Pesto is an insanely flexible and delicious condiment. I’ve tweaked the traditional Italian recipe before, but this miso pesto with ramen opened up a whole new world for me. Pesto is traditionally made of pine nuts, Parmesan, basil, olive oil, and garlic in the Liguria region of Italy. In this recipe, I add in four cups of spinach, two cups of cilantro, and some delicate white miso for an intensely vibrant, smooth pesto that coats each strand of ramen. It’s a dinner that feels like comfort food while still being nourishing and fresh.
You start by puréeing spinach, cilantro, white miso, garlic, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, and lemon juice in a blender until mixture is smooth and very green. Pesto is traditionally made in a food processor and tends to be speckly, but I used a blender to make a velvety, smooth sauce that would really coat the noodles. I also used a neutral oil, which really lets the greens, miso, and garlic shine. The spinach emulsifies with the cilantro and oil to create an incredibly silky sauce that drapes over the pasta.
I knew I wanted to keep the noodles simple because the sauce is so great. You can find fresh ramen noodles at Asian grocery stores and some Whole Foods—we like the Sun Noodle brand. If fresh ramen isn’t available, udon and soba noodles will work just fine. Once cooked, I tossed these noodles with the pesto in a bowl off heat, to keep the pesto from discoloring or cooking. It gets warmed through by the residual heat of the noodles, and that’s better for the miso, too. Add in a nob of butter for that velvety texture, toss until coated, and top with fresh sesame seeds. It’s really fast and really green—and really delicious.
Pesto and pasta are a match made in heaven, but this pesto is equally dreamy when spread onto sandwiches or drizzled over roasted vegetables and whole grains. Use it right away, or pop it in the freezer to instantly upgrade anything in need of a vegetal, umami punch.