When you are following a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet, the hunt for good protein sources is always on. 'Cause you know, the masses keep reminding you how important protein is and asking, "How are you getting enough protein on a vegan diet??"
So your quest for quality (and sufficient) protein can sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store - too many options, overwhelming, and not necessarily your healthiest bet.
There are quite a few plant-based protein options and meat alternatives, but not all are equally healthy or nutritious.
However, soy curls are one plant-based protein source you do not have to worry about.
Read more to discover all the deets about soy curls:
what are soy curls?
Soy curls are a meat substitute made from whole soybeans cooked in water.
The cooking liquid and beans are gently stirred up, encouraging them to break down. The emulsified mixture is then forced through an extruder into strip-like curds, which are slowly dried at a low temperature. This helps preserve some of the benefits of whole soybeans, such as fiber and omega-3.
They have a chewy, fibrous texture similar to chicken or beef and can be used in various dishes, including stir-fries, tacos, salads, and soups.
Soy curls are true flavor-absorbing sponges that readily absorb the seasonings and sauces they're cooked in!
Being high in protein and fiber, makes soy curls a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans. They are also free of gluten and have no cholesterol or saturated fat. More on their nutrition below!
are soy curls healthy?
Soy curls have a few attributes that make them a healthy plant-based protein source. They are:
- Non-GMO (genetically modified).
- Minimally processed.
- Free from preservatives, additives, and protein isolates.
- Free from added sugar, salt, and oil, unlike other meat alternatives.
- High in protein, fiber, iron, and potassium.
- Gluten-free if you have gluten sensitivities.
High in protein
Soy curls are a great source of high-quality plant-based protein. It contains all 9 essential amino acids crucial for tissue building and repair, immune function, and optimal body functioning.
A 30-gram serving of soy curls (about 1 cup rehydrated) contains approximately 10-12 grams of protein, comparable to the amount of protein found in a serving of chicken breast.
Additionally, soy protein has been shown to have potential health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Read more: Are soy foods healthy?
Overall, soy curls can be a nutritious and satisfying protein source for people following vegetarian or vegan diets or simply wanting to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet.
Read more: The best vegan protein sources
low in fat
Soy curls contain some fat, but they are generally low in fat compared to meat-based protein sources.
They are especially low in saturated fat, often contributing to heart disease and other health problems. Instead, soy curls contain primarily unsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and help to lower cholesterol levels.
The amount of fat in soy curls can vary depending on the brand and how they are prepared, but a 30-gram serving of soy curls typically contains around 5 grams of fat.
It is worth noting that some commercially produced soy products may contain added oils or fats, so it is essential to check the ingredient list and choose minimally processed soy products whenever possible.
high in fiber
Soy curls are a good source of dietary fiber, offering around 6 grams of fiber per 30-gram serving.
Fiber is one of the most crucial dietary elements that plays various roles in the body, such as promoting healthy digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Fiber also helps to promote a feeling of fullness and can be beneficial for weight management.
Soy curls are particularly high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body. This can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Soy curls are high in essential vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, and vitamin B12, all beneficial to overall health and well-being.
However, it is important to note that some people are allergic to soy or have difficulty digesting it.
Furthermore, some processed soy products may contain added salt, sugar, or preservatives or be cooked in ways that diminish their nutritional profile and benefits. Always read the label and select minimally processed soy products.
soy curls nutrition
The exact nutritional values of soy curls may vary depending on the brand and how they are prepared, but here is an approximate breakdown of the nutritional values of soy curls per 30 grams:
- Calories: 120 kcal
- Protein: 11 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 8 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Iron: 2 mg
- Calcium: 46 mg
*Image from Cooking For Peanuts
how to cook soy curls
Soy curls must typically be rehydrated in hot water or broth before being used in recipes.
They can be seasoned and cooked like meat once rehydrated and can take on a variety of flavors depending on the spices and sauces used.
Here's an easy way to cook soy curls:
- Rehydrate the soy curls by placing the desired amount in a bowl and covering them with hot water or broth. Soak for 10-15 minutes or until fully rehydrated and tender.
- Once the soy curls have been rehydrated, drain and squeeze out any excess water.
- Season the soy curls with the spices and seasonings of your choice. Make your own marinade or sauce by combining soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and spices. (Soy curls can also be coated and fried, yummm!)
- To cook the soy curls, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the seasoned soy curls for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. You can also bake the soy curls for 15-20 minutes at 350°F or until crispy.
- Ingredients with natural sugars, such as maple syrup, honey, BBQ sauce, or tomato paste, will give soy curls a boost of caramelization and a crust reminiscent of seared meat.
Serve the cooked soy curls as a meat alternative in your favorite dishes. Here are a few ideas:
- Make vegan Fajitas
- Make scrumptious sandwiches
- Add to sizzling stir fry
- Use in heartwarming soups
- Bulk up refreshing salads
- Add to mouth-watering casseroles
where to buy soy curls
Right here at Country Life Natural Foods!
We sell bulk soy curls and smaller-sized packages - offering 8 oz. to 12 lb. options. Buying bulk soy curls offers an economic benefit and limits purchases, saving time and money.
Soy curls can be found at markets and food co-ops or online directly from various online retailers, such as Butler's Food, Amazon, and Walmart.