Soy Food Descriptions

Cost Comparisons

As a versatile source of food, the soybean is hard to beat. Although they can be eaten whole after being boiled or roasted, most soybeans are transformed into a great variety of foods. In addition, a great many foods already found in your kitchen cupboard contain soyfoods, such as soyoil (often called vegetable oil), lecithin, soy protein concentrates, textured soy protein and many more. The soyfood descriptions listed here represent the most common soyfoods on the market today.

Where To Find Soyfoods

The more popular soyfoods such as tofu, meat alternatives, soy sauce, soy flour and soybean oil, can be found in supermarkets. In natural and health foods stores you will find the greatest variety of soyfoods. Asian food stores carry most of those soyfoods used in East Asia. Several products, such as textured soy flour, textured soy protein concentrates, soynuts and soynut butter can be obtained through mail-order catalogs. If you have questions about these soyfoods, call your local health or natural food store, a manufacturer of the product, a mail-order company, or one of our information resources.

Popular Soy Foods

Naturally-Concentrated Soy Products

A new type of soy product is now available that provides for the first time a large amount of soy protein AND soy isoflavones. This product has been patented in countries aroudn the world including the United States and even China. By using more of the heart of the soybean, Physicians Laboratories created Revival Soy. Just 1 Revival Soy bar or shake contains the amount of isoflavones found in 6 cups of a typical soymilk. Learn more.

Soymilk, Soy Beverages

Soybeans, soaked, ground fine and strained, produce a fluid called soybean milk, which is a good substitute for cow’s milk. Plain, unfortified soymilk is an excellent source of high quality protein, B-vitamins. Soymilk is most commonly found in aseptic containers (non-refrigerated, shelf stable), but also can be found in quart and half gallon containers in the dairy case at the supermarket. Soymilk is also sold as a powder, which must be mixed with water. More information and recipes. Naturally concentrated products are available with much better flavor than retail soymilk products. Because of a patented, natural concentration process, just 1 Revival Soy bar or shake contains the amount of isoflavones found in 6 cups of a typical soymilk. Learn more.

Tofu & Tofu Products

Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Tofu is a bland product that easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients with which it is cooked. Tofu is rich in high-quality protein, B-vitamins and low in sodium. Firm tofu is dense and solid and can be cubed and served in soups, stir fried, or grilled. Firm tofu is higher in protein, fat and calcium than other forms of tofu. Soft tofu is good for recipes that call for blended tofu. Silken tofu is a creamy product and can be used as a replacement for sour cream in many dip recipes. Salad dressings offered by companies in this Directory include creamy dressings made with tofu or some other soyfood product. Several types of tofu can be found in supermarkets and natural health food stores. Tofu is also available as a powder. More information and recipes.

Alphabetical List of Soyfoods

Green Vegetable Soybeans (Edamamé)

These large soybeans are harvested when the beans are still green and sweet tasting and can be served as a snack or a main vegetable dish, after boiling in slightly salted water after 15-20 minutes. They are high in protein and fiber and contain no cholesterol. Edamame is more often found in Asian and natural food stores, shelled or still in the pod.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is a protein obtained from any vegetable, including soybeans. The protein is broken down into amino acids by a chemical process called acid hydrolysis. HVP is a flavor enhancer that can be used in soups, broths, sauces, gravies, flavoring and spice blends, canned and frozen vegetables, meats and poultry.

Infant Formulas, Soy-Based

Soy-based infant formulas are similar to other infant formulas except that a soy protein isolate powder is used as a base, instead of cow’s milk. Carbohydrates and fats are added to achieve a fluid similar to breast milk.

Lecithin

Extracted from soybean oil, lecithin is used in food manufacturing as an emulsifier in products high in fats and oils. It also promotes stabilization, antioxidation, crystallization and spattering control. Powdered lecithins can be found in natural and health food stores.

Meat Alternatives (Meat Analogs)

Meat alternatives made from soybeans contain soy protein or tofu and other ingredients mixed together to simulate various kinds of meat. These meat alternatives are sold as frozen, canned or dried foods. Usually, they can be used the same way as the foods they replace. With so many different meat alternatives available to consumers, the nutritional value of these foods varies considerably. Generally, they are lower in fat, but read the label to be certain. Meat alternatives made from soybeans are excellent sources of protein, iron and B vitamins. More information and recipes.

