Soba Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Alternate title for this post: “Me, trying really hard to eat healthier”.

Over the past six months or so I have been trying to make small, incremental changes to my eating habits. I really have never been one to overeat, but my food choices also never lean toward the “healthful” end of the scale either. I don’t automatically reach for carrots, celery sticks or an apple when I get hungry in the afternoon. Instead, I’d rather have pretzels, a piece of chocolate or a cookie. For lunch, peanut butter & jelly on white bread always sounds better to me than most any other healthy alternative. My healthful choices need to be made consciously and, most times, forcefully. I am envious of people who adore vegetables and will gobble them up enthusiastically. My mom and my sister both love all sorts of veggies; somehow I was born without the vegetable-loving gene. But I am taking steps to re-condition my taste buds.

A big part of my shift in mindset when it comes to food happened when I watched Food, Inc. (you can read my review of it and the ensuing discussion here). While the bulk of the documentary focused on meat production, it opened my eyes to mass production of agriculture in general, overly processed foods, and started me reading everything and anything I could get my hands on about mass agriculture, government involvement, the meat industry, plant-based diets and more.

I have eaten significantly less meat over the last 6 months. Significantly less. I have been making strides to eat more fresh fruit, more vegetables, whole grains, and less animal products in general (including dairy). At the end of January I did the first week of this Whole Living 28-Day Action Plan. I went vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and caffeine-free. While difficult at first, I was amazed at how great I felt by the end of the week.

Since doing that cleanse, I have been experimenting with different recipes that are vegetarian, include whole grains and lots of vegetables. One day while grocery shopping I went down the Asian aisle and soba noodles caught my eye. I have seen recipes with buckwheat noodles on countless blogs and have always meant to try them, so I grabbed a package with the intent of giving them a go. I figured I might tolerate them, as a “just okay” healthy option once in a while.

Little did I know that I would fall in love with them! They have such a hearty texture and I might even enjoy them more than regular pasta. This stir-fry has become a regular staple in my dinner rotation – it is packed with vegetables, all sorts of healthy ingredients and is incredibly filling. Plus, once you have all of your veggies prepped, it takes less than 15 minutes to throw together. You certainly can’t beat that!

On a side note, I am thinking of chronicling the changes I am making to my diet, my move to become what some call a “flexitarian” (only eating meat very occasionally) and documenting the types of foods I am eating on a daily basis. Would anyone be interested in reading something like that? (I would probably publish those posts over on Unplugged to keep this main site dedicated to recipes.) I would love to hear your thoughts!

One year ago: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Two years ago: Anadama Bread
Three years ago: Chicken Fajita Enchiladas
Four years ago: Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, sliced thinly
½ cup almond slivers
Extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

For the Almond Butter Sauce:
3 tablespoons almond butter
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil. Add the soba noodles and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with water and set aside.

2. In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, red pepper and broccoli and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for an additional 1 to 5 minutes, until desired crispness.

3. Remove vegetables from heat, add the noodles, and toss with the scallions, slivered almonds and crushed red pepper flakes, to desired spiciness.

4. To make the sauce, whisk together the almond butter and water until smooth. Then, whisk in the rice vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over the stir fry mixture, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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46 Responses to “Soba Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Almond Butter Sauce”

  1. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) on May 18, 2011 at 12:22 am

    the recipe looks awesome! i love the sauce, i am a sucker for anything peanut-ish sauce related.

    and yes, to the “and documenting the types of foods I am eating on a daily basis. Would anyone be interested in reading something like that?”–I am a very strict vegetarian, no longer call myself vegan, but yes, love hearing about plant-based shifts and dietary paths!

    Reply

  2. Katrina on May 18, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Yay! I’m glad you’re trying to eat healthier because I reep the benefits!! Mmm.

    Reply

  3. Jen of My Tiny Oven on May 18, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I love noodles and love veggies so this looks perfect to me! That is a great bowl by the way!!

    Reply

  4. Mallika on May 18, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Awesome vegetarian dish packed with health and beauty of presentation too.

    Reply

  5. Nuts about Food on May 18, 2011 at 5:11 am

    I think it would be very interesting to read about your shift to more healthy, conscious food choices. I am one of those people you hate, the kind who loves all kinds of vegetables in large quantities. Then again, I like everything so I am not always so careful about my diet, although I do eat very few processed foods (but I love cheese and cured pork).

    Reply

  6. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on May 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

    This is a great looking healthy recipe- I love that almond butter sauce!

    Reply

  7. Laura on May 18, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I would definitely love to read more about your healthier and more conscientious food choices! I’ve slowly made a change over the last year as well, making sure I chose more fruits and vegetables and cutting out a large amount of processed foods, and I’ve now totally cut out meat. It’s amazing how much better I’ve felt over the last year.

