A close up of a plate of food with broccoli
November 16, 2023
A close up of a plate of food with broccoli

Brain Healthy Ingredients: Cruciferous vegetables & dark leafy greens, Garlic, Nuts, Olive Oil

Serves: 2

Almonds might be high in calories, but they’re also high in nutrients—especially vitamin E. Just 2 ½ oz of almonds contain the daily requirement of vitamin E for an adult. In some studies, vitamin E has been associated with less cognitive decline with age, and a slower progression in Alzheimer’s disease for some types of patients. More research is needed to gain a better understanding of the role vitamin E plays in brain health and fitness.

P.S. Don’t worry too much about the calories in almonds. The evidence suggests that people who regularly eat nuts are no more likely to gain weight than people who don’t—and may even be less likely!

You can easily personalize this dish by substituting in vegetables of your liking. When sautéing the vegetables, cut up all ingredients to the same size for even cooking and start with the one that will take longest to cook, like the broccoli. Quick-cooking ingredients go in last. For a lower fat version, try substituting water for the oil.


  • 4 oz buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 scallions, cut into thin slices
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced, then chopped
  • ½ cup shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup blanched broccoli florets or broccolini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup almond slivers, toasted
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Spicy almond sauce (recipe follows)

Spicy Almond Sauce

  • ½ cup raw almond butter (recipe follows)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsps agave nectar
  • 1 tsp ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsps crushed red chili flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
  • Sea salt to taste

Raw Almond Butter

  • 2 cups shelled almonds
  • 3 Tbsps almond oil or coconut oil
  • Pinch of sale (optional)


Raw Almond Butter

  1. Place almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until they become fine crumbs. Add in salt (if using) and oil a bit at a time and process more until it becomes a smooth past, adding more oil to reach the desired texture.
  2. Transfer to a jar and keep refrigerated. Makes a 10-oz jar.

Spicy Almond Sauce

  1. Blend the almond butter, rice vinegar, agave, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste in a food processor or high-speed blender until completely smooth. Add hot water as needed to reach the desired consistency (about 3 teaspoons). Add salt to taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. This sauce can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To Cook and Serve

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil. Add the soba noodles and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, cabbage, and broccoli and sauté for 5-10 minutes until desired crispness is reached.
  3. Remove vegetables from heat, add the noodles, and toss with the spicy almond sauce, scallions, and red bell pepper. Top with toasted almond slivers and additional sauce, if desired.