Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

February 13, 2021

Have you ever walked down the international cuisine aisle and thought, “I wonder what a person from that culture does with this ingredient?” Have you ever wanted to visit a country to taste its most authentic dishes? To learn about a culture’s most commonly made dishes is to learn about its people, its resources and its traditions and values. Think of all there is to gain by opening yourself up to learn about other cultures and expanding your taste buds. There is great value to your health to begin eating dishes from countries where citizens live long lives with very little disease. Let’s face it: The standard American diet doesn’t have a reputation for being healthy. Be adventurous and get comfortable with unfamiliar fresh ingredients and international cuisines, and begin your taste of travel.

One of the healthiest cuisines is authentic Japanese food, containing fresh vegetables, seafood in healthy preparations and aromatic herbs and spices, many with medicinal properties to help with immune system, digestion and blood flow. It’s a Japanese custom to have Soba Noodle Soup on the eve of the New Year. There are several theories as to why eating soba noodles on this day has been a custom for centuries, here are a few:

• Long soba noodles are symbolic of living a long life.
• Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, which is a grain able to withstand severe weather, symbolizing strength and resiliency.
• Once soba noodles are cooked, they are easy to cut, symbolizing the letting go of hardship from the past year.

It doesn’t have to be the eve of a holiday to enjoy this delicious hot soup that will warm your soul and nourish your body.

Soba Noodle Soup
Serves 4

All You Need:
2 tbsp canola oil
½ (5-oz.) pkg. sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
6 cups Hy-Vee 33%-less-sodium chicken broth, divided
¾ cup julienne-cut or pre-shredded carrots
1 (2-in.) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1-in. matchsticks
3 oz. dry soba noodles
½ cup frozen shelled edamame
1 small head baby bok choy, cut lengthwise into quarters
2 mini sweet red bell peppers, sliced crosswise
4 Hy-Vee Short Cuts hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
Black sesame seeds, for garnish

All you do:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms. Cook over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl; set aside.
  2. Add 1 cup broth and carrots to saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a separate bowl.
  3. Add remaining 5 cups broth and ginger to the saucepan. Bring to boiling. Remove ginger pieces with slotted spoon; discard. Add noodles, edamame, bok choy and red peppers; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until noodles are tender and vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in mushrooms. Ladle soup into bowls, adding bok choy to each. Top with carrots and eggs. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if desired.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 280 calories, 14g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans-fat, 185mg cholesterol, 1,010mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g sugar (0g added sugar), 14g protein. Daily Values: Vitamin D 6%, Calcium 6%, Iron 6%, Potassium 6%. Recipe source: February 2021 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.