Mexican Green Spaghetti, known to the locals as Espagueti Verde, is a comforting pasta dish with a creamy roasted poblano sauce.
With a herbaceous freshness from cilantro, this mild yet flavorful spaghetti is a great option when you’re looking for a unique pasta dinner.
Pasta isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Mexican cuisine, but there a few hidden gems out there.
Sopa de Fideo is one that we cooked recently, and we liked it so much that we decided to look for more!
Why the Recipe Works
- Bold and Balanced Flavors: The combination of poblano peppers and jalapeños creates a sauce that’s rich in flavor, offering a mild to medium heat that’s beautifully balanced with the creamy texture from the cream cheese and Mexican crema. The garlic and onion provide a savory depth, while cilantro adds a fresh, herbaceous note.
- Versatility in Heat: The recipe allows for adjustments in spiciness. By adding or removing the seeds from the jalapeños, you can tailor the heat level to your preference, making it suitable for a wide range of palates.
- Ease of Preparation: Despite its impressive flavors, this dish is relatively simple to prepare. The process is quick and straightforward, making it a great weeknight dinner option.
- Culinary Fusion: This dish is a wonderful example of culinary fusion, blending traditional Mexican flavors with pasta, a staple of Italian cuisine.
- Appeal to a Wide Audience: Espagueti Verde is likely to be a hit with both kids and adults, thanks to its creamy texture and customizable spice level. It’s a great way to introduce more diverse flavors into regular meal rotations.
So What is Green Spaghetti?
Green Spaghetti, or Espagueti Verde in Spanish, is a delightful Mexican pasta dish renowned for its unique and vibrant green sauce.
The sauce, which is the star of the dish, gets its striking color primarily from poblano peppers, known for their mild but distinct flavor.
These peppers are typically roasted to enhance their taste and then blended with ingredients like cream cheese, Mexican crema or sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and onions.
This combination creates a creamy, rich, and flavorful sauce, which can almost be considered a Mexican twist on pesto.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Poblano Peppers – These are essential for the authentic flavor and color of the dish. If you cannot find poblanos, you could use green bell peppers for a milder taste, or a combination of bell peppers and a small amount of a spicier green chili for some heat.
- Cream Cheese and Mexican Crema – These ingredients contribute to the creaminess of the sauce. If Mexican crema is unavailable, a good substitute is sour cream or a mixture of heavy cream with a little lime juice. For a lighter version, Greek yogurt can replace cream cheese, though this will alter the taste slightly.
- Cilantro – This herb adds a fresh, vibrant flavor. If you’re not a fan of cilantro or if it’s unavailable, you could use parsley for a different but still fresh taste.
- Chicken Broth – Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for a vegetarian version of the dish.
- Jalapeños – These are optional and depend on your heat preference. You can omit them for a milder sauce or add more for extra spiciness. Other green chilies like serrano can also be used as a substitute.
- Garlic and Onions: These are pretty standard in the recipe, but if you’re looking to change the flavor profile slightly, shallots can be a good substitute for onions.
- Butter – If you prefer a different fat, olive oil can be a good substitute for butter when cooking the sauce.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water (approximately 1 tsp salt per quart of water) to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
2. Roast the poblano peppers: Place peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes per side, depending o the strength of your broiler.
3. Blend the sauce: Peel the skin off of the chilis and remove seeds and stems. Transfer to a blender along with cream cheese, crema, garlic, cilantro, chicken broth, onion and jalapeno. Blend to a smooth consistency.
4. Cook the sauce: Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat (for easier cleanup, use the same pot you cooked the spaghetti in). Add in creamy sauce and bring to a low simmer.
5. Finish the dish: Add in cooked spaghetti. Toss until well combined. If you desire a little thinner sauce consistency, add a little reserved pasta water.
- Protein-Enhanced: For a heartier meal, try adding cooked chicken or shrimp to the spaghetti. These proteins complement the creamy sauce and add a new dimension to the dish.
- Add Veggies: Add in vegetables like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini. These veggies not only add nutrition but also interesting textures.
- Cheese Variations: While cream cheese and Mexican crema are traditional, you can experiment with other cheeses. Incorporating grated Parmesan or a sprinkle of Cotija cheese on top before serving can add a nice flavor.
- Spice Level Adjustments: Adjust the spiciness to suit your taste. Increase the heat with extra jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce, or make it milder by removing the seeds from the peppers and using fewer jalapeños.
Storage and Reheating
You can refrigerate leftover green spaghetti in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave, or on stovetop over medium heat. The pasta will have absorbed some of the sauce, so add a little water or olive oil to loosen things up.
We do not recommend freezing this dish.
Tips and Tricks
- Roasting the Peppers: Properly roasting the poblano peppers is key. You want to get a good char on them as it adds depth of flavor and makes the skin easier to peel off. You can roast them in the oven under a broiler, directly over a gas flame, or on a grill. Once charred, placing them in a covered bowl or a plastic bag for a few minutes helps steam the skin off.
- Sauce Consistency: The consistency of the sauce should be creamy but not overly thick. If the sauce is too thick after blending, you can thin it with a bit of the pasta cooking water. This water is starchy and helps the sauce adhere to the pasta better.
- Pasta Cooking: Cook your spaghetti to al dente according to package instructions. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and won’t hold up well against the creamy sauce. Also, reserve some pasta water before draining, as it’s useful for adjusting the sauce consistency.
- Balancing Flavors: Taste your sauce as you go. Adjust the seasonings, including salt and pepper, to ensure a well-balanced flavor. The right amount of seasoning brings out the best in the poblano and cilantro.
- Serving Suggestions: Serve the Espagueti Verde hot, as it tends to thicken when it cools. Garnishing with extra chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, or a sprinkle of cheese can add fresh and vibrant notes to the dish.
Make this green spaghetti for your next pasta night. It’s a unique twist that will bring smiles to the whole table.
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For more easy weeknight dinners, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…
Espagueti Verde, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 12oz dry spaghetti
- 4 poblano peppers (about 1 pound)
- 2oz cream cheese
- 1 cup Mexican crema (see note 1)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 jalapenos (see note 2)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Bring a large pot or dutch oven of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to directions to al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the poblano peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and broil on high heat until they develop a nice char, about 5 minutes per side. Remove peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling wrap for 5-10 minutes.
- Peel the skin off of the chilis and remove seeds and stems. Transfer to a blender along with cream cheese, crema, garlic, cilantro, chicken broth, onion and jalapeno. Blend to a smooth consistency.
- Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat (for easier cleanup, use the same pot you cooked the spaghetti in). Add in creamy pepper sauce and bring to a low simmer.
- Add in cooked spaghetti. Toss until well combined. If you desire a thinner sauce consistency, add a little reserved pasta water.
- Serve immediately.
- Where we live, crema is pretty easy to find in the supermarket produce aisle. If you can't find it, replace with ¾ cup sour cream and a little extra pasta water.
- For a milder green spaghetti, remove the seeds. For spicier, leave them in.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or on stovetop over medium heat. Add a little water if the pasta has thickened up too much.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 400Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 54mgSodium 353mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 10g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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