Protein-Packed Salad with Gluten-Free Soba Noodles

Tofu is the number one alternative for meat and delivers protein and cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Pair tofu with citrus and a gluten-free, non-inflammatory soba noodles, and you’re in for a delicious treat.

7 minute read

Last Updated July 14, 2020

Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad  - Men’s Health Recipe - 1MD

Protein is an essential nutrient for human health. In fact, without protein, the body will be unable to perform many vital functions. 

Most of the protein from the human diet comes from animal products, but what if you’re vegan or maybe vegetarian? Tofu is a high-quality protein substitute made from soybeans. Along with giving you protein, tofu also provides vitamins and minerals as well as health-boosting nutrients.

Tofu Takes You to the Next Level

Tofu is more than just a meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. It is a nutritious and beneficial food that provides many essential nutrients for overall health. This means that you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the benefits tofu has to offer.

Protect Your Heart

Consuming soy products such as tofu has been linked to reduced risk for heart disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of death among men in the United States, making prevention a priority. 

The isoflavones in tofu reduce inflammation in blood vessels and improve their elasticity. This prevents the hardening of arteries that can cause heart attack and stroke. Tofu also contains saponins, which protect the heart by lowering cholesterol levels and increasing the disposal of bile acids.

Prevent Prostate Cancer

Although prostate cancer is typically diagnosed later in life, it is one of the most common cancers among men. Consuming high amounts of soy (tofu) has been associated with a reduced risk for prostate cancer. The isoflavones that provide this protection are more effective when gut bacteria are healthy. 

Prostate cancer does not have a cure, but the right dietary additions can reduce your risk of developing it in the first place. 

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease if blood sugar levels are not managed. Soy proteins, such as those found in tofu, are known to lower resting insulin levels and insulin resistance. 

The isoflavones found in tofu also improve insulin sensitivity, making it easier to manage blood sugar levels. Effectively managing blood sugar prevents complications and more serious conditions associated with diabetes. 

Prevent Hair Loss

Male-pattern baldness is a genetic condition that is responsible for hair loss in many men. While genetics cannot be changed, adding soy to your diet is one way you can reduce hair loss. 

DHT is a by-product of testosterone that causes this condition, and it interrupts normal hair growth cycles. Soy contains a molecule that binds and blocks the DHT, disabling it from interfering with hair growth. It is able to do so without disrupting the function of the testosterone, so it can continue to perform functions as needed. 

Prevent Liver Disease

Liver disease can affect anyone but is a common health threat facing men. The most common causes of liver disease include excessive use of drugs or alcohol and the hepatitis virus. 

Additionally, fatty liver disease can develop as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. This condition involves fatty deposits sticking to the liver, preventing efficient function. Soy proteins in tofu reduce these fatty deposits and restore liver cell signaling and function

As part of a balanced diet and a when combined with regular exercise, tofu can prevent obesity and protect your liver. 

Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad with Buckwheat Soba Noodles Recipe

Tofu is packed full of nutritional value, but this recipe contains one other powerhouse ingredient. 

Soba noodles are a gluten-free alternative to regular pasta. Intolerance to gluten is becoming more common, and wheat products are causing serious digestive problems. By opting for soba noodles instead, you can obtain important carbohydrates that you need without the risk of inflammatory issues along your digestive tract. 

Ingredients

For the Tofu and Marinade

1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup tamari
1/8 cup toasted sesame oil
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package extra-firm tofu

For the Salad

1 leftover marinade
1 lime, zested
1/2 lime, juiced
1/8 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 pinch Sea salt to taste
1/2 package Buckwheat Soba Noodles
1 stalk broccoli, florets only
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 cups kale, de-ribbed and cut into ribbons
1/2 cup green cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
8 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

Tofu and Marinade

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. In a bowl, mix together orange juice, tamari, sesame oil, olive oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, and cayenne. Set aside. 

3. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into a small baking pan without overlapping. Pour the marinade over the tofu and place it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake for 15 additional minutes until browned. 

4. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the tofu and place onto a plate. Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and set aside.

Salad

1. For the Thai citrus vinaigrette: Add the lime zest and juice to the remaining marinade. Continue to add the orange juice, rice vinegar, and sea salt to taste. Set aside.

2. For the salad: Cook the soba noodles as described, rinse with cold water, and set aside. 

3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds. Immediately strain the florets and rinse with cold water. Put the noodles, blanched broccoli florets, carrot, kale, cabbage, cilantro, basil, and sesame seeds into a large bowl and toss. 

4. Dress the salad with the Thai citrus vinaigrette. Serve the salad topped with baked tofu and garnish with sesame seeds.

The Bottom Line

Tofu is the number one alternative for meat and delivers all the protein the body needs for optimal health. In addition, tofu is packed full of disease-fighting compounds to promote longevity and overall well-being. 

To make sure you get the benefits of tofu, pair it with soba noodles, so you can be assured that nutrient absorption will not be impaired by inflammation. Try tofu today and let the high-quality proteins boost your heart and overall health.

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