This rich Japanese-style broth, flavoured with vibrant fresh herbs, ginger and garlic, peps up firm, white cubes of tofu and long strands of earthy buckwheat noodles. It is a delicious low-fat vegetarian recipe for protein-rich tofu. Serve it for lunch or supper.

 Serves 2
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for teriyaki-style noodles with tofu
150 g soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
250 g mixed vegetables, such as asparagus tips, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans or snow peas
100 ml light soy sauce
300 ml vegetable stock
4 tablespoons rice wine (sake or mirin) or dry sherry
300 g firm tofu, diced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
Preparation for teriyaki-style noodles with tofu
1 Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the noodles for about 6 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
2 Meanwhile, cut all the mixed vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the simmering noodles for the final 3–4 minutes of cooking.
3 Drain the noodles and vegetables in a large colander. Place all the remaining ingredients in the empty saucepan and return it to the heat. Heat until simmering, then reduce the heat to the minimum setting. Return the noodles and vegetables to the pan, and cook very briefly until they are reheated.
4 Serve in deep soup bowls, with a spoon to drink the tasty broth and a fork or chopsticks for picking up the solid ingredients.
Each serving provides 2072 kJ, 495 kcal, 30 g protein, 14.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 65 g carbohydrate (4.5 g sugars), 5 g fibre
Health tip
Evidence is accumulating from around the world to suggest that eating soybeans and soya products, such as tofu, may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as helping to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.

A creamy sauce of zucchini, low-fat ricotta and walnuts reinterprets an Italian classic, and makes a wonderful, sophisticated dressing for baked pasta shells filled with a delicious spinach and bright green herbed stuffing.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus 5 minutes standing
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Ingredients for giant stuffed pasta shells
500 g spinach, trimmed
3 zucchini, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
1 cup (250 g) ricotta
1 cup (100 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (75 g) freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh chervil or marjoram
1/4 cup (15 g) snipped fresh chives or 3 small French shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh basil
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 no-precook conchiglie grande (giant pasta shells for stuffing)
1/2 cup (65 g) grated edam cheese
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil or tiny basil leaves
salt and pepper
Preparation for giant stuffed pasta shells
1 Wash the spinach well and place the wet leaves in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over a high heat for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. When the spinach is just tender and wilted, tip it into a colander and leave it to drain and cool.
2 Meanwhile, place the zucchini and half the garlic in a saucepan. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cook over a high heat for about 3 minutes or until the zucchini are just tender.
3 Purée the zucchini and stock in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding half the ricotta, the walnuts, 2 tablespoons parmesan and seasoning to taste. The resulting sauce should have a consistency halfway between pouring and thick cream, slightly more runny than a coating sauce should be.
4 When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze it dry in small handfuls and chop it coarsely. Mix the spinach with the chervil or marjoram, chives or shallots, basil, the remaining garlic and ricotta, the egg and seasoning to taste.
5 Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Use a small teaspoon to stuff the pasta shells with the spinach mixture, then arrange them in an ovenproof dish in a single layer.
6 Pour the sauce over the stuffed shells and sprinkle with the remaining grated parmesan. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
7 Sprinkle the edam cheese and basil over the cooked stuffed pasta and leave to stand for 5 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese melts, then serve.
Each serving provides 2638 kJ, 630 kcal, 34 g protein, 38 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 39 g carbohydrate (6 g sugars), 5.5 g fibre

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