Swiss chard, with its tender leaves and crisp stalks, is a leafy winter green full of vitamins. This easy soba noodle recipe uses all parts of the chard: The blanched leaves go into a food processor with red miso, rice vinegar, and garlic for a Japanese-inspired pesto sauce. The stalks are chopped up and sautéed with carrots. Then everything’s folded into cooked soba noodles for an easy, healthy vegetarian dish.
What to buy: Swiss chard comes in many varieties and colors including rainbow chard, which is not a variety itself but a mixture of various colors. Any type of Swiss chard will work in this recipe, but white chard makes the brightest-colored pesto.
Miso is a Japanese culinary staple made by fermenting rice, barley, or, most commonly, soy. The two main types are white or shiro miso, which has a sweet, mild flavor, and red or aka miso, which is aged and has a salty, umami flavor. You can find miso paste refrigerated at most grocery stores.
Soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles and can be found in gourmet grocery stores or in Asian markets. If you’re having a hard time finding them, you can substitute whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti.
Dried seaweed (or nori) can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets and at Asian grocery stores. We like the flavor of the roasted variety for this recipe.
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
- 4 medium garlic cloves, halved
- 1/4 cup red miso paste
- 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces dried soba noodles
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch matchsticks
- 1 sheet dried, roasted seaweed (nori), cut into 9 pieces and thinly sliced (optional)
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, trim the ends from the chard stems and discard. Cut off the stems at the base of the leaves and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a small bowl and set aside. Stack the leaves and coarsely chop; set aside.
- Add the chard leaves and garlic to the boiling water, stir to combine, and blanch until the leaves are just wilted and tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leaves and garlic to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment (it’s OK if some of the blanching water gets into the food processor). Reserve the pot and water.
- Add the miso paste and vinegar to the food processor and season with pepper. Process until a smooth paste forms, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes total. Leave the chard pesto in the food processor.
- Return the water in the pot to a boil over high heat. Add the soba noodles, stir to separate them, and cook according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool. With the noodles still in the colander, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil and toss to coat; set aside.
- Dry the pot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the reserved chard stems and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the reserved soba noodles and chard pesto to the pot and toss to combine and evenly coat everything with the pesto. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the seaweed, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.