Think of this Green Spaghetti as like a spicy poblano alfredo pasta. My friend Sara, a Texas native, taught me how to make this popular Texan dish. It’s comfort food with equal parts creaminess, kick and flavor. Make it in just about a half hour!
One of the best parts about food is getting to taste things you’ve never had before. And until I met my friend Sara in 2010, