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Life happens. With our super busy schedules, our best intentions for healthy eating can slip through the cracks. During a hectic day, it’s so easy to reach for a fistful of M&Ms or a cheeseburger instead of the healthy and balanced meals we know we should be eating. 

We first discovered Croatian foodie, Maja Brekalo, on Instagram through our ever popular, drool-inducing #thechalkboardeats feed and instantly fell in love with her gorgeous recipes. Maja is a busy flight attendant and foodie – and knows the struggle to eat healthy on-the-go like no one else! Her plant-based recipes aren’t just easy and accessible – her clean, vibrant flavor combinations keep us inspired in our own kitchens, so we don’t find our hand caught in that candy bowl. 

Maja’s delicious, wheat-free soba noodle recipes are a perfect example of this – with spicy mushrooms, curried zucchini, and a tahini-winter squash combination we love… 

Have you heard about soba noodles? Soba is the Japanese name for traditional buckwheat noodles. They cook quickly and are the best tasting noodles, in my humble opinion. They’re perfect for quick and nourishing meals: vegetable stir-fries, woks, soups, as addition to curries and for cold noodle meals. Here are three recipes for a quick lunch or light dinner for busy working people.

Spicy Mushroom Soba Noodles
Serves 2

Directions:

4 oz soba noodles
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

2 Tbsp sesame or olive oil
1 small onion, cut into strips
4 spring onions, chopped sideways
1 small green chili (mild), diced
1 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped
2 shiitake mushrooms
1 cup shredded cabbage
3 Tbsps tamari
Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
1 tsp kudzu, tapioca or arrowroot powder
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Ingredients:

Cook the noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions, usually 5-8 minutes. When cooked, drain and season with 2 teaspoons tamari sauce (or substitute with soy sauce or liquid aminos).

Sauté onions and chili in wok or cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons olive/sesame oil, seasoned with pinch of salt. Add mushrooms, cabbage and spring onions. Season with 2 tablespoons tamari. Dilute kudzu in 1 cup of water.

When vegetables are tender, add the noodles, green part of spring onions, toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon tamari, lemon juice and diluted kudzu. Mix until the sauce thickens. The whole cooking process will take you around 10 minutes.

Garnish with more fresh chili, spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Zucchini Soba Noodles
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 oz soba noodles
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp tamari

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half moons
1 1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, skinned and chopped
spices: chili, ground coriander seeds, curry
2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh basil leaves
salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Cook the noodles according to instructions. Season with olive oil and tamari.

Stir fry onions and zucchini, seasoned with pinch of salt. Add mushrooms, spices and tamari. After a few minutes, when veggies are tender, add chopped and drained tomatoes. Their acidity will really bring out the flavors of these sweet vegetables.

When done, add cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and cooked noodles. Season with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and more salt, if needed.

Soba Noodles with Spicy Tahini Sauce
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 oz soba noodles
2 Tbsps tamari soy sauce

For the vegetables:
1/2 small hokkaido squash
1 cup button mushrooms
olive oil for grilling
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup jullienned zucchini
1 cup blanched green beans
1/2 cup shredded Chinese cabbage
lime wedges
salt
pepper
extra-virgin olive oil

For the tahini sauce:
2 Tbsps tahini
1 tsp lime juice
1-2 tsps ume plum vinegar (or lemon juice + pinch of salt)
chili
1/3 cup of soba noodles cooking water

Directions:

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a jar. Add water gradually until desired consistency is reached.

Prepare the vegetables: Grill the pumpkin wedges, seasoned with olive oil and salt, on both sides until browned and tender. Set aside. Grill the mushrooms, seasoned with olive oil and tamari, until tender. Season zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Now you can assemble everything in a bowl: grilled pumpkin and mushrooms, shredded carrot and Chinese cabbage, marinated zucchini, blanched green beans and cooked noodles. Drizzle with tahini sauce and enjoy.

Note: You can use any selection of raw vegetables and serve like this, with noodles and tahini sauce.

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