Friday, May 30, 2008


Best Blog Tips
Okara "Parmesan"

What is okara? It's the pulp, or residue, leftover from making soymilk (see this blog post and this page on my website). If you make soymilk frequently you will have lots of it! Many people make interesting recipes with it, but, I must confess, I usually simply compost it!

Does it have any nutrition left? Yes, it does! It's full of fiber-- both soluble and non-soluble-- for one thing. It also contains some protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. If you want to save it to use later, you can freeze it or dehydrate it (see the Tips in the recipe below).

The justhungry blog has some great ideas for using okara that I hadn't thought of (though not all vegetarian)! For instance, she mentions that you can rehydrate dried okara by simmering it in water or soymilk until soft, and then draining it. One great idea is to use fresh okara in polenta.

I never liked using fresh okara in breads, as it seems to sometimes "weigh them down". But justhungry suggest using dried okara in quick breads, etc., for a lighter texture-- sounds promising!

I just remembered that Dori from the Bakehouse blog (who has lots of okara recipes!)!) recommended using okara in my nut-based parmesan substitute recipe, but I never tried it. The other day I did, and it's good! Thanks, Dori! We can't get the Galaxy Foods Vegan Soy Parmesan up here anymore, so this is something I will definitely use often!

I'll post a few more okara recipes soon!

PS: for a new and improved version see this blog post!

BRYANNA'S OKARA PARMESAN SUBSTITUTE (Hat Tip to Dori from the Bakehouse blog!)
This is derived from my recipe for “Almonzano” (from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen"), but Dori from the bakehouse blog suggested using okara in it instead of almonds. The measurement for the okara is mine. This really looks like grated cheese and tastes "cheesey" (the miso adds a bit of fermented flavor). It shakes out easily, too. You can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe and keep it refrigerated or frozen. IT'S ONLY 12 CALORIES A TABLESPOON!!

PS: By "squeezed", I mean okara that comes after squeezing and twisting the soymilk out of a cloth or cloth bag, or pressing through a fine filter. The okara left in the filter of a soymilk maker is much wetter and you would need to squeeze that further.

1 1/3 cups dried okara (2 cups fresh, squeezed) (see Cooking Tips below for how to dry and store)
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons light miso

Process the okara, yeast and salt in a DRY blender until as fine as possible. Add the miso in tiny bits. Process again so that there are no lumps. Place in a covered container or shaker and keep refrigerated. (Make sure that the container is tightly closed so that no moisture gets in while in the refrigerator.)

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per tablespoon):
12.7 calories; 18% calories from fat; 0.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 58.3mg sodium; 49.3mg potassium; 1.8g carbohydrates; 0.4g fiber; 0.0g sugar; 1.5g net carbs; 1.0g protein; 0.2 points.

Cooking Tips

If you have a large amount of okara, you can use a food dehydrator, or spread it on cookie sheets and set it in the oven at its lowest temperature, with the oven door cracked open a little to let out moisture, until dry, stirring now and then.

To dry a small amount in a microwave oven:
Get a microwave-safe plate, or use the carousel in your microwave. Line it with two sheets of paper toweling (this will absorb the moisture), and top that with a piece of cooking parchment cut to fit (this will keep the okara from sticking as it dries). Spread the okara evenly on that, breaking up clumps as much as possible. Leave a space in the center empty (it burns easily in the center of the plate).

Here's my set-up for microwave-drying small amounts:

Microwave at half power (#5) in 5 minute increments, stirring after each one, until dried. I took away the paper toweling after the first 5 minutes because it was quite wet, and replaced it with new paper toweling.

Let it cool thoroughly before using or storing (in zip-lock bags).



spiceislandvegan said...


This new vegan Japanese restaurant in L.A. has an entree with okara. It's called Shojin Original Okara Cake. We have not visited this restaurant and really want to. I'll give a report. :-)
Check out this website: scroll down to Entrees

The site Veg Paradise did a review of this restaurant and gave 3 cheers for their okara cake:

They are deep fried and served with lemony vegan mayonaise. I just found out about this restaurant this week. Looks like a very interesting place to visit. They have green tea cake for desserts. Hhhmmm....



I was going to mention the same thing as Spice Island Vegan.
Sometimes they add cashes to the them an extra crunch.
If you are ever in LOS ANGELES, give this placea try.

MeloMeals said...

What a great idea! I miss Dori and wish she would get back to blogging!
Oy... life trumps blogging.

julie hasson said...

What an excellent idea Bryanna! There's actually a local tofu company in Portland that will give you okara when you buy tofu. You just have to ask. Now I'll have to dry some out.

Søren said...

Great idea, Bryanna! I'll have to try this one. I have tried using okara in polenta which works fine, I've also added smaller amounts of okara in hummus and homemade müsli. Fatfree Vegan also has an okara crab cake recipe that I want to try, it looks really yummy.

Unknown said...

Hi Bryanna!
This was a great idea to use up okara! I have to say though, as someone who still eats cheese, that it's not as "cheesy" as I would have liked. I really enjoy nutritional yeast on its own, eating it with a spoon, because of its cheesiness. If i wanted to amp up the flavor, would you suggest more miso or more yeast?

As an aside, I think this would make an *awesome* "parmesan" breading for seitan cutlets and fish.

I've been following your blog for a long time, since about 5 years ago when you generously sent me a word file to start me off on my explorations of seitan. You are the best.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

M, you certainly could use more yeast and fool around with the flavoring! Thanks for writing!

Tara said...

Looks super yummy. ate okra for the first time last week at lastminute spa in the evening and loved it. Thanks for the recipe, it worked perfectly for me.