    This recipe couldn’t come at a better time. I just purchased some soba noodles but didn’t buy soba sauce since it’s not vegetarian and has so much sodium. This sauce will go perfectly with it. I can’t wait to try it this week!

    Reply

  8. Alicia at AliGirl Cooks on May 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I try to eat meatless or fish as much as possible. I’m always looking for new recipes. I really love soba noodles although I might try this with sunflower seed butter since I’m allergic to almonds! Thanks for the idea!

    Reply

  9. Nancy K on May 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Yummy recipe, thanks for sharing. I would love to read about your changing food choices. I try to eat very little meat but do love dairy. I don’t need to be gluten free and have read that there really is no benefit unless one is glutn sensitive. I eatmostly whole grain products but I struggle with keeping track of how much protien I eat and if it is enough.

    Reply

  10. Melissa on May 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Love the alternate title. ;)

    This looks really tasty! I’ve never tried soba noodles, but I will have to check them out! They sound really good! I don’t eat a ton of meat, mostly because it’s cheaper for me not to, so I’d love to see more veggie based recipes!

    Reply

  11. Kelly @ JAX does design on May 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I love soba noodles. Unfortunately, I can’t find them in any grocery stores around here anymore. I keep meaning to get to the Asian grocery store, which I’m guessing HAS to sell them!

    This looks like a yummy dish – I’m definitely going to give it a try once I get my hands on some soba noodles :-)

    Reply

  12. KB on May 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Looks like a great recipe that I will try. Would love to see more non-meat recipes that are tasty.

    Reply

  13. Lindsey on May 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I just went back and read the comments on your blog post about Food Inc. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but 3-4 years ago my book club read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (highly recommend it, although it is a LONG and slow read). I’ve slowly been trying to eat healthier and more locally. This summer we’re finally signing up for a meat CSA. And while it’s not in our back yard, at least I will know exactly where my meat comes from. I also try and avoid tons of chemically processed stuff, I bake a TON and have gone in and out of phases where I bake my own bread, which started because I was totally disappointed with the quality of the bread at the grocery store. I am not a huge fan of vegetables, but I’m trying to incorporate them into my diet more, and eat organically when possible. But I’m always interested to hear other people’s stories about eating better (which as we all know can take many different forms), so keep them coming!

    Reply

  14. Jen on May 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I would COMPLETELY be interested in a chronicle of your efforts to be flexitarian. I try to incorporate things like Meatless Monday into my dinners, but with a husband who is both in the military and a long-distance runner… it usually doesn’t go over so well, but I would love to get some ideas that I could maybe tweak (ie: add chicken to his, and leave mine alone).

    Reply

  15. Jill on May 18, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Michelle, first off this meal looks delicious.

    Secondly, my husband and I after watching Food, Inc and reading plenty of additional articles and books about food, ecology and theology, decided to become more conscience of what we ate. Honestly, we have always been decently healthy eaters with vegetables, fruits and whole grains being major staples, but now we care about where we got those items. We are part of a CSA (community supported argriculture) where we get a box of fresh produce every week. We also only eat meat when we know where it was sourced from which has been much harder for my husband than myself. I hardly ever eat meat anymore and haven’t missed it at all. Glad to hear of your changes, and I’m always looking for my vegerterian meals.

    Reply

  16. Kristen on May 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    This is the first time I’ve commented here, but I really love your site! And all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been fantastic. Anyway, I would love to hear more about your healthier-eating journey & see more veggie-based recipes. I was always a pretty big meat-eater growing up, but since I’ve learned more about the meat industry, have been really trying to cut down on meat. Fortunately, I do like veggies, but it’s still been difficult to make the switch in fixing them as the entree, not as sides. So, definitely looking forward to seeing more of these kinds of recipes! This stir-fry looks amazing!

    Reply

  17. Kimmi on May 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Waaaaait wait! Wasn’t the almond butter sauce supposed to be spicy??
    Man, I’m going to the store in a few with these ingredients on my list, and this will be lunch for sure! Thank you so much for the yummy recipe :D
    And thank you for bringing up Food Inc as well! Food Matters is another really great one if you haven’t seen it already. Very influential films, they are!

    Reply

  18. Dana Salvo on May 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Yum, yum and yum. Love the pics and the recipe :)

    Reply

  19. Heather on May 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I am definitely interested in reading about your adventures in healthy eating!

    Do I need to sign up for a separate feed to receive “unplugged” updates?

    Reply

  20. Deb @ Knitstamatic on May 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Bravo on the dietary changes! I would be interested in reading about your progress. The soba noodle recipe is right up my alley, I must try it!

    Reply

  21. Brian @ A Thought For Food on May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I’m a huge fan of soba noodles… and I love the combination of that buckwheat and the almond butter sauce. Looks phenomenal!

