somen noodles with wild garlic & pea shoot pesto

May 15, 2014 § 79 Comments


I had the day off yesterday, well actually it was a day on considering all the work I accomplished around the house.  Isn’t it satisfying when you are “on” and everything seems to fall into place?  Six loads of laundry washed and put away, tomatoes planted, front garden edged and weeded, a much needed nap and a fantastic somen noodle dinner.


It wasn’t until 5:30pm when I realized the day got away from me and I didn’t have a dinner plan.  The last grocery trip I made was a bit unorganized.  I shopped without a list or the week’s menu plan, which I love to do occasionally, but isn’t helpful at all when it’s time to put dinner together.  I was lost in  sensory overload as I walked through the market picking fresh peas, ramps, pea shoots, enoki mushrooms (because they are cute), garlic, somen noodles and Thai eggplants, which I will use later.


I decided on somen noodles with ramps and mushrooms with a pea shoot pesto.


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1-2 bunches ramps, or 1 regular leek, halved through the root and tough greens removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 bunch of enoki mushrooms
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 bunches of somen noodles, 1 cup of cooking water reserved
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

M e t h o d

Cut the roots off the ramps and clean any dirt or old skin off the white parts of the stems. Rinse well and pat dry. Thinly slice the whites and stalks of the ramps. Shred the green leaves in a chiffonade (a style of slicing meaning to cut into long, thin ribbons). Set aside.

Put the olive oil into a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is rippling, add the white parts of the ramps. Sauté until they start to soften, then add the thyme. Cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have colored slightly. Add the shredded ramp leaves. Mix well and continue cooking until the ramp greens have wilted, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, stir to mix and remove pan from heat and cover. Leave it to stand while you cook the soba noodles.

Uncover the mushroom mixture and heat through over a medium-high flame. Add half the reserved soba water, ground black pepper and grated cheese. Bring to a simmer and cook just long enough to melt the cheese, which will thicken the sauce. Add the drained soba noodles. Cook, stirring, until the noodles are heated through and well coated with sauce and vegetables, for about 1 minute. Add a little more soba water if the pan looks dry or the noodles start to stick. Serve immediately with a grind of black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a spoonful of pea shoot pesto.


p e a    s h o o t    p e s t o

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, pan roasted
  • 3 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

M e t h o d

Place a small skillet on medium high heat and add the pumpkin seeds.  Roast until browned occasionally giving the skills a good shake.

In a food processor or blender, combine pumpkin seeds, pea shoots, parmesan and garlic. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add salt to taste. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and a little water.  Blend until well-combined and you reach your desired thickness.




§ 79 Responses to somen noodles with wild garlic & pea shoot pesto

  • Excellent recipe! I love pea shoots in salads and cooked like this – such a subtle pea flavor. Those ramps look more like wild leeks (Allium tricoccum) rather than what I know as wild garlic (Allium ursinum, more commonly known as ramsons). I wonder if there is a taste difference? Ramsons are very pungent and a little goes a long way.

    • Interesting about the ramps…I was questioning it myself. I bought them at our Asian market and took a double look at the labeling because although I thought wild leeks it was clearly marked wild garlic. These were very mild and I actually used all the amount you see on the chopping block for this recipe and it was not overpowering. I’m thinking you are right…wild leeks. Should I change the post title?

      • I think ramps are also sometimes referred to as wild garlic, so you really don’t need to change the title. I’ve seen ramps referred to as wild garlic in at least one other post recently, but your photo was the best closeup I saw of them and was able to compare with what I have here. I’d love to try ramps and will look in our local Asian markets for them. I wonder what they will call them?

      • I think this ramp is actually garlic chives (from wiki here: Allium tuberosum, commonly known as garlic chives, Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek, also known by the Chinese name kow choi also transliterated as gau choy), the leaf is much narrower than wild leek or garlic, and if you bought them from Asian shop, it must be this one I think. I use it for Chinese dumpling and Korean pancake.
        It is sunny and warm here for a few days, somen sounds like a good choice for dinner!

  • cheri says:

    Soba noodles are my new favorite food, love the flavor and texture. Sounds like you had a wonderful day off accomplishing things. Great dish!

    • Hi Cheri. This was the first time in years I revisited somen noodles. It’s as if I had completely forgot about them. I love them too. Mostly in a soupy broth but this was very nice as well. Thank you!

