Hearty buckwheat soba noodles and sweet orange ginger salmon make a delicious, filling meal that is ready in just 30 minutes.
I was chatting with a patient at my internship the other day when I heard something that really disturbed me.
The young woman was advised by her doctor that in order to lose weight she should stop eating pasta (along with a laundry list of other supposedly nefarious products).
In addition to the fact that I completely disagree with black and white thinking about food, I found this statement particularly irritating, as “pasta” has plenty of health-promoting properties.
Fiber, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and selenium are just a few of the nutritional components in whole grain noodles made from whole wheat, quinoa, corn, brown rice, black beans, lentils, and many other bases.
Sure, if we’re talking about a mixing bowl portion of Fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden, then I somewhat see this physician’s point — it’s not exactly a nutrient dense meal. But to blast pasta in general is misguided.
Take buckwheat for instance. This ancient grain is a rich source of plant-based protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber, and it’s an acceptable carb source for my gluten-free friends. Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and doesn’t contain gluten.
Buckwheat originates from Southeast Asia and is used to make traditional Japanese soba noodles.
Apparently the doctor I mentioned before is unaware of the shockingly low obesity rates in Japan — 3.5% compared to our rate of 30% here in the U.S. Meanwhile Italy, another pasta-loving nation, also has us beat on obesity stats with just 10% of obese adults.
You get the picture — pasta isn’t to blame for obesity.
I advised the woman to forget what this anti-noodle-mongering MD had told her and to instead embrace this nourishing food she so loves in portions that would satisfy but not stuff, and in whole foods forms like soba noodles.
I also let her know that by combining complex carbs like whole grain pasta with sources of lean protein and healthy fat, she’d have a balanced meal that would fill her up and keep her satisfied long after the meal — an important strategy for weight loss.
This Orange Ginger Salmon with Soba Noodles does just that — and it’s incredibly tasty.
This dish combines the sweet flavor of fresh squeezed and zested orange with nutty sesame seeds and peanuts, and spicy ginger for a delicious asian appeal.
Despite the pretty presentation, this whole dish only takes 30 minutes to throw together. And because this recipe uses my “low and slow” method for perfectly baked salmon, you can totally go squeeze in half an episode of The Bachelor while it cooks.
Winner, winner, salmon dinner.
- ¼ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- ½ large orange, juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- ½ tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ lime, juiced
- 2 - 5 ounce wild salmon fillets
- sea salt
- 4 ounces soba noodles (usually half of a package)
- ¼ cup carrots, grated
- 1 small bunch of broccolini
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- seasame seeds
- orange slices
- Preheat oven to 275.
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside ¾ of the mixture.
- Place salmon fillets in a baking dish and brush with half of the ¼ mixture, coating all sides. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake salmon for 25 minutes.
- While salmon cooks, make the noodles. Bring water in a medium saucepan to a boil.
- Add soba noodles and bring water back to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, until noodles are soft.
- Drain noodles and transfer to a bowl of cool water. Use your hands to rinse any remaining starch from the noodles. Drain again.
- Add the remaining ¾ of sauce to the noodles along with the orange zest and grated carrots. Set aside.
- Bring another medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Add broccolini to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain broccolini in a colander and transfer to a bowl full of ice cold water.
- Heat sesame oil in a saute pan. Add broccolini, coconut aminos, garlic powder and salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add noodles to the pan and toss to warm.
- After salmon has cooked for 25 minutes, turn the oven to broil and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until top has browned.
- Divide noodles and broccolini between two bowls and top with salmon fillets.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and orange slices.
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Weigh in: Do you eat pasta? Have you tried soba noodles? What’s the worst advice you’ve received from a medical expert?