Soba Noodles – The underrated, lower-carb noodle for weight loss

Soba noodles are a healthy, lower-carb alternative to pasta- that tastes even better!
Posted on Jun 12, 2021 By Valentina Duong Valentina Duong

Looking for a lower-carb noodle that is delicious hot or cold?

Soba noodles fits the role perfectly! They originated from Japan and are made from buckwheat flour and water, with whole-wheat flour sometimes added. They are dark brown, thick noodles that resemble spaghetti.

They’ve previously been overshadowed by Shirataki (Konjac) Noodles often called “Miracle noodles” because they are almost zero carb, very low calorie and filled with dietary fibre. This is because they are 3% glucomannan flour and 97% water. However, if we’re truly being honest with ourselves, the slimy shirataki noodles taste terrible, smell fishy and give us a stomach-ache. This is because the noodles absorb water (expanding in your gut), which can cause stomach discomfort, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.

Sometimes the lowest calorie option, isn’t the best option. Unlike shirataki noodles, soba noodles is still healthy while being tasty and without the side effects!

traditional soba noodles
Eating Soba noodles symbolises strength, resilience and longevity in Japan. It’s a traditional meal that is eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve to let go of hardships of the past year and for good fortune in the upcoming year.

 

Benefits of Soba Noodles

  • Lower calorie and lower carb than regular pasta. Cooked Soba noodles are 99 calories per 100 grams compared to cooked Spaghetti which is 158 calories per 100 grams.
  • Minimally processed and minimal ingredients. Soba noodles contain less than 4 ingredients!
  • Low GI. Soba noodles served with soup has a GI of 46. This means it’s a low GI food (Low GI = 1- 55) which is suitable for individuals with Diabetes or trying to lose weight.
  • While soba noodles are not a protein source, they contain all 8 essential amino acids. Unlike white rice that lacks thiamine and wheat which lacks lysine.
  • It tastes delicious. While zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash are great ways to add vegetables into your dish, arguably, they’re just not the same as having the actual thing.
  • Fast to cook: Dinner in under 10minutes? Yes, please!

Disadvantages of Soba noodles

  • Slightly more expensive than regular pasta. While pasta is around 20 cents/ 100g, soba noodles about 67 cents/ 100g in major supermarkets.
  • Lower in fibre than whole wheat pasta:
    Soba noodles (3g fibre per 100g weight) are lower in fibre than whole-wheat pasta (5g fibre per 100g weight), but still higher than regular pasta (1.8g fibre per 100g weight)
  • Easy to overcook and requires practice to get it right. Since soba noodles are ready within 3-5 minutes of cooking, it is easy to over-cook them and cause them to become mushy and lose their nutty taste.

What does soba noodles taste like and what can you eat it with?

Due its nutty and earthy taste, soba noodles is very versatile.

With Winter approaching, soba noodles are delicious in broths and soups. Soba noodles are also often served chilled with a dipping sauce called tsuyu.

Some popular ways to eat soba noodles include:

  • Zaru Soba: chilled soba with seaweed (nori)
  • Tororo Soba can be served chilled or hot with grated yams (Nagaimo)
  • Kake Soba is soba noodles in a hot, clear broth.
  • Kitsune Soba includes soba noodles in a warm, clear broth topped with fried tofu sheets and aburaage (twice fried soybeans)
  • Sansai Soba includes a broth with cooked, wild vegetables and soba noodles.
  • Kamo Nanban Soba is a more filling and rich dish with duck meat and green onion.

Alternatively, you can use soba noodles as part of a stir-fry. My personal favourite, is miso-marinated tofu and eggplant over soba noodles.

chilled soba noodles with green onions, wasabi and dipping sauce

Can you use Soba noodles in meal prep?

Yes, you can definitely use soba noodles as part of your meal prep. They’re a healthy alternative to regular pasta. I would choose a lower percentage of buckwheat if you’re planning on reheating it.

While 100% buckwheat soba noodles are the healthier option and provide the strong nutty flavour, the wheat flour helps bind the soba noodles and keep them intact. Aim for 70- 80% buckwheat and cook soba noodles in small batches with plenty of room for them to move around the pot. I know you can’t get away with a lot of pasta in a pot, but soba noodles with stick together if they get too cramped up.

meal prep soba noodles

FAQS

Are Soba noodles low carb?

Soba noodles are not considered a low carb food. There is 21g of carbohydrates in 100g cooked soba noodles. However, they are a lower carb alternative to pasta that has on average 31g carbohydrate per 100g.

 

What are soba noodles made of?

Soba noodles are made from simple ingredients; buckwheat flour, water and occasionally wheat flour and salt.

 

Are soba noodles fattening or good for weight loss?

Soba noodles can help with weight loss as they are satiating and low GI when served with a broth – keeping your energy levels and blood sugar levels stable.

 

Are soba noodles better for you than pasta?

Health-wise, soba noodles are superior to regular pasta as they are lower in carbohydrates, calories, and low GI. They are similar to whole-wheat pasta.

Valentina Duong
Valentina Duong
A nutritionist and powerlifter with numerous first place finishes at national and international competitions. Valentina's rediscovering joy, one snack at a time.
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