Soba noodles are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour. They are thinner and shorter than spaghetti noodles with a light to dark brown color. Soba noodles have a unique earthy nutty flavor and a slightly grainy texture.
Buckwheat is a grain that is gluten-free. So, these noodles are a good option for people who are allergic or don’t want to use gluten. When buying soba noodles, always read the ingredients. Make sure they are 100% made of buckwheat (Juwari Soba).
There are soba noodles made with a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. Soba noodle shape, taste, preparation, and presentation can vary in different regions. However, If you can’t find soba noodles in your store or want to try some other flavor there are some substitutes you can use.
You can use Udon noodles, ramen noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, and somen noodles. Or you can make your own soba noodles. Let’s learn more about these substitutes.
Soba Noodle Substitutes
Soba noodles contain buckwheat flour, also known as a healthy alternative for wheat flour. It is rich in minerals, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. If you like to enjoy the flavor of the soba noodles it is best to eat them with a simple dressing. Or a mild broth.
Buckwheat flour is gluten-free noodles that can easily break. So, wheat flour is for better texture. Soba noodles that have 80% of buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour are known as Hachi-wari soba. They can also contain green tea powder, wild yam, seaweed, and ume plum.
Depending on the ingredients their color and taste may vary. You can find them in Japanese or Asian stores in dried form, frozen or fresh.
You can serve them cold and hot. Serve cold soba noodles with dipping sauce aside. If you prefer hot soba noodles, you can serve them in a bowl of hot broth.
But if you don’t have these noodles at hand, use the next substitutes. They have different flavors, colors, and contents. But if you don’t have soba noodles, they make a good substitute.
1. Whole wheat spaghetti
Whole grain spaghetti is made of whole-grain flour. And they have a harder texture than regular spaghetti made of wheat flour.
This spaghetti has more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than soba noodles. It makes a pretty good substitute for soba noodles. They have similar nutrition values. Thus, you can use them as a substitute for one another.
2. Udon noodles
These noodles have a lighter color and thicker and creamier texture than soba noodles. Udon noodles are made from wheat flour, salt, and water. You can serve them in curry sauce, or a broth as a noodle soup.
However, they are also delicious in stir-fries with vegetables and meat, or deep-fried. They have a mild flavor. And can easily take on the flavors from the other ingredients in the dish.
3. Somen noodles
Somen noodles are very thin and usually served cold with a dipping sauce. However, they work in hot soups too. They are made of wheat flour, water, and oil. Somen noodles pairs well with chopped scallions, and grated ginger.
4. Ramen noodles
Ramen is curly dried noodles made of wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui (alkaline water). These ingredients make the noodles firmer and elastic with yellow color.
Some types of ramen noodles can have eggs. They are ideal for stir-fries, salads, soups, or broth with various vegetables and meat. You can either buy fresh or dried in Asian markets.
5. Yakisoba noodles
Yakisoba is made of wheat flour. It is very similar to ramen and served as a stir-fry dish. They pair well with cabbage, pieces of pork, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, and yakisoba sauce. Or with other garnishes like pickled ginger, seaweed powder, and fish flakes.
6. Rice noodles
Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water. You can buy fresh, dried, and frozen rice noodles. They are great for stir-fries, broths, soups, or as a base for meats and fish.
They have a mild flavor and can take over the taste of the ingredients cook with them. You can prepare them in a very simple way. Just cover them with boiling water for a few minutes and combine them with your favorite vegetable. Or meat and some sauce.
7. Kelp noodles
Kelp is algae seaweed that grows in oceans. They are steamed and from their extract which has a jelly, the texture is made the kelp noodles. These noodles are gluten-free, lower in calories but rich in vitamins and minerals.
They have a crispy consistency and salty umami flavor. You can use them for stir-fries, soups, salads, and vegetable dishes. They are a good substitute for soba noodles because they are both excellent for your health.
8. Homemade soba noodles
You can make homemade soba noodles. All you need is 1 cup of buckwheat flour, 140milliliters hot water, and 1/2 spelt flour. Make a mixture, and knead to make a dough. Add flour or water if needed. Flat the dough and roll it, then cut the noodles.
Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for a minute. Rinse under cold water. Drain them and there you have your soba noodles. Add whatever you like to your noodles.
If you are allergic to gluten don’t use spelt flour because it contains gluten. Use only buckwheat flour. Or some other gluten-free flour like almond or oat.
Can I use udon noodles instead of soba?
You can use udon noodles instead of soba. However, have in mind that they are made of wheat flour, not from buckwheat flour like soba noodles.
Are soba noodles and ramen the same?
Soba noodles and ramen noodles are not the same. Soba noodles contain buckwheat flour. Ramen noodles, on the other hand, contain wheat flour.
What kind of noodles are soba noodles?
Soba noodles are Japanese noodles that have buckwheat flour. They are a healthy substitution for wheat noodles.
Soba noodles are a healthy ingredient, and you can use them if you are allergic to gluten. Some of these substitutes can be a good alternative if you can’t find them in your store.