch thick strips and place in bowl. Make marinade by combining soy sauce,
vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Pour over tofu and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours.
Spray cookie sheet with pan spray and spread tofu strips in single layer. Bake 20 minutes at
350 degrees or until desired firmness. Reserve marinade. Start boiling water for pasta. Just
after adding angel hair, heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and stir-fry slaw mix and
garlic 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in remaining marinade.
Cook pasta 3 to 4 minutes or until done. Drain.
Gently toss hot pasta, cooked slaw mix and baked tofu in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped
cilantro (avoid adding during cooking, as this diminishes flavor).
Note: If you cannot find coleslaw mix, substitute 2 ½ cups shredded cabbage and 1 cup
The sesame oil that gives this dish its flavor is dark brown in color and you can find it at most
grocery stores in the Asian food section. Rice-wine vinegar is also found in the Asian foods
Yield: 4 servings (main course)
Calories: 460 Protein: 18g Sodium: 615mg Carbs: 47.2g
Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 1.2mg Cholesterol: 0mg
Peanut Butter Spread
12 oz. lite silken tofu
½ c. peanut butter
1 large banana
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Serve on
whole grain bread for a spread which is lower in fat than plain peanut butter. Try topping with
nuts, raisins or sliced bananas for variety.
Yield: Spread for 6 sandwiches
Calories: 190 Protein: 9.5g Sodium: 940mg Carbs: 16.1g
Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 2.2g Cholesterol: 0mg
2 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes (or
equivalent to make 2 c. broth per
½ c. boiling water
6 oz firm lite silken tofu
1 t. olive oil or pan spray
2 c. fresh mush rooms, sliced
1 med onion, halved and sliced crosswise
2 t soy sauce
2 T. dry sherry
½ t. black pepper
16 oz fat free sour cream
3 c. fresh vegetables, chopped in bite-
sized pieces (a mixture of cauliflower,
broccoli, carrots, peppers)
16 oz egg noodles
Boil water for noodles. Dissolve bouillon in ½ cup water then place in blender or food
processor; add tofu and puree.
Heat pan on medium-high heat, then add oil.
Sauté mushrooms and onions then season with soy sauce, sherry and pepper. Stir in tofu mix
and heat. Stir in sour cream and reduce heat to low; do not boil or sour cream may separate.
Steam vegetables. Cook noodles. Server veggies over noodles, then top with sauce.
Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 440 Protein: 19g Sodium: 595mg Carbs: 32.6g
Fat: 4.5g Saturated fat: 0.9g Cholesterol: 70mg
8 oz. tube pasta
5 oz. silken tofu
¼ c. pesto
salt to taste
3 c. bite-sized, raw vegetables (such as,
broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper and
Start water boiling for pasta and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place
tofu and pesto in food processor or blender and puree; salt per taste (depending on salt content
of pesto). Stir-fry vegetables; starting with those requiring more cooking (such as carrots) and
ending with those needing less (such as mushrooms); heat until tender-crisp. Toss together hot
cooked pasta, sauce and veggies in large bowl and serve.
Yield: 4 servings (main course)
Calories: 295 Protein: 12.5g Sodium: 98mg Carbs: 28.9g
Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1.0g Cholesterol: 4mg
Banana Snack Cake
2 c. cake flour or sifted whole wheat
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
1/3 c. extra firm silken tofu
1/3 c. water
2 t. lemon juice
¾ c. ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 c. sugar
¼ c. honey
3 T canola oil
1 t. vinegar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. mini or regular chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8”x12” baking pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
Sift flour, cocoa, soda and salt into medium sized bowl. Puree tofu, water and lemon juice in a
food processor or blender, then add bananas, sugar, honey, oil, vinegar and vanilla; puree.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until dry ingredients are moist.
Pour batter into pan and smooth with spatula. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 25 minutes,
or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yield: 10 servings
Calories: 260 Protein: 3g Sodium: 200g Carbs: 43.7g
Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 1.3g Cholesterol: 1mg
The tofu replaces the dairy products in the recipe. It is so good and smooth.
1 unbaked pie crust
15 ounces canned pumpkin
12 ounces extra firm silken style tofu
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar or ¾ cup honey
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press pie crust into a 9 inch pan. Set aside. In a food processor
bowl combine pumpkin, tofu, eggs, sugar and spices. Process until smooth. Pour into
unbaked crust. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until filling is set. Filling will appear soft but will
become firmer as it chills. Serve with light whipped cream.
ξ The Art of Tofu by Akasha Richmond
ξ Cooking with Tofu by Robert McBride
ξ Soy of Cooking by Marie Osier
ξ Soyfoods Cookery by Louise Hagler
ξ Super Soy: The Miracle Bean by Ruth
ξ The Tempeh Cookbook by Dorothy Bates
ξ The Tofu Cookbook by Leah Leneman
ξ Tofu Quick and Easy by Louise Hagler
ξ With a Little Help From the Soybean by
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at:
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#344