1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
3 cups water
4 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles), broken in half
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, to taste
1 15-ounce can low-sodium vegetable broth
5 to 6 ounces fresh baby spinach, stemmed and rinsed
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 to 3 tablespoons miso
freshly ground pepper to taste
Once you've got the squash baked, this Japanese-style soup comes together quickly, and is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. Use chopsticks for "slurping" the noodles.
Place the squash in a microwave-safe container. Microwave for 8 minutes, or until it can be easily pierced with a knife but is still firm. Or, if you are using the oven for baking other foods, you can bake the squash in the oven. Cut it in half, wrap in foil, and bake at 375 or 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Either way, this step can be done ahead of time. Let the squash cool until it can be easily handled. Split it in half, remove the seeds and fibers, and scoop the flesh away from the skin. Cut into large dice and set aside until needed.
Bring the water to a simmer in a soup pot. Add the soba and ginger and cook until the noodles are al dente.
Add the broth, spinach, and peas, and diced squash. Cook just until the spinach is wilted but still bright green and everything is well heated through.
Dissolve the miso in 1/3 cup warm water and stir into the soup, then taste. If you'd like to add more miso, dissolve a small amount in a little warm water before adding. Season with pepper and serve at once.
Per serving: Calories: 153 Total fat: 1 g Protein: 7 g Fiber: 6 g Carbohydrate: 33 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 519 mg