Recipe and photograph - Dr Joan Ransley

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.

The recipe contains nine different plant foods including black pepper, olive oil and buckwheat. Research has shown that the number of plant types in a person’s diet plays a key role in the diversity of the gut microbiome (the number of different types of bacteria living there). People who eat more than 30 different plant types per week have a more diverse range of bacteria living in their gut than those who eat 10 or fewer types of plants per week.


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.

To make the sauce:

Place half the cooked peas, cooked kale, crushed garlic, Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast – reserve a little to serve – olive oil, half of the lemon juice and 3 tbsps 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.

To cook the noodles:

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.

Alternative serving suggestion

Use wholewheat spaghetti instead of soba (buckwheat) noodles. Add florets of broccoli or chopped fine beans to vary the texture and taste of the green sauce.

Toasted pine nuts, hazel nuts, almonds, or cashew nuts can be substituted for the toasted pistachio nuts in this recipe.

Cooking Tips

  • 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.
  • Use pre-shredded kale to speed up the preparation for this recipe. Otherwise, if using whole kale leaves, remove the woody stem before shredding.
  • If you have a steamer, cook the kale and peas over the noodles while they are cooking.
VEGETARIAN Per Serving Per 100g
Calories (Kcal/KJ) 547 / 2298 302 / 1269
Protein (g) 21 12
Fat (g) 16 8.9
Saturated fat (g) 3.9 2.1
Carbohydrate (g) 73 41
Sugar (g) 1.7 0.9
Fibre (g) 21 12
Sodium (mg) 83.3 46
Salt equivalent (g) 0.21 0.12
VEGAN Per Serving Per 100g
Calories (Kcal/KJ) 533 / 2241 298 / 1252
Protein (g) 22 12
Fat (g) 14 7.6
Saturated fat (g) 2 1.1
Carbohydrate (g) 75 42
Sugar (g) 2.6 1.4
Fibre (g) 13 7
Sodium (mg) 23.5 13
Salt equivalent (g) 0.06 0.12
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