healthy noodle soup

4    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
18 minutes

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noodle soup

My super-fit neighbor, Barbara, gave me the idea for this Japanese-style soup, which is really more of a formula than a recipe. You can use almost any produce you happen to have in your fridge; you can use gluten-free soba noodles or fresh egg noodles or dried linguine; you can use turkey or chicken, even ham, for lean protein; or leave it out or use tofu for a vegetarian version.


kosher salt
3 ounces dried soba noodles or linguine, or 4 ounces fresh egg noodles
sesame oil
about 10 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 ounces snap peas or 1 cup shelled edamame (or both!)
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, if using (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola or grapeseed
1 shallot, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups baby spinach leaves


Bring a 5- to 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil and add  noodles; cook until just al dente according to package directions (about 5 minutes for soba; 10 minutes for linguine; 4 minutes for fresh noodle). Drain and put noodles in a bowl; drizzle with about a teaspoon of sesame oil and toss the noodles to keep them from sticking. Set aside. Rinse and wipe out the pot.

Cut off the very ends of the cilantro stems, then mince the bottom 2 inches of the stems. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Set the leaves and stems aside separately. Cut the snap peas in half crosswise on the diagonal if desired. Cut the stems off the mushrooms, then slice the caps. Set the vegetables aside. Cut the chicken breasts into small chunks.

Return the pan you cooked the noodles in to the stove and pour in vegetable oil. Turn heat to medium-high and add the minced cilantro stems, shallot, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth, water, and soy sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken or other protein as desired When soup returns to a boil, turn down heat and cover. Simmer 5 minutes or until meat is opaque if using.

Uncover and stir in snap peas (or edamame) and mushrooms and cook, covered, until mushrooms are soft, 4 minutes more. Uncover and stir in spinach and cooked soba noodles. When spinach wilts, turn off heat under pot. Stir in reserved cilantro leaves, then ladle soup into large bowls and serve.

note: you can use 1/2 pound of firm tofu, cut into chunks or a cup of diced leftover turkey or ham instead of the chicken.