Emerging CVD risk factors (e.g. HDL function and central haemodynamics) may account for residual CVD risk experienced by individuals who meet LDL-cholesterol and blood pressure (BP) targets. Recent evidence suggests that these emerging risk factors can be modified by polyphenol-rich interventions such as soya, but additional research is needed. This study was designed to investigate the effects of an isoflavone-containing soya protein isolate (delivering 25 and 50 g/d soya protein) on HDL function (i.e. ex vivo cholesterol efflux), macrovascular function and blood markers of CVD risk. Middle-aged adults (n 20; mean age=51·6 (sem 6·6) years) with moderately elevated brachial BP (mean systolic BP=129 (sem 9) mmHg; mean diastolic BP=82·5 (sem 8·4) mmHg) consumed 0 (control), 25 and 50 g/d soya protein in a randomised cross-over design. Soya and control powders were consumed for 6 weeks each with a 2-week compliance break between treatment periods. Blood samples and vascular function measures were obtained at baseline and following each supplementation period. Supplementation with 50 g/d soya protein significantly reduced brachial diastolic BP (−2·3 mmHg) compared with 25 g/d soya protein (Tukey-adjusted P=0·03) but not the control. Soya supplementation did not improve ex vivo cholesterol efflux, macrovascular function or other blood markers of CVD risk compared with the carbohydrate-matched control. Additional research is needed to clarify whether effects on these CVD risk factors depend on the relative health of participants and/or equol producing capacity.