Mar 15, 2013

Soba. Sesame. Shrooms. + Gomasio

This dish is high in nutrients and flavor! If you’ve ever tried to find 100% buckwheat soba noodles you may have been tearing your hair out, as I was. Not only is it expensive as %&#@, ahem, it’s also tough to find. My guess is that it’s because 100% buckwheat can be hard to cook so there isn’t much of a demand for these nutty noodles. They can get very sticky and if cooked improperly, they break apart into small peices. Not fun. But if you follow the cooking instructions on the package, it comes out fine. I happen to love the flavor and the fact that it’s so high in nutrients and can replace other low-nutrient pastas.

If you’re not quite adventurous enough to cook these noodles as you would a pasta, simply par boil them and then toss into a soup. Perfect way to use this sometimes tricky ingredient!

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. Buckwheat is a complete misnomer. Whoever decided to call it buckwheat was… I don’t know. Suffice it to say it is NOT wheat and it is not even a grain! It’s a fruit seed related to rhubarb. Anyway, if you’re shopping for authentic soba make sure to read the label. There are some products out there labeled “soba” that are mostly wheat.


  • contains plant lignans to protect us against heart diseases.
  • helps control blood sugar levels and thus lowers the risk of diabetes.
  • helps prevent gallstones.
  • protects against childhood asthma.
  • lowers the risk of heart failure and obesity.
  • contains ample dietary fiber that protects women from breast cancer.
  • helps improve digestive health and it helps prevent blood sugar fluctuations.
  • helps lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
I had a big package of mushrooms in the fridge and decided this brown on brown dish would be perfect for a light, healthy lunch. I also toasted up some gomasio, which is a Japanese garnish made from unhulled sesame seeds. Traditionally made with salt, I find the flavor of the sesame seeds is perfect without the added sodium! (see recipe below)
  • ½ pound soba noodles
  • 1 pound sliced mushrooms (I used common white button mushroom but any kind will do)
  • 3 stalks green onion, chopped into 1-2” pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos (you can use any low-sodium soy sauce but the coconut aminos add a nice sweetness to the dish)
  • gomasio to garnish
  1. Cook the soba noodles. Be sure to follow the instructions! Watch them closely. They overcook easily.
  2. When the noodles are cooked, rinse in cool water and set aside.
  3. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the shrooms are cooked. Add a little water if needed. I prefer to add water than more oil!
  4. Add the onion and soy sauce and mix to combine.
  5. Add the cooked soba noodles and the sesame oil and toss. Cook on low until the noodles are warm again. Add a little water if needed as the noodles may be starting to get sticky at this point.
  6. Top with gomasio.
Serves 2. Enjoy!
homemade gomasio
     for the gomasio
  • 1 cup unhulled organic sesame seeds
  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high.
  2. Place ½ cup of the seeds into the pan and stir until they take on some color. Be careful not to overcook!
  3. Set the seeds aside to cool.
  4. Place the remaining ½ cup of the seeds in the pan and repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Using a nut/seed grinder, grind half of the sesame seeds and leave the other half whole.
  6. Place in a shaker jar and mix well.
A note about sesame: Sesamin is a compound found in sesame seeds and sesame oil. It belongs to a group of fibrous plant compounds known as lignans, along with a closely related lignan called sesamolin. Numerous studies have suggested various health benefits of sesamin. This compound is known to promote anti-inflammatory effects, normalize blood pressure, lower cholesterol, aid in vitamin E absorption, protect the liver, and contribute to weight loss. It is additionally believed to have antioxidant effects. Another benefit is that it has been proven to increase the body’s ability to burn fat while decreasing the body’s fat storage capacity. Additionally, it helps to preserve lean muscle mass. 
Healthy trails,

12 responses to “Soba. Sesame. Shrooms. + Gomasio”

  1. Tracy says:

    All I could find were hulled sesame seeds, will they work? Thanks 🙂

  2. Helyn says:

    Yes, Tracy. They'll work fine! Be extra careful when toasting.

  3. Tracy says:

    Thank you so much Helyn! I am making it now, my kitchen smells amazing 🙂 Have a great holiday weekend!

  4. Helyn says:

    You're so welcome, Tracy! 🙂

  5. Mary says:

    Hi Helyn, do you have a favorite spot to buy unhulled sesame seeds? My Whole Foods doesn’t carry them anymore and I haven’t been successful in finding another source. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you & yours! Mary

  6. jj says:

    thanks for the recipe for the gamasio…is this the same recipe for tahini, or is there a difference? we do not use oil. and thus we thought that as you describe taking sesame seeds, roasting them, and then pulverizing them made tahini??? thank you for the clarification

    • helynskitchen says:

      You’re welcome! Nope, not the same at all. For the gomasio, the sesame seeds are half pulverized, half whole and used to sprinkle on food as a condiment. Tahini is completely pulverized sesame seeds, like a seed butter.

  7. Jan-Marie says:

    This looks delicious. I will try this next week. The sesame garnish looks yummy.

    Just a note: sesame seeds contain the same protein (for lack of a more scientific word) as peanuts. If you have a peanut allergy, eat sesame seeds in large quantity or tahini with great caution. We found out the hard way.

  8. jj says:

    thank you for the clarification…how do you pulverize for the tahini and the gamasio…can we use a food processor??? any other tips as to how
    thank you.

    • helynskitchen says:

      I use a nut and seed grinder. You could try a food processor but it may not work as well if you don’t have a large enough batch. You don’t want to make a puree out of it (like a tahini paste), just grind them up a bit. Hope this helps!

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