Make Ahead

Soba with Parsley-Pea Pesto and Kale

February 22, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

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! —k s

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

What You'll Need
  • For the parsley-pea pesto:
  • 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, or as needed
  • For the soba with kale:
  • Salt, to taste
  • 100 grams dried soba noodles
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 cups chopped kale (or other greens)
  • 1/2 cup Parsley-Pea Pesto (see recipe above)
  1. For the parsley-pea pesto:
  2. Add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor and pulse until roughly combined.
  3. 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.
  1. For the soba with kale:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Chinnu Susan Kurian
    Chinnu Susan Kurian
  • Laura Haydock
    Laura Haydock
  • chris
  • Sherry Schreiber
    Sherry Schreiber

9 Reviews

Sherry S. March 24, 2021
This is delicious! I used cilantro instead of parsley, white balsamic vinegar and added some chopped fresh ginger to the pesto to brighten it a bit. I recommend this highly.
Mary May 26, 2019
This is not vegetarian, it is vegan. All plant based and I thought it was delicious. The pesto was rich because if the creaminess of purée peas, this is a terrific to my growing list of necesssay vegan meals that TASTE GOOD!
No compromising of flavors or textures, plant based goodness. Thank you.
70&holding April 19, 2018
Laura, there are, plant base cheeses now!! The, Go Veggie is what I use, in place of Parm. I also use, plant base 'milk', cream cheese, gurt, sour cream, etc...! I do miss a, chunk of real cheese, but.....! I recommend, Whole Foods, best/more choices, Sprouts!raf
Chinnu S. December 6, 2017
A simple healthy vegetarian dish ! Loved it . I didn’t have kale , instead added some fenugreek leaves & snow peas to it .
Laura H. May 30, 2016
"A little cheese never hurt anyone". Except, maybe, the forcefully impregnated cows going year after year through an endless cycle of pregnancy and birth to satisfy not their own babies' needs but some human desire.
Just sayin'.
k S. May 30, 2016
Hi Laura, I agree, the way the vast majority of dairy is produced is indeed harmful to the cows. However, I also believe that with great care and craftsmanship, quality dairy can be produced in a way that is both ethical and sustainable. And while there is certainly a time and a place to speak out against irresponsible practices, I think that one of the best ways to influence change is to support those who are treating their animals and the ground well with our purchasing choices. I understand that this is a very contentious and personal issue, but just wanted to acknowledge that yes, there are problems with the dairy industry, but that doesn't mean that there aren't ethical options out there.
chris May 13, 2015
I was looking for a new side dish to go with salmon, and this worked better than I could have imagined. My cherry tomatoes are already a flourishing crop, so I roasted a handful alongside the salmon. Very tasty meal; pretty, too! (And, the four y/o was occupied all through dinner, carefully picking out the kale; which she doesn't care for, this week.)
chris May 14, 2015
Had the leftover pesto for lunch, with goat cheese, on toasted bread. Fabulous.
k S. May 14, 2015
Oh yum! That's a great idea, Chris!