This is a fabulous, quick comforting noodle dish made using soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) served with a vivid bright green sauce made from kale, peas, basil and a little garlic. There are two versions. The vegetarian version adds Parmesan cheese to finish the sauce. The vegan version adds nutritional yeast as an alternative to Parmesan cheese.
Carefully toast the pistachio nuts in a hot frying pan until they are just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and roughly chop ready to sprinkle over the finished dish.
Place the peas in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Add the shredded kale to the water during the last 3 minutes of cooking. The kale needs to wilt and become tender for this sauce but should not be overcooked.
Drain the peas and kale and return the cooking water to the saucepan and top it up with boiling water ready to cook the noodles.
Place half the cooked peas, cooked kale, crushed garlic, 3 tablespoons (30g) Parmesan cheese (or 2 dessertspoons of nutritional yeast), olive oil, half of the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of cooking water into a blender.
Blitz the sauce for 30 seconds until smooth. At this point taste the sauce and adjust the flavour, adding a little more lemon juice, Parmesan cheese or cooking water for a smooth consistency.
Return the sauce to a small saucepan and add the reserved peas and keep warm over a very low heat.
Bring the water used to cook the vegetables up to boil and throw in the noodles. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles briefly under cold water to rinse off the starch which can cause the noodles to stick together. Quickly dip the washed noodles in a bowl of boiling hot water to reheat and drain once again.
Divide the hot noodles between four warmed bowls and pour over the green sauce.
Finish the dish with a sprinkling of chopped pistachio nuts, reserved grated parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast, lemon zest and a pinch of black pepper.
Tip: For perfectly cooked hot, soba noodles it is important to cook them for exactly 5 minutes; briefly rinse them in cold water to remove any starch that can cause them to clump together and finally dip them in a bowl of hot water to bring them up to serving temperature. You can get ahead with this recipe by cooking soba noodles in advance and reheated in boiling water just before serving.
Tip: Use pre-shredded kale to speed up the preparation for this recipe. Otherwise, if using whole kale leaves, remove the woody stem before shredding.
TIP: If you have a steamer, cook the kale and peas over the noodles while they are cooking.