Espagueti verde (or green spaghetti) is a rich, creamy, and slightly spicy Italo-Mexican fusion. While traditionally made with dairy, it's time to twirl your fork in this plant-based version.
Sit back and enjoy the flavors!
If you love Mexican and Italian food (who doesn't), this recipe will satisfy both cravings. It comes together in under an hour and is full of irresistible deliciousness!
What is it?
Espagueti verde (translated to green spaghetti) highlights the influence of Italian food in Mexico.
Typically, this style of Mexican spaghetti is tossed in a roasted poblano sauce. Recipes vary, but you will often find cream cheese, milk, Mexican crema, or butter incorporated to create an ultra-rich and comforting meal.
For a slight change to the usual recipes, we use cashews, lemon juice, and plant milk to emulate a similar consistency (trust us, your guts will thank you).
The exact origins of this creamy green poblano sauce are largely unknown, but we have a bit of background for you.
Although not as large an influence as Spain, Italian dishes did make their way into Mexican cuisine around the late 19th century — including pasta!
The addition of poblano and other non-tomato-based sauces began not too long ago. However, you can now find many different variations of pasta dishes all over Mexico.
The main ingredient in this sauce is chile poblano, which comes from the state of Puebla, Mexico (where the inhabitants are referred to as "Poblanos").
Is it vegan?
As we said above, espagueti verde is not traditionally vegan. But, rest assured that we've adapted our green spaghetti recipe to be 100% plant-based.
Serve this dish right after it's made with your favorite glass of white wine. If you're not a wine drinker, it also goes extremely well with a glass of agua de piña.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: the star of this dish and the main reason for its color — roasted poblano peppers. With a taste similar to green bell peppers (with a spicy kick), poblanos turn slightly sweet when they're cooked.
Health: rich in vitamin C and A, poblano peppers provide our bodies with these powerful antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can lead to disease.
Taste: we use cashews for their slightly sweet, buttery taste, which is the perfect replacement for dairy in this recipe. If you've never tried making a creamy sauce with raw, soaked cashews, your life is about to change.
Health: the rich flavor comes from the unsaturated fat found in this nut. Don't be afraid of fat! This particular type helps lower bad cholesterol, which may lower your risk of heart disease!
Taste: the light, refreshing, and tart flavor of lemon adds a touch of acidity to this dish. We use the combination of sweet, creamy cashews with zesty lemon to emulate the flavor and texture of Mexican crema or cream cheese (both typical ingredients of espagueti verde).
Health: as we know, citrus fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, and lemons are no different. Vitamin C is not only great for reducing the duration of colds, but it's actually been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke!
Taste: to help absorb the creamy and delicious sauce, spaghetti is the perfect base. But, don't feel the need to only use spaghetti in this recipe. It's easy to sub with other varieties like linguine, fettuccine, or gluten-free noodles.
Health: although many people demonize pasta and carbohydrates, there are ways to increase the health benefits. Look for enriched pasta, which means nutrients lost during processing are added back in. Also, measure out your portions to avoid accidentally over-indulging!
If you have questions about this espagueti verde recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: soak your cashews overnight or for at least a few hours. When the cashews are ready, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat your oven. Roast the poblanos until the skins are blackened, making sure to turn the peppers a couple of times throughout.
Step 2: once they are done, transfer the poblanos to a Ziplock bag or bowl with plastic wrap over top to help loosen the skins. Leave them to steam for 8-10 minutes, then peel the skins off. Cut them open, de-seed, and de-vein the peppers (wash your hands well afterward or wear gloves).
Step 3: in the meantime, heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium-low. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Step 4: add the cooked vegetables, drained cashews, plant milk, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt to a blender. Mix everything on high until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add lemon for more tang, cilantro for more herbaceous flavor, etc.
Step 5: bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then cook your pasta according to the package instructions until al dente (ours takes 12 minutes). Save about a half cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and toss it with a little olive oil.
Step 6: add the pasta back to your pot and toss it with the poblano sauce. Season it with more salt & pepper to taste, then serve your delicious Mexican spaghetti with a garnish of cilantro and cotija cheese or queso fresco. Happy eating!
We love making a big batch of espagueti verde at the beginning of the week for great leftovers. Here are the best ways to keep it fresh:
The poblano sauce will store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Once cold, the sauce thickens up a little so you can add water to reach your desired consistency when you reheat it.
Store the noodles separately in the fridge and they will last for up to 4-5 days as well. Or, just quickly boil a fresh pot of pasta when you are ready to eat.
If you want to keep the poblano sauce for a longer time period, ensure it's in a freezer-safe container or bag and it will last up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it again.
When you want to eat your leftovers, just throw the noodles and poblano sauce in a pan and cook on medium-low until warm.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this green spaghetti:
- Peel the poblanos. To eliminate the chewy exterior, peel the poblano chiles after roasting them.
- Soak your cashews. To ensure your sauce is completely smooth, make sure you soak your cashews overnight (especially without a high-speed blender).
- Don't forget the cheese. Using queso fresco or cotija cheese to garnish this pasta makes a huge difference in overall taste.
- Add more spice. If you prefer more heat, try adding a jalapeño or serrano pepper to your poblano sauce.
🍴 Tasting notes
Espagueti verde is one of our favorite comfort foods to eat on both special occasions or during the week. It's:
If you try this green spaghetti recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Large pot
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked ($1.72)
- 4 poblano chiles, roasted ($0.48)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.22)
- ½ small white onion, roughly chopped ($0.24)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped ($0.08)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk ($0.43)
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro ($0.05)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice ($0.27)
- ¾ tsp salt ($0.01)
- Pepper to taste ($0.01)
- 750 g spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc. ($0.53)
- ½ cup cooking water ($0.00)
- Soak your cashews in room temperature water overnight, or for 10-12 hours. If you are short on time, quick-soak them for 2-3 hours in boiling water.
- When the cashews are ready, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat your oven to 425°F. Wash the poblanos, then place them on the foil and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the skins are blackened. Make sure to turn the peppers 1-2 times throughout roasting.
- Once they are done, transfer the poblanos to a Ziplock bag or bowl with plastic wrap overtop to help loosen the skins. Let them steam for 8-10 minutes, then peel the skins off. Open them and de-seed/de-vein the peppers (wash your hands well after handling or wear gloves).
- In the meantime, heat 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low. Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes, then add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add onions, garlic, poblanos, drained cashews, almond milk, fresh cilantro, lemon juice, and salt to a blender. Mix on high until the sauce is fairly smooth. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then cook your pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Save ½ cup of cooking water, then drain the pasta and toss it in about ½ tbsp olive oil.
- Add the pasta water to your blender of sauce and mix it again. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add lemon for more tang, cilantro for more herbaceous flavor, etc.
- The plant milk we prefer for this recipe is almond milk, but you can use your favorite variety.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
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This espagueti verde recipe is not gluten-free. However, it can be easily adapted to be made with your favorite brand of gluten-free noodles.
Instead of cashews, you can use an equal amount of blanched almonds. You won't achieve quite the same texture or taste, but they make a suitable replacement.
Mexican green spaghetti is not a very spicy dish. There is a little heat from the poblano peppers, but we would only consider it a 1-2/10.