For many, January marks a welcome return to lighter fare and a relief from the heavier foods of the holiday season. I like to pull in fresh flavors, use quite a bit of ginger, and include has many leafy greens as I can. Most of the time, those greens are in salad form, but occasionally I'll make a quick batch of soup, like this flexible, easy Mushroom Chard Soup with Soba Noodles.

This soup comes together rather quickly and is primarily flavored by the mushrooms and ginger. There's no need to be picky about the type of green you use — chard, kale, spinach, and bok choy all work just fine here. And while I left it as optional in the recipe, I recommend adding a teaspoon or two of sriracha in with the ginger if you're feeling like you need a bit of kick — it's the right amount of spice!

Soba Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Chard

Serves 4.

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha, optional

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups vegetable broth

4 ounces soba noodles

2 ounces shredded Swiss chard leaves, or other hearty greens

Sesame seeds, for topping

Heat a medium stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil followed by mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger (and sriracha, if using), cooking for another minute. Next, add in the soy sauce and stir, scraping up any parts of mushrooms stuck to the pan and continuing to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The mushrooms should be softening.

Measure in the broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add the noodles and chard. Cook until the noodles are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Per serving: 176 calories; 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 31 percent calories from fat); 28 g carbohydrates; 5 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 1,308 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 2 g fiber.

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