I’m a big fan of soba noodles, which are Japanese noodles made with buckwheat flour. Noodles, of course, are a quick go-to meal, but as much as I love white flour pasta, it can sometimes leave me feeling heavy. I’m not a big calorie-counter (I’m more interested in how my food makes me feel), but the fact that soba noodles have about half the calories of regular pasta, and fewer carbs probably explains why they usually sit lighter in my belly.
Today, I came home to a fridge with little other than a slightly wilted box of arugula. Wilted herbs and greens are perfect for pesto, and one of my favorite things in the world is arugula pesto. I make variations on arugula pesto all of the time–adding in herbs (parsley, which adds a nice brightness, is especially nice), different types of nuts, and of course, generous amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. I often leave out the cheese since we’re a bit lactose intolerant. A pesto sans cheese especially seemed like a good idea for soba noodles, since they’re best suited for naturally cheese-less Asian recipes.
This batch of pesto was made with what we had around–pumpkin seeds, a lemon, and olive oil. The nutty, toasty quality of the pumpkin seeds worked great with the slightly sweet and nutty flavor of the soba noodles. Of course, you could also use walnuts, almonds, or the more traditional pine nuts instead.
We topped it with a few veggies we had around and kept it simple, but of course, you could top it with whatever raw or sauteed veggies you have on hand. Enjoy!
Soba Noodles with Arugula Pesto
- 1 package of soba noodles
- 4 C. packed arugula leaves
- 1/8 to 1/4 C. pumpkin seeds
- salt and pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 C. or more olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 2 scallions, minced
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it for the noodles. While the water is coming to a boil, make the pesto. Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium high heat in a skillet until they brown and pop. Spread on a plate to cool. Toss the arugula in the food processor with the lemon juice and run until the leaves are chopped up. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and the pumpkin seeds. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend till smooth and then taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Add the dry soba noodles to the boiling water and set the timer for 6 minutes. When the noodles start to boil over, add a cup of cold water. When the noodles come to a rolling boil again (about 6 minutes), they should be ready. Drain noodles and rinse with cool water. Toss the warm noodles with the pesto. Add noodles to bowls and top each with a sprinkle of tomatoes and scallions, as well as any other veggies that you’d like to use.