Frozen peas, in my opinion, are the highly underrated dinner savior. The pesto is a snap to throw together and is the perfect way to dress up otherwise bland pantry staples. The recipe makes more pesto than you will need for several servings of pasta, but it keeps (and freezes!) well. Make a batch and you're only ever a few minutes away from dinner. Try leftover pesto as a sandwich/wrap/pita spread if your lunch is in need of a pick-me-up.
Proper, well-behaved pesto should have some Parmesan or other cheese in it. But proper, well behaved pesto probably shouldn't have peas in it. Since we're already breaking all of the rules here, I went ahead and made this without any cheese (because I didn't have any, if I'm being honest). If you are more prepared than I, go ahead and try the pesto with 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano thrown in at the very end. A little cheese never hurt anyone.
Keep a bag of chopped kale in the freezer beside your peas to ensure that you can throw this meal together at a moment's notice, but if you don't have kale on hand try it with other greens. Spinach or swiss chard would both work well. Arugula would give it a great peppery kick. Play around with your favorite greens! —kangarhubarb
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Kangarhubarb is a nurse by day, expert gardener by weekend.
WHAT: A freezable, batchable (vegan!) pesto.
HOW: Make a "pesto" out of defrosted frozen peas, parsley, lemon juice, almonds, and balsamic vinegar. Toss the pesto with cooked soba noodles, along with additional peas and kale.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With all of the peas in this recipe, you may expect the result to be a little one-noted, but the opposite is true: The lemon brightens the pesto, the soba adds an earthiness, and the balsamic vinegar and kale bring a depth to the dish. *If* you have any left over, place it in an airtight container to freeze, then spoon it over your favorite pasta on a rainy day. —Elizabeth
For the parsley-pea pesto:
frozen peas, defrosted
fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor and pulse until roughly combined.
Add 1/4 cup olive oil and continue pulsing until mixture comes together. Add more olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if pesto needs to be thinned out. You want it to be loose enough that it will lightly coat your noodles.
For the soba with kale:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Once water has come to a boil, add dried soba noodles, give a good stir, turn off the heat and cover. Set aside for 4 to 5 minutes. I like my soba al dente and find that it is very easy to overcook. This method ensures that the noodles maintain their bite.
While noodles are cooking, place the frozen peas in a small bowl and add some water. Heat them in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high, stirring halfway through, or until defrosted.
Once noodles and peas are cooked, drain both and return to the pot. Add chopped kale and pesto. Toss to coat evenly. You're done! Enjoy!