Soba noodles are thin pastes made with buckwheat flour. These long, brown noodles may have originated in China thousands of years ago, but have since become a staple in Japanese cuisine. A popular choice in both hot and cold dishes, they have a nutty flavor and chewy texture that pairs well with a variety of savory preparations.
Soba noodles also offer some clear health benefits. Because they are made only with gluten-free buckwheat flour in their traditional form, they can be a useful alternative for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, many brands mix in wheat flour, so it’s important to double check the product label.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to add more protein to your diet, it might be time to swap spaghetti for soba. With protein-rich buckwheat as a base, these noodles provide significantly more protein than most other pastas.
Soba Noodle Nutrition Facts
The nutritional information for a 100-gram serving of cooked soba noodles is provided by the USDA (source).
- calories: 99
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sodium: 60mg
- Carbohydrates: 21.4g
- Sugar: 0.5g
- Egg white: 5.1g
Carbohydrates in Soba noodles
The 21.4 grams of carbohydrates in a serving of soba noodles may seem like a lot, but depending on the product’s recipe, there may be a silver lining to this high carbohydrate count. When made with buckwheat flour and whole-wheat flour, the carbohydrates come primarily from slow-digesting, complex whole grains. Buckwheat is consumed and prepared as a grain, it is technically not a grain. It is a pseudocereal. Buckwheat is consumed and prepared as a grain, but technically it is not a grain. It is a pseudocereal.
fats in Soba noodles
Soba noodles contain just a hint of fat. Less than one gram per serving is all you’ll find here.
Proteins in Soba noodles
Compared to most other noodles, soba is surprisingly high in protein at 5.1 grams per 100 gram serving. That’s because the noodles’ primary ingredient, buckwheat flour, is one of the most protein-rich grains out there. Another bonus: Soba noodles provide so-called complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
Vitamins and minerals
Most whole grains are an excellent source of micronutrients – and soba noodles are no exception. In a 2-ounce serving, you can expect to get about 9% of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron and 3.5% RDA of calcium.
You’ll find different amounts of sodium in soba depending on how much salt is added during processing. According to the USDA, a 2-ounce serving of soba contains 100 mg of sodium, or 4% of your recommended daily sodium intake (source).
Soba Noodles Health Benefits
May reduce the risk of heart disease
Eating your way to a healthier heart can be delicious! Buckwheat-based soba noodles are packed with whole grains that can contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system (source).
Can reduce inflammation
Inflammation is a natural (and often positive) process that helps the body heal from external injuries and attacks. However, when the inflammation spirals out of control and becomes chronic, it can have detrimental health effects. One way to reduce overall inflammation may be to increase your intake of whole grains. A 2017 study found that when adults replaced whole grains with refined grains over a six-week period, they got fewer inflammatory markers (source).
For the highest anti-inflammatory benefits of soba noodles, look for ones made with 100% buckwheat flour or a combination of buckwheat and whole wheat.
Can boost weight loss
Compared to other pastas, soba noodles are rich in satiating proteins. Consuming high-protein foods can promote weight loss by keeping you full and reducing cravings. According to a 2008 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating more protein can also boost metabolism and help maintain lean muscle mass. Plus, since whole grain intake is associated with a healthier weight, soba noodles pack a one-two punch for weight loss (source).
A healthy choice for people with diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, whole grains are a “superfood” for managing diabetes. Research suggests that consuming more whole grains, such as the buckwheat flour in soba, can help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes (source).
May be suitable for gluten free diets
Traditional soba noodles are made exclusively with buckwheat flour, which means they are 100% gluten-free. This variety of soba is an excellent choice for people who cannot tolerate gluten, such as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But be sure to check the ingredient lists carefully; buckwheat flour is difficult to convert into noodles, so many brands add wheat flour for a better texture.
Soba Noodles Allergies
Because soba noodles often contain wheat, one of the eight major food allergens, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to it. If you know you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, you’ll want to avoid soba noodles unless they’re wheat-free.
Other than the possibility of an allergic reaction to wheat, adverse side effects of eating soba noodles are rare.
Soba Noodles Varities
Do you think all soba are the same? Think again! These noodles can vary by the amount of buckwheat flour used and the added flavorings. Some specialty stores even sell soba noodles with added flavorings such as green tea or sesame. Below are a few common types:
- juwari soba is the most classic version, made with 100% buckwheat flour.
- Nihachi soba comes together with a blend of about 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat flour.
- inaka soba, on the other hand, is made with ground unhulled buckwheat seeds for a darker color and thicker texture.
When it’s best
Buckwheat has a relatively short growing cycle of only three months, so it can be harvested several times a year – about once in the spring, summer and fall. This provides a steady stream of grains for soba noodle production. For this reason (and because they have a long shelf life in dry storage), there is no best time to consume soba noodles.
Soba Noodles Storage and food safety
Like most pastas, dry soba noodles can linger in your pantry for a very long time, up to two years. But even dry pasta eventually goes bad. Look for changes in texture or smell to tell you that uncooked soba is past its prime.
Do you have any cooked soba noodles left over from your latest stock bowl or cold salad? Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use them within five days.
How to consume Soba noodles
Soba noodles can be prepared in an instant. Simply follow the package directions, or bring a pot of water to a boil, submerge the noodles, reduce the heat and cook for four to five minutes (or until the noodles are tender). Some people like to rinse cooked soba noodles under cold water to prevent sticking.
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