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 and Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Cheese and Edamame Pesto Spread Sandwich

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:

 

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