What Is Edamame And What Does It Taste Like?

What is edamame? The simple answer is edamame is a soybean. But what's the difference? And why don't we simply call it soybean? Although edamame comes from soybeans, The Spruce Eats explains that they're grown and produced on a different timeline. Edamame is used in many different Asian cuisines, and the name translates to "beans on a branch" in Japanese. Unlike what we typically think of as soybeans — which are really just edamame that's picked when they're harder and matured — these little bean pods are plucked while they are still soft enough to use in cooking. Though you may already have a good idea of what eating or drinking soy is like, you might be wondering what edamame tastes like.

As Thrive Cuisine sites, soybeans and edamame, regardless of being the same bean, are drastically different in taste. Soybeans, despite all of their benefits, don't do a whole lot for the palate. The taste of edamame however is described as somewhere between an almond and a harder, more modest version of a pea. And if you're looking for more than good taste, edamame has plenty to offer.

The health benefits of edamame

According to Healthline, there are numerous health benefits (as well as a couple of concerns and myths) when it comes to edamame. Benefits range from possibly reducing the chances of breast cancer to lowering blood pressure to reducing the effects of menopause, as well as being chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals. And don't think they're the same as soybeans. Fresh edamame has notably more folate and vitamin K than its older kin.

While there are some concerns regarding the regular consumption of soy and edamame potentially interfering with thyroid function, as Healthline points out, the major selling point for this little green legume is it being an excellent source of vegan protein. Where most plants have very little protein, edamame contains almost 20 grams per cup, and on top of that, it boasts an array of all the necessary amino acids, which is a major plus for anyone, but especially those who can't get their protein through animal sources. If that's not a superfood, we don't know what is.