  • It’s so pretty! I think the enoki mushrooms are cute too :P And I see pumpkin seeds in your pesto!

    • Not only are enoki mushrooms cute…the name is super cute too, right! Yes, pumpkin seeds are my new favorite seed. I love them roasted with a little salt and tossed on top of a salad for lunch!

  • Honestly Seana…one of these days I’m going to show up on your doorstep…suitcase in hand. The meals that you prepare for your guys are fabulous. I know I’m older than you, but would you consider adopting me? To have meals like this every night… I’d feel so spoiled!! I would clean, do laundry, and do the gardening…. just throwing it out there for you to think about… :-)

    • Hahaha…You are so funny! Seriously! I don’t think you are older than me Prudy. I don’t think anyone is older than me! :) You see, if you did come live with me I would stop cooking and have you take over! Now that’s an idea…

  • Nancy says:

    My “last minute” dinners never look this good, Seana! The pea shoot pesto is gorgeous. The dish looks and sounds amazing. :)

    • I bet you have pulled off some pretty amazing “on the fly” meals Nancy. I couldn’t count how many have failed though. Even when I took the photo I still wasn’t sure if I was going to post it. I thought the noodles were going to be too sticky. I was very pleased it turned out so well.

  • Darya says:

    This looks so delicious! Ramps and pea shoots… two things one cannot find here in France, so I can only dream of your beautiful dish (or finds ways of replacing them). Such beautiful pictures too!

    • I am very surprised ramps and pea shoots are not available in France. I think replacing the ramps with thinly sliced spring leeks and using another type pesto would be lovely. Actually, sounds very nice. Thank you Darya. I always love to see your comments here. :)

  • I have never cooked with ramps, but this sounds very interesting. Must have tasted awesome!

  • Amanda says:

    Wow you are an amazing chopper. What gorgeous photos. I know what you mean about “days off” (quotes intended). On my days off I mop the floors, do two loads of laundry, clean the bathroom, etc. This dish is so so beautiful. The mushrooms, noodles, lemon..and RAMPS. I also love peas shoots. The pesto is beautiful. So redolent of spring. I wish I could have some now.

    • Awww. if I only had two loads of laundry a week! :) Actually maybe I should make those guys do their own…right! I’m such a push-over. We always refer to our days off work as days on around here. It’s unbelievable the amount of work we have in progress right now. We are remodeling this old house and we have been in a state of construction for days! Weeks actually! But, it doesn’t take much to convince us to break away and head out for some fun!

      • Amanda says:

        That sounds like a lot of work but it shows you care. At least your laundry is in the house. In nyc we have to trek to the next building. However that wouldn’t fly if/when we have kids.

  • mmmarzipan says:

    Sounds and looks amazing!

  • Pea shoot pesto… Now that sounds like a damn fine idea!!

  • How divine. I’m trying to work out what ramps might be. We probably call them something else over here. They look a little like our garlic chives. Love the look of the pea shoot pesto.

    • I’m not sure other than wild leeks or wild garlic. The leaves are very tender and flat unlike a green onion (scallion) or chive, which are tubular. And the flavor is much more mild than scallions too. I’m wondering if garlic chives are also known as garlic scapes. Argh. So many variations. It’s fun to try to pin it down though.

  • ladyredspecs says:

    Spring on a plate! Not sure if we have ramps or what we call them, is the flavour similar to young leek?

    • I’m wondering if you have ramps available in Oz. I am thinking the flavor is similar to young leek. The green part of the ramps are very tender and edible as well as mild. And honestly, I’m not sure if I have ever had young leeks. Only the larger tougher leeks. Spring on a plate for sure!

      • ladyredspecs says:

        Good ol’ Wikipedia had a photo of a leekish looking plant with a broad flat leafy top, unlike anything I’ve ever seen here, but I think the young garlic shoots we get in spring might be a good substitute

  • Serena says:

    It looks so fresh and compelling! Beautiful!

  • ohlidia says:

    Oh, how fabulous that looks Seana. So fresh! Just my kind of dish.

  • Rörschåch says:

    OMG! I go on walk-about for a few months and now, look at your photos! They were good before, but, youzza, momma, they look stunning. Please send bowl of noodles STAT.

  • Amazing recipe, the very essence of Spring. So fresh and healthful and seems quick and easy too!!

