Soba noodles are a common dish in Japan and often make an appearance on the menu in Japanese restaurants in America. But these thin noodles made from buckwheat flour are much more than just a typical Japanese pasta dish. Soba (which means buckwheat) happens to be quite healthy, and the versatile noodles can also come in a variety of dishes.
Soba noodles are delicious both hot or cold. Some of the more common dishes consumed in Japan include:
- Mori soba is a simple dish of chilled noodles.
- Hiyashi soba is a cold noodles with a variety of toppings that can include daikon radish, sliced okra or fermented soybeans.
- Zaru soba is chilled noodles garnished with shredded nori seaweed.
- Soba salad is cold noodles with vegetables and sesame dressing.
- Kake soba is noodles in a hot broth with scallions and chili powder.
- Kitsune soba is noodles in a hot broth with deep-fried tofu toppings.
- Tempura soba is hot noodles with tempura shrimp or vegetables.
There are many more ways to enjoy the noodles, and every dish imparts some health benefits.
Health Benefits of Soba Noodles
Buckwheat noodles do not contain any fat or cholesterol and are a good source of protein. They also contain beneficial nutrients, including manganese and thiamine. Buckwheat noodles are gluten-free, making them an excellent choice if you need to follow a gluten-free diet.
The manganese in soba noodles aids in increasing your metabolism and lowers your risk of several maladies such as diabetes, osteoporosis and arthritis. Additionally, it helps reduce the symptoms of menopause and improves the health of your nervous system.
Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, helps to improve your energy and aids in digestion. Vitamin B1 is important for healthy immune and nervous systems.
Healthier Than Regular Pasta
Because soba noodles have more protein and fiber and fewer calories, sugar and carbohydrates, they are a much healthier noodle option. Adding beans, nuts or other plant-based foods that contain protein will ensure you get a healthy dose of protein along with the essential amino acids you need. Additionally, using them as a protein substitute for meat can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
While buckwheat noodles contain carbohydrates, the release of glucose into the bloodstream is slower than that of wheat noodles. This means soba noodles could be a better option for diabetics who simply must have pasta now and then.
Where to Find the Noodles
Soba noodles are quite popular in America. In addition to Asian supermarkets, you should have no trouble finding them in the international aisle of any major supermarket. You can cook them just like regular wheat pasta, and a healthy, tasty dish only takes a very short time to prepare.