Hey Friends! Happy Wednesday! This Sunday, after working on taxes and laundry (well, Alex was, who knows what I was doing), Alex and I ventured out into the brief moment of sun for a breath of “fresh” air and a Panera date. When I posted this picture on IG, so many of you mentioned that you had been wanting to try out the broth bowls that I thought I would do a more in-depth review of my meal and also offer up a copycat recipe!
Panera Chicken Soba Noodle Broth Bowl Review
Though I am not a big noodle person in general, every now and then I get in the mood for noodles, specifically soba (buckwheat), rice, or lo-mein (egg white). I love soy and ginger flavors, and yes please to umami, so I obviously was drawn to the dish! Included is cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, chicken, sesame seeds, soba noodles (duh) and soy-miso broth. So far, all things I like.
What I liked about it:
- The broth is great. Seriously, well balanced with great umami flavors and not to soy-salty.
- The price is high (around $9) but the portion is quite generous. This sucker will fill you up.
- I liked the presentation and layering of it–like a combination of a straightforward pasta dish and a pho (but with less broth).
- I really liked the veggies that they chose to use.
- Option to add a side house/caesar/Greek salad for $3. I exercised said option because I like to have the refreshment factor.
More critical thoughts:
- HOLY NOODLES BATMAN. Lots of noodles. Like a whole lot of them. Too many for me.
- Would like a more balanced ratio of noodles and veggies.
- They give you a legit ladle to eat the thing with. I hate big spoons, but honestly I needed it. But let’s be honest, you can’t fit that in your mouth (and yes. TWHS).
- They need to have a smaller size, for real. This would have been great as a dinner portion, but for lunch it was just way too much. And I had it after my long run. (Though it was perfect for recovery with protein, carbs, fiber, and salt! Luckily I had gotten in my fats earlier with a pb oatmeal and Greek yogurt extravaganza.
- So. Many. Sides. You get a side for it, a side for the salad, and Alex ended up with 2 sides because he got a sandwich and a cup of soup.
- The “half” salad is ginormous.
- I’m a fan! But I think that unless they come out with a smaller lunch portion, I won’t get it mid-day. I might get it again if we go for dinner though. Or, in all likelihood? I’ll make it myself at home for $4 bucks.
- I was nervous about a puny portion for a lot of money, but I was wrong–they load you up!
- Quite good stats, and a very good recovery meal, with just under 400 calories, 31 g of protein, 9 g fat, 3 g fiber, and 1340 mg sodium (could be a bit much, but if you are training and you make sure to not go crazy the rest of the day, should be fine).
Now, how you can make it yourself with my Copycat Panera Broth Bowl recipe with chicken and soba noodles!
- 2 grilled or baked chicken breasts with Asian marinade
- 2 oz dry soba noodles (or preferred amount)
- 1-2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cups sliced cabbage (Napa or other)
- 1 medium carrot, raw, shredded or chopped
- 1/3 white onion, sliced or chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos (lite soy is better to watch sodium; aminos even better)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp Gochujang or 1/2 tsp sriracha
- 1/2-1 Tbsp red miso paste (to taste. or use miso of preference) OR 1 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flake
- 1 tsp dry Basil
- 1 tsp dry Cilantro
- 1 tsp Ginger Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 cup water
- Sesame seeds
- Fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Avocado, sliced
- Saute onions and red bell pepper in medium saute pan over medium heat and season with salt. Add mushroom after about 2 minutes. Add cabbage, and carrot after another 2 mintues Add garlic last (about 2 more minutes), season once more with salt and pepper, cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes), then remove from heat and transfer to separate bowl.
- If chicken hasn't been cooked yet, season chicken with salt, pepper, and soy/aminos and then cook in veggie pan. When finished, let rest for a few minutes and then slice.
- Cook pasta according to package instruction (generally, boil for 4-6 minutes, drain, and then rinse with cold water. **retain pasta water to thin sauce as needed.
- Prepare broth by whisking together the various elements (save for the water) and bring to temperature in a small sauce pan while noodles cook. Sugar and miso should break down (bring to a light simmer). Continue whisking. Add pasta water to thin out.
- Combine noodles, sauteed vegetables, and spinach in serving bowl. Place sliced chicken over top noodles and pour hot broth over top.
- Finish with sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado. Enjoy!
- These are mere suggestions for ingredient amounts--adjust as fits you!