  • Liz says:

    I love how your mind works, Seana! I buy food just because it’s cute, too :-) Looks tasty and colorful and satisfying. Great way to welcome spring. Those ramps are stunning.

    • Cute food is a must! I can’t think of too many things I consider cute other than enoki mushrooms. I mean even the name is cute. Well, baby corn is pretty cute too isn’t it?

  • Michelle says:

    Here’s to accomplishing things at home and spring and ramps and pea shoots! Bravo!

  • Gorgeously fresh and colourful (such a pretty green!) Seana! You’ve embraced spring in this dish for sure! :)

    • I’m beginning to think we are over the hump on spring over here. We had a few 80°F days this week, should start seeing the summer vegetables soon. Thank you! :) Enjoy the weekend.

  • Patty Nguyen says:

    What a great recipe, Seana! So many fresh ingredients and I love the addition of enoki mushrooms. :)

  • Oh my, you sure don’t sit still on your day off! What an original Pesto with those Pumpkin seeds! Perfection, again :-)

  • Luffy Moogan says:

    I’m with basil &butter on this one, second in line for the adoption please. That meal looks so fresh and green that it almost hurts the eyes with gorgeousness!

  • Valerie says:

    That wild garlic is absolutely gorgeous! And I have never met a pea shoot I didn’t like. Our peas here are finally starting to flower and pod up (is that a term?). Thank you for the spring-time inspiration!

    • I’d say pod up is proper english! :) I knew exactly what you meant so it is acceptable. I’m glad you’ll start reaping the rewards of the pea harvest soon, that is a very special time of the year, isn’t it! And hopefully you’ll come across some ramps too! They are so wonderfully mild and delicious.

  • Lovely recipe Seana and the combination of the flavors are so tasty :)

  • Congrats! You have been nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty award
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  • You are such a fantastic cook. This is so appealing. And yes, the enoki are very cute indeed. A little like you.♥

  • Georgina says:

    I adore pea shoots, and am sure that this pesto must have been excellent, especially when used with the other ingredients in this dish. Thanks for sharing.

    • Aren’t pea shoots wonderful! I really love to just toss a handful on top of a salad, and this pesto had a very unique flavor. Very wild tasting…sort of like grass. Gave a feeling you were really eating something organic and nutritious. :)

  • Oh gosh Seana– I want to drop into your farmer’s market. You always have the most beautiful produce– and used it in inventive, delicious ways…

    • This city is full of farmer’s markets and it’s interesting because recently I visited one I hadn’t been to in a few years and there was not one vegetable vendor! I guess this particular market has become more of a flea, artist showcase or food truck market. Thank you for your kind compliment Rhonda. :)

      • Is this all in Seattle? or are you nearby? I’d love to make a trip up there with my Larry and visit all the food places I’ve read about!

  • I was wondering how beautiful and creative are your recipe! The pea pesto sounds amazing, thanks a lot for sharing with us!

  • gwynnem says:

    This looks fantastic. Spring in a bowl!

    • Thank you. Isn’t it nice to be able to enjoy the seasons through food! That’s the beauty of the seasons…we are able to change our diets a little throughout the year….and spring is always a welcome change from stews and warm comforting food. :)

  • I just love that photo of the ramps partially chopped! Oh, and pea shoot pesto sounds fab. I actually managed to find pea shoots recently, in a bag with salad leaves. Very nice.

    • Pea shoots are great little greens aren’t they! I was at the market yesterday and trending these days are micro greens. Are you finding the same? They are grown in little flat containers and the farmers cut them off when you buy them. I didn’t buy any but I tasted the most vibrant magenta amaranth I’ve ever laid eyes on. The pea shoot pesto was great, very earthy and to be honest I prefer either parsley or cilantro in pesto. :)

  • Sophie33 says:

    I made this divine dinner & loved it so much! I used home grown pea shoots that I especially had grown for the shoots! :) It was so delicious, my friend! xxx

  • Jody and Ken says:

    This looks delicious, light, and esthetically pleasing–quite a combo. We’re way beyond ramps here, so a leek will have to do, but I like the whole idea with the enoki mushrooms, which always puzzled me. Great pics. Ken

    • Hi Ken! Thank you so much visiting one of my old posts. I don’t prepare somen noodles nearly enough. I am glad you brought this recipe back to my attention, I think I’ll make something with somen tonight. :)

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