Miso

Miso is a rich, salty condiment that characterizes the essence of Japanese cooking. The Japanese make miso soup and use it to flavor a variety of foods. A smooth paste, miso is made from soybeans and a grain such as rice, plus salt and a mold culture, and then aged in cedar vats for one to three years. Miso should be refrigerated. Use miso to flavor soups, sauces, dressings, marinades and pâtés. More information and recipes.

Natto

Natto is made of fermented, cooked whole soybeans. Because the fermentation process breaks down the beans’ complex proteins, natto is more easily digested than whole soybeans. It has a sticky, viscous coating with a cheesy texture. In Asian countries natto traditionally is served as a topping for rice, in miso soups and is used with vegetables. Natto can be found in Asian and natural food stores.

Nondairy Soy Frozen Dessert

Nondairy frozen desserts are made from soymilk or soy yogurt. Soy ice cream is one of the most popular desserts made from soybeans and can be found in natural food stores.

Soy Cheese

Soy cheese is made from soymilk. Its creamy texture makes it an easy substitute for sour cream or cream cheese and can be found in variety of flavors in natural foods stores. Products made with soy cheese include soy pizza.

Soy Fiber (Okara, Soy Bran, Soy Isolate Fiber)

There are three basic types of soy fiber: Okara, soy bran and soy isolate fiber. All of these products are high-quality, inexpensive sources of dietary fiber.

Okara is a pulp fiber by-product of soymilk. It has less protein than whole soybeans, but the protein remaining is of high quality. Okara tastes similar to coconut and can be baked or added as fiber to granola and cookies. Okara also has been made into sausage. Look for okara in natural food stores.

Soy bran is made from hulls (the outer covering of the soybean), which is removed during initial processing. The hulls contain a fibrous material which can be extracted and then refined for use as a food ingredient.

Soy isolate fiber, also known as structured protein fiber (SPF), is soy protein isolate in a fibrous form.

Soy Flour

Soy flour is made from roasted soybeans ground into a fine powder. There are three kinds of soy flour available:

  • Natural or full-fat, which contains the natural oils found in the soybean;
  • Defatted, which has the oils removed during processing;
  • Lecithinated, which has had lecithin added to it.

All soy flour gives a protein boost to recipes. However, defatted soy flour is an even more concentrated source of protein than full-fat soy flour. Although used mainly by the food industry, soy flour can be found in natural foods stores and some supermarkets. Soy flour is gluten-free so yeast-raised breads made with soy flour are more dense in texture. Replace 1/4 to 1/3 the flour with soy flour in recipes for muffins, cakes, cookies, pancakes and quick breads. More information and recipes.

Soy Grits

Soy grits are similar to soy flour except that the soybeans have been toasted and cracked into coarse pieces, rather than the fine powder of soy flour. Soy grits can be used as a substitute for flour in some recipes. High in protein, soy grits can be added to rice and other grains and cooked together.

Soymilk, Soy Beverages

Soybeans, soaked, ground fine and strained, produce a fluid called soybean milk, which is a good substitute for cow’s milk. Plain, unfortified soymilk is an excellent source of high quality protein, B-vitamins. Soymilk is most commonly found in aseptic containers (nonrefrigerated, shelf stable), but also can be found in quart and half gallon containers in the dairy case at the supermarket. Soymilk is also sold as a powder, which must be mixed with water. More information and recipes. Naturally concentrated products are available with much better flavor than retail soymilk products. Because of a patented, natural concentration process, just 1 Revival Soy bar or shake contains the amount of isoflavones found in 6 cups of a typical soymilk. Learn more.

Soy Protein Concentrate

Soy protein concentrate comes from defatted soy flakes. It contains about 70 percent protein, while retaining most of the bean’s dietary fiber.

Soy Protein Isolates (Isolated Soy Protein)

When protein is removed from defatted flakes the result is soy protein isolates, the most highly refined soy protein. Containing 92 percent protein, soy protein isolates possess the greatest amount of protein of all soy products. They are a highly digestible source of amino acids (building blocks of protein necessary for human growth and maintenance).

Soy Protein, Textured

Textured soy protein (TSP) usually refers to products made from textured soy flour, although the term can also be applied to textured soy protein concentrates and spun soy fiber. More information and recipes.

Textured soy flour (TSF) is made by running defatted soy flour through an extrusion cooker, which allows for many different forms and sizes. When hydrated it has a chewy texture. It is widely used as a meat extender. One of the more popular brands of TSF is made by Archer Daniels Midland Company, which owns the right to the product named Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP).

