February 21st, 2012

3 Healthy Foods with Weird Names

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3 Healthy Foods With Weird Names Groovy Green Livin

When my kids were really small, we had a lot of fun with the pronunciation (or mispronunciation) of these three foods.  Edamame was called “ate-a –mommy” for many years. Quinoa was pronounced “king-wop” and Tempeh was “that stuff”. We have come a long way and I think we finally have the pronunciations down pat. While working through the correct food speak, we also worked hard to incorporate these three foods into our eclectic and healthy diet.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)

organic quinoa

As much as quinoa looks like a grain, it isn’t actually a grain. It is a seed from a broad-leafed plant that is closely related to beets and spinach. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. It’s also perfect for those on a gluten free diet.  It’s high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and is a source of calcium, B vitamins and fiber. It can be prepared in many different ways. The most simple is preparing it in a similar fashion to rice.


The taste and texture of quinoa is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal and a hint of nuts.


Organic Tempeh

Tempeh is relatively new to those of us in the west, but it’s been a staple for hundreds of years for many living in Asia. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a rectangular patty. The consistency is similar to that of a  veggie burger. Many use it as a meat substitute in dishes. I’ve used it in chili, stir-fry and on the grill. As with any soy product, it should be eaten in moderation.


Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor. I like to add tempeh to my favorite marinade and stir fry them together.



Edamame is by far one of my kid’s top side dishes-probably because they are so much fun to eat. Edamame is just a fancy name for boiled soybeans. They technically aren’t considered a vegetable, they’re a legume. The beans are boiled in their thick pods and a little coarse salt is sprinkled on top. After they are cooked the green edamame are popped out to eat. Sometimes they can fly pretty high-depending upon who’s doing the popping. Edamame are chock-full of protein, fiber and Vitamin A and C.


The soybeans are crunchy and delicious. Add a little coarse salt to taste and you won’t be able to stop eating them. As with any soy product, edamame should be eaten in moderation.

Have you tried edamame, tempeh or quinoa? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

Disclaimer: Before adding any soy to your diet please check with your physician to make sure it’s appropriate for you.

[Photos used under Creative Commons from Amina Elahi, Stacy and Sweeetonveg, The Unseasoned Wok/Flickr]

16 Responses to “3 Healthy Foods with Weird Names”

  1. Since I’m Asian, I grew up with edamame; quinoa is a more recent addition to my diet. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of quinoa, but it does cook a lot faster than brown rice. Quinoa salad with bell peppers, corn, cucumbers and salsa (very New World!) is nice during the summer. I’m not a big tempeh fan. I’d rather have seitan or really any sort of wheat.

  2. I’m not big on tempeh (or tofu) but edamame and quinoa are terrific!

  3. I love all three of those healthy foods. 🙂 I am trying to learn more ways to prepare tempeh but so far so good.

  4. Hi Jennifer, I think on its own quinoa doesn’t have a lot of flavor. I like cooking it with vegetable broth or adding a little soy sauce. I didn’t like tempeh at first, but now I love the texture and I’ve found ways to cook it that add a lot of flavor. I like seitan too.

  5. Hi Sarah, Tempeh took me a while to warm up to also. I didn’t like the flavor or texture. I’ve played around with a few recipes and now I love the texture and have found some interesting flavors.

  6. Hi Meg, I’ll try to come up with a post sharing different ways to cook tempeh-there are so many!

  7. I definitely want to work on incorporating these in our diet.

    I like the idea you mentioned of a post on different ways to cook tempeh. I have eaten it but have never made it myself. I have had a cold quinoa salad and it was delicious.

  8. You are pushing me more towards doing that post on tempeh Marsha! I really like it and use it for so many different recipes. It would be great to share.

  9. LOL! I love all of those foods!! Lori, I found a nice recipe for tempeh, it is on my interest board under veggie meals. It is coconut crusted tempeh bits or something. So yummy! 🙂

  10. I remember seeing that recipe Stephanie. It looked delicious.

  11. We have had two out of three of these recently. They are really delicious.

  12. Quinoa is awesome. I tend to eat more of it in the summer, replacing my former obsession with pasta salad by tossing quinoa with bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and a vinaigrette full of herbs. Over the winter I need to remind myself to replace rice with quinoa. It takes on flavour just as easily (broth or soy sauce).

  13. I agree Andrea-quinoa is awesome. With all the controversy out there right now over brown rice I’m going to try to use quinoa more often. Your pasta salad sounds delicious!

  14. Which two Alicia? They are all on my favorite foods list!

  15. […] makes its way onto our dinner table. When my kids were really small, we had a lot of fun with the pronunciation (or mispronunciation) of edamame. It was called “ate-a –mommy” for many […]

  16. […] Tortilla Chips. Have you tried them? They have Organic Flax, Organic Millet, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Quinoa, Organic Amaranth in them with just the right amount of sea […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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