A thin Japanese noodle with a nutty flavor and delicate texture, soba is made either from both wheat and buckwheat (a relative of rhubarb) or just buckwheat. If you're looking for gluten-free noodles, seek out boxes marked "100 percent buckwheat." These quickcooking noodles are impressively nutritious: high in protein and B vitamins.
Soup as a Starting Point
Soba can be served hot or cold, as a side dish or a main, and in soups. Soba's heartiness lends itself to bold flavors. Ingredients common in Asian cooking, such as ginger and cilantro, always work, but soba is also at home with Mediterranean standbys like feta and lemon juice.
At the Store, at Home
Look for soba in the Asian-foods section of your supermarket or in health-food stores. To avoid overcooking, follow package instructions; the noodles generally take four to six minutes. Seal opened packages tightly, and use within six months; unopened packages will keep in the pantry for up to two years.