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.

Thickening soup with potato gives a velvety smooth result without adding the fat used in other traditional methods. Served either hot or chilled, this soup is ideal as a dinner-party starter all through the year. 
  • 1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, finely diced
  • 100 g (4 oz) potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 100 g (4 oz) leeks, chopped
  • 2 strips of pared orange zest
  • 4 tbsp orange juice, or to taste
  • salt and pepper
To garnish

4 tbsp single cream; 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 1 strip of pared orange zest, cut into fine shredsPreparation time: 15-20 minutes, plus cooling and 4 hours chilling if served cold. Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 Pour the stock into a large saucepan and add the carrots, potato, leeks and orange zest. Bring to the boil over a high heat, skimming the surface as necessary, then reduce the heat to moderate and leave the soup to bubble for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

2 Remove and discard the strips of orange zest. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3 If serving the soup hot, return it to the rinsed-out saucepan. Reheat and add the orange juice, then adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into bowls and add a spoonful of cream to each, drizzling it over the surface. Sprinkle with the parsley and shredded orange zest and serve at once.

4 To serve the soup chilled, leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the orange juice, then adjust the seasoning. Garnish and serve as for the hot soup.

Plus points

  • Making soup is an excellent way of preserving all the water-soluble vitamins - the B group and vitamin C - which are otherwise lost when the cooking water from vegetables is discarded.
  • This low-fat soup is made with leeks instead of the usual onion. Leeks are a useful source of several water-soluble vitamins, including C and folate.
Each serving provides

kcal 100, protein 2 g, fat 4 g (of which saturated fat 2 g), carbohydrate 16 g (of which sugars 12 g), fibre 4 g

Some more ideas

  • To make a filling broccoli soup, replace the carrots with 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) broccoli florets. Sprinkle each serving with a little grated nutmeg and top with about 1 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, such as Stilton.
  • Make a green bean soup using this basic recipe. Replace the carrots with 450 g (1 lb) green beans, trimmed and chopped. Omit the orange zest and add 30 g (1 oz) finely chopped fennel. Depending on the choice of beans, this soup may need sieving to remove fibres after pureeing the mixture - this is particularly important if using runner beans. Serve sprinkled with finely chopped fresh fennel leaves (from the bulb) or dill.