Carbohydrates are essential for pregnant women. They provide the necessary energy and calories that pregnant women need for the most vital cellular functions of both the mother and her growing baby. However, in the United States, and for most of the Western hemisphere, carbohydrates are often consumed from the same sources: pasta, breads, and rice. While pasta, breads and rice are staples of many diets, they are often over-processed food sources and stripped of their most essential nutrients. Yes, they still provide needed carbohydrates, but there are alternatives to using “white” carbohydrates that provide just as many nutrients and twice as much flavor. One of those alternatives is soba noodles.
The Joys of Soba
Soba noodles, unlike commercial pasta products, are made from buckwheat. While not a true low calorie or low carbohydrate food, soba noodles have half the unhealthy carbohydrates and calories as commercial pasta. And for pregnant women, or anyone who wants to eat healthy, soba noodles are high in necessary fiber and magnesium, and they’re gluten-free, easy to cook, and contain a nutty, earthy flavor that makes them a delicious alternative to plain pasta. They pick up and add flavor to any sauce they’re combined with to create a unique taste.
Even better, soba noodles can be prepared in less time than commercial pasta products. I like to use soba noodles as a quick dinner with vegetables. The colors are vibrant, the sauce subtle, and the meal, overall, satisfying. Plus, there are usually leftovers to bring for lunch or to enjoy for another meal. Try this simple soba recipe and don’t be afraid to swap soba noodles for pasta in some of your other favorite dishes.
Soba Noodles & Vegetables
- 6-8 ounces of soba noodles
- 2 cups of frozen edamame, thawed
- 2 ½ cups sugar snap peas
- 4 carrots, peeled
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (can be white, black, or mixed)
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 ½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- Prepare the vegetables: slice the sugar snap peas in half lengthwise or in a rough chop; slice the carrots into thin strips or use a vegetable peeler to make carrot ribbons
- Prepare the sauce: Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside
- Bring two pots of water to a boil (one large one for the soba noodles and one medium one for the vegetables)
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small pan over medium heat, approximately 4-5 minutes. Move or stir the seeds frequently to prevent burning. (hint: when the white seeds turn golden or light brown, they’re done)
- Cook the soba noodles per the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Cook the edamame in the medium pot for about 4-5 minutes. Before draining, add in the halved or chopped sugar snap peas and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Once the sugar snap peas look vibrantly green, drain all the vegetables together.
- Combine the soba noodles, edamame, sugar snap peas and carrots in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss to combine. Add in the toasted sesame seeds and parsley and toss lightly to combine
- Serve in bowls and garnish with lime wedges, chopped peanuts or alfalfa sprouts.