Textured soy flour contains about 70 percent protein and retains most of the bean’s dietary fiber. Often referred to simply as textured soy protein (TSP), textured soy flour is sold dried in granular and chunk style. It can be found in natural food stores and through mail-order catalogs.

Soy Sauce (Tamari, Shoyu, Teriyaki)

Soy sauce is a dark brown liquid made from soybeans that have undergone a fermenting process. Soy sauces have a salty taste, but are lower in sodium than traditional table salt. Specific types of soy sauce are: shoyu, tamari and teriyaki. Shoyu is a blend of soybeans and wheat. Tamari is made only from soybeans and is a by-products of making miso. Teriyaki sauce can be thicker than other types of soy sauce and includes other ingredients such as sugar, vinegar and spices.

Soy Yogurt

Soy yogurt is made from soymilk. Its creamy texture makes it an easy substitute for sour cream or cream cheese. Soy yogurt can be found in variety of flavors in natural foods stores.

Soybeans, Whole

As soybeans mature in the pod they ripen into a hard, dry bean. Most soybeans are yellow. However, there are brown and black varieties. Whole soybeans (an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber) can be cooked and used in sauces, stews and soups. Whole soybeans that have been soaked can be roasted for snacks and can be purchased in natural food stores and some supermarkets. When grown without agricultural chemicals, they are referred to as organically grown soybeans. More information and recipes.

Soynut Butter

Made from roasted, whole soynuts, which are then crushed and blended with soyoil and other ingredients, soynut butter has a slightly nutty taste, significantly less fat than peanut butter and provides many other nutritional benefits as well. Soynut butter can be found in a few supermarkets, or through mail-order companies. More information and recipes.

Soynuts

Roasted soynuts are whole soybeans that have been soaked in water and then baked until browned. Soynuts can be found in a variety of flavors, including chocolate-covered. High in protein and isoflavones, soynuts are similar in texture and flavor to peanuts. You can find roasted soynuts in natural food stores and through mail-order catalogs.

Soyoil & Products

Soyoil is the natural oil extracted from whole soybeans. It is the most widely used oil in the U.S., accounting for more than 75 percent of our total vegetable fats and oils intake. Oil sold in the grocery store under the generic name “vegetable oil” is usually 100 percent soyoil or a blend of soyoil and other oils. Read the label to make certain you’re buying soybean oil. Soyoil is cholesterol-free and high in polyunsaturated fat. Soyoil also is used to make margarine and shortening. More information and recipes.

Sprouts, Soy

Although not as popular as mung bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts, soy sprouts (also called soybean sprouts), are an excellent source of nutrition, packed with protein and vitamin C. They can be sprouted in the same manner as other beans and seeds. Soy sprouts must be cooked quickly at low heat so they don’t get mushy. They can also be used raw in salads or soups, or in stir-fried, sautéed, or baked dishes.

Tempeh

Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food, is a chunky, tender soybean cake. Whole soybeans, sometimes mixed with another grain such as rice or millet, are fermented into a rich cake of soybeans with a smoky or nutty flavor. Tempeh can be marinated and grilled and added to soups, casseroles, or chili. Found in Asian food stores. More information and recipes.

Tofu & Tofu Products

Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Tofu is a bland product that easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients with which it is cooked. Tofu is rich in high-quality protein, B-vitamins and low in sodium. Firm tofu is dense and solid and can be cubed and served in soups, stir fried, or grilled. Firm tofu is higher in protein, fat and calcium than other forms of tofu. Soft tofu is good for recipes that call for blended tofu. Silken tofu is a creamy product and can be used as a replacement for sour cream in many dip recipes. Salad dressings offered by companies in this Directory include creamy dressings made with tofu or some other soyfood product. Several types of tofu can be found in supermarkets and natural health food stores. Tofu is also available as a powder. More information and recipes.

Whipped Toppings, Soy-Based

Soy-based whipped toppings are similar to other nondairy whipped toppings, except that hydrogenated soyoil is used instead of other vegetable oils.

Yuba

Yuba is made by lifting and drying the thin layer formed on the surface of cooling hot soymilk. It has a high protein content and is commonly sold fresh, half-dried and dried. In the U.S., dried yuba sheets (called dried bean curd, bean curd sheets, or bean curd skin) and u-shaped rolls (called bamboo yuba or bean curd sticks) can be found in Asian food stores.