Serves 6 / History lesson: Soba noodles are served on New Year’s Day in Japan for good luck and longevity. In Asian countries, it is customary to make slurping noises while eating noodles, so don’t be shy! Ingredient tips: Miso paste is a great way to add not only flavor but also protein and fiber to a soup. Look for MSG-free vegetarian oyster sauce, made from mushrooms. Cooking lesson: Mukimono is the Japanese art of vegetable carving. This recipe uses carrot ribbons to decorate a simple soup; they are easy to make and can be formed into fun shapes.

1/2 pound low-sodium soba noodles

4 cups mushroom broth

2 cups water

1/4 cup yellow miso

2 cups packed baby spinach leaves

1 carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced


4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon sugar

Dash of hot sauce, optional

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl until blended. Set aside.

3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together broth, water, and miso. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to simmer until the miso is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.

4. Place a handful of spinach in the bottom of each bowl. Top with noodles. Pour broth over noodles. Sprinkle with carrot curls and green onions. Stir in desired amount of sauce. Eat with chopsticks.

PER SERVING (with 1 teaspoon sauce): 169 cal, 3% fat cal, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg chol, 7g protein, 37g carb, 4g fiber, 879mg sodium