Noodles just scream comfort food to me and pair that with a delicious and creamy sauce and you have yourself a real winner. Often times, these types of dishes can be rather heavy and not very nutritious. That can change really easily by swapping the refined noodles for buckwheat soba noodles and adding in some spiralized sweet potatoes. As a nutritionist who LOVES food as much as I do, I love making meals that are not only seriously delicious but also filled to the brim with nutritious goodness. I am also a firm believer in discovering small changes like these and incorporating them into your daily life because these small changes can truly lead to big results. So get ready to dig in!
Have you cooked with buckwheat noodles or soba noodles before? If not, you are in for a great treat. When purchasing soba noodles, make sure you are buying 100% buckwheat to ensure they are gluten-free and do not contain any actual wheat. Buckwheat noodles are commonly called soba noodles and contain no wheat, only buckwheat flour, and buckwheat is actually a fruit seed not a grain. You can find them at health food stores and some grocery stores in the noodle/pasta section.
Buckwheat is great for our cardiovascular system:
Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids which help to protect against disease by acting as antioxidants. Studies have consistently shown that when you consume buckwheat (and other whole grains) in their whole food form, those antioxidants have been associated with significant protection against cardiovascular disease.
Second, buckwheat is also a good source of magnesium, and this mineral helps to relax blood vessels, improve blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure. These things all work in combination to create and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
The role of fibre in relation to heart health:
Buckwheat is a very good source of dietary fibre which is important for heart health. Including more fibre in your diet can reduce LDL and overall cholesterol by binding with those particles in your digestive system and moving them out of the body before they are absorbed.
By including more fibre from ingredients like buckwheat and other whole grains you may also help to lower the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. The sweet potato and avocado also contain great amounts of fibre and so they also work to help promote a healthy heart.
How fat can help with heart health:
Fat sure has received a bad reputation over the years from the public, however it turns out that a lot of that fat-phobic attitude was misguided. Good fat, the fat that is found in many plant sources is actually incredibly beneficial for overall health and especially for heart health.
Avocados for example, contain a high level of monounsaturated fat which provides many health benefits such as cardiovascular support, blood sugar control and satiety. The monounsaturated fat can also help lower LDL cholesterol while raising HDL in the body.
The nutrients that can help with heart health:
The antioxidants contained in avocados such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C are also great for the cardiovascular system. Vitamin E for example is one of the most potent antioxidants and helps to protect against damage that may be occurring inside the body. Furthermore, vitamin E helps to ensure that LDL is not damaged by oxygen which can lead to an accumulation of LDL in our blood vessel walls and thus set the stage for atherosclerosis.
Vitamin C, another very potent antioxidant works to block some of the damage caused by damaging free radicals which over time, may contribute to heart disease. So many fresh vegetables and fruits including avocado contain vitamin C and including more of these in your diet can help with heart health due to the vitamin C content alone.
How do soba noodles taste?
Now that those benefits to enjoying buckwheat have been explained, how do they taste? The noodles taste similar to other types of rice noodles to me, they cook a little differently, but just make sure to follow the instructions on the package. I also find that when they are cooking, I stir them up quite a bit with a pasta ladle while they are boiling away. When they are finished, I strain them and rinse with cold water again moving them all around with the ladle to help ensure they don’t stick together. Other than those little tricks, they are easy to make and contain more nutrients than white pasta and even rice pasta. The flavour is nice, kind of a nutty taste, but once you add anything to them (like this tahini sauce) that is pretty much all you taste.
With a simple switch from white rice noodles to soba noodles or even spiralized veggies, you are upping your health game and still eating a nourishing and delicious meal.
(This makes enough for 2 large portions)
¼ cup tahini or cashew butter
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. hemp hearts
½ tsp dried chili flakes
¼ tsp turmeric
2 small garlic cloves
¼ cup water + 1 -2 tbsp. to thin as desired
Salt and pepper to taste
For the noodles:
¾ of a package of soba noodles or quinoa noodles
1-2 small sweet potatoes spiralized (I use this spiralizer)
Nuts and seeds of your choosing (I used cashews, pecans and walnuts) I simply seasoned them with a drizzle of EVOO, cayenne and cinnamon and then roughly chopped them.
One avocado (sliced) (half an avocado per dish).
Chopped fresh parsley.
For the dressing, mix all of the above ingredients in a food processor or mini blender and add the water at the end. Start with using the ¼ cup water and see if you want it thinner or thicker and add water according to your own preference.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles according to package directions.
Peel and spiralize your sweet potato(s)
Once your noodles are cooked, rinse and add back to your pot with the spiralized sweet potato and pour the dressing on top.
Serve garnished with your avocado, nuts and parsley. Add more sauce as needed.
Jaclyn received her designation of Certified Nutritional Practitioner from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto with First Class Honours. Jaclyn also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph specializing in Criminal Justice and Public Policy in addition to a certificate in Public Administration from Humber College.
Jaclyn has been featured on The Naked Label, an online business that empowers people to be healthy and feel fabulous.Connect with Jaclyn:
 The World’s Healthiest Foods. Buckwheat. Retrieved on February 23, 2016 at http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=11
 Donovon, John. WebMD. “How Fibre Protects Your Heart.” Retrieved on February 23, 2016 at http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-heart
 The World’s Healthiest Foods. Avocado. Retrieved on February 23, 2016 at http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5
 The Worlds Healthies Foods. Vitamin E. Retrieved on February 23, 2016 at