Tangy lemon and buttery toasted almonds combine into a decadent, yet easy pesto. This 10 minute meal may not look like much if you only consider its minimal ingredients. Looks can be deceiving. The flavor is creamy, bright, and satisfying. Toss it with high-protein Soba noodles and you’ll have lunch or dinner that leaves you feeling satiated.
Soba? Like from Japan?
Yup! Although many know Soba from being served cold at their favorite Japanese restaurant, they’re excellent hot too. I regularly use these in place of whole wheat spaghetti because of their delicate shape, closer to an angel hair, and more neutral flavor.
Higher in protein than wheat, and rich in soluble fiber, they’re an excellent choice for feeling full. As a bonus, these noodles are a fantastic option for those with Celiac’s Disease because buckwheat is naturally gluten-free.
These days, everywhere from Target to Whole Foods carries Soba Noodles. You’ll find them in the “Asian Section” of your local grocery store. They typically come in a package with 3 bundles, and two serve 4 people a proper serving.
Almond, go ahead and call it a Health-Nut
Almonds are my go-to nut. As someone with a chronic illness and a crappy immune system, I’m constantly searching for foods to boost my immunity. They contain a good amount of Vitamin E and B which can aid in that endeavor.
Eating about 10 nuts assists in the battle against nausea. Some medications #Spoonies are prescribed can make us sick or reduce our appetite. There are times I’ve felt dizzy, only then remembering I hadn’t eaten in hours. Munching on a small handful of almonds can give my body and brain a quick shot of protein and healthy boost.
Compared to other nuts such as pistachios, pecans, and macadamias, almonds are more available and affordable. They’re are a health powerhouse, and extremely versatile in both cooking and baking. They compliment savory and sweet dishes, and work perfectly as a garnish or the main star. Pack them as a snack, toss a few in your salad for a pop of protein, or puree into this lemony pesto.
Don’t skip the zest!
It may seem like lemon zest is just an ornate garnish curled over the top of expertly baked lemon bars on the cover of Fancy Pants Food magazine. (Not a real publication, but the name is appropriate for a few magazines.) Lemon, orange, and lime zest are magical ingredients. They come with your fruit for free and add tremendous flavor and texture. I kept this pesto simple, but the minimal ingredients each pack their own flavor punch and make this recipe work. So don’t skip the zest!
Don’t have a microplane to zest your citrus? Don’t want one? Save money and get yourself one of these nifty little zesters. If you’ve read any of my other recipes, you’ll know I detest uni-tools. But a few are worth the space they claim in a kitchen drawer. This is unquestionably one of those devices. I bought a $2 zester from Ikea back when I was in college 12+ years ago. I still have and use it on a regular basis.
Texture is a Good Thing
Pesto is more method than recipe. Combining herbs, greens, nuts, etc in a food processor, or using a pestle and mortar is the process for which it’s named. The Italian word pesta means to pound or crush. Although most of us think of basil, garlic, and olive oil blended to a smooth sauce, many things can be pureed into the condiment. In this recipe the almonds are toasted and keep their crunch. So when you process them they will stay gritty as opposed to fine and smooth. It tastes great that way! So don’t worry about trying to get a perfect velvety sauce. Keep it easy and don’t stress.
(Vegan) Lemon Almond Pesto over Buckwheat Soba Noodles
- 3/4 cup whole almonds
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup +2 tbsp veg broth (6 tbsp total)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 of 9oz package soba noodles,
Packages of soba usually come with 3 bundles, for this use 2 of them.
- Garnish: 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, oe 1/4 cup rough chopped almonds, optional
Preheat oven to 375°
- On a lined sheet pan, toast whole almonds for 5 mins. SET A TIMER! I can’t tell you how many nuts I’ve had to toss in the trash because I burned them.
- In a food processor, combine almonds, lemon zest, and next 5 ingredients (through sea salt). Process until “smooth”. This won’t be smooth like a traditional pesto. It’ll be gritty and textured, but it’s perfect that way!
- Cook soba according to your package directions. Toss in the pesto, top with the optional basil or chopped almonds, and serve. That’s it!