    Reply

  22. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat on May 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    This looks super tasty- I have never had soba noodles but will have to give them a try!

    Reply

  23. Adora's Box on May 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    What awholesome recipe. Love soba, too. I like its nuttiness. Lovely ingredients you’ve added ti it. Especially like the almond butter. Superb.

    Reply

  24. Jessica on May 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I would definitely be interested in learning more about your dietary changes! I’m also trying to eat cleaner, and I would enjoy reading about your shift.

    Reply

  25. Cheryl and Adam @ pictureperfectmeals.com on May 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Soba noodles were a revelation to us as well the first time we tried them but have since become a staple in this house! Your stir fry looks superb, especialy witht e Almod Butter Sauce. We would be very interested in You “flexitarian” explorations, it seems like a very sensible way of eating.

    Reply

  26. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on May 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    This looks amazing! I was just trying to think of what to make for dinner, and now I’m feeling inspired!

    Reply

  27. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow on May 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Sounds delicious! I also love Soba noodles. My other favorite is Udon noodles, they are thick and chewy.

    Reply

  28. emily on May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    i love, love, love your blog and i have tried so many of your recipes (loved them all) so no matter what direction you go with cooking (healthy or decadent :) … ), i’ll follow but i have to say, i’m REALLY excited to follow along as you add more health-nutter meals (that’s what i like to call them). i’m a self proclaimed health nut who is addicted to sugar. not the best combo! lol.

    i’m excited!

    Reply

  29. Happy When Not Hungry on May 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Wow these soba noodles look amazing! I definitely will try this. What a great recipe!

    Reply

  30. Tiffany on May 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I SO love the idea of using almond butter instead of peanut butter. What a fun change!

    Reply

  31. Pam on May 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    The ingredients sound delicious, and the bowl in the photo looks truly scrumptious! I imagine it tastes wonderful! Nice bonus that it is also healthy.

    Reply

  32. The Mistress of Spices on May 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

    This sounds so very delicious! I love soba noodles too. And I love the idea of a spicy almond butter sauce! Not sure if we have almond butter here in France, but I’m certainly going to look! Or I guess I could make my own. And congrats to you on deciding to eat healthier and better!

    Reply

  33. sarah on May 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Off to see if i have the basics for dinner tonight. I think i have the noodles because they are not a favorite of the hubby’s. But since he’s not eating dinner here that means far game for me. Also don’t have almond butter, so peanut here.

    Reply

  34. bridget {bake at 350} on May 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    This looks delicious, Michelle! I was born without that “vegetable loving gene” as well, but I’m TRYING to be better! ;)

    Reply

  35. Mary on May 20, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’d definitely be interested in more healthy AND yummy (that’s possible, right?) recipes. LOVE your website. Love your pictures!

    Reply

  36. Jennifer Taylor on May 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    This recipe made my 5 to try list for the week. My 3 year old daughter loves all things broccoli so I’ sure this is going to be a hit!

    Reply

  37. Judy on May 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Bravo! This is excellent. I love soba and tofu and am also reducing the amount of meat intake in my diet. It’s tough unless you’re cooking every meal! Also tough when you’re cooking food for your family that loves meat. the almond butter is an amazing idea!

    Reply

  38. Lourdes Cervantes on May 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’m SO making this! Yes to the flexitarian documentation! I’m very much a flexitarian, too. My household eats meat 3-4 times a month.

    Reply

  39. Noya - gluttonandstudent on May 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    so interesting that you used almond butter! this looks so delicious. I love soba, but I normally eat it the traditional way. I can’t wait to try this version.

    Reply

  40. Andrea on May 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

    The recipe looks fantastic! I just made Soba this week as well! It was my first try at soba – I have been trying to find new food to try out that are healthy as well! Good Luck on your future endeavors! http://cleanupeatup.blogspot.com/2011/05/soba-with-chicken-and-mushrooms.html

    -Andrea

    Reply

  41. Lissa Lee on July 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    love this recipe! my kids eat it too!

    Reply

  42. Kaley on July 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    This recipe looks so good! I can’t wait to try it!
    I am looking forward to seeing what other more healthful recipes pop up! :)

    Reply

  43. Anik on August 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Just tryed this recipe and it was great!!!!

    I added some chicken for extra protein and bamboo shoots since I had some extras waiting to be used and it was fantastic!! Thanks for all the great recipe ideas :)

    Reply

  44. Channing on December 5, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Yes!! Finally a food I have been craving and I don’t need to go to the store for anything! :D

    Reply

  45. Debbie Greene on January 3, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Another reason to love Brown -Eyed Baker.
    Love the word “flexitarian”……
    Will make this today for my vegetarian hubby….as the Coneheads say,”we will enjoy it!”

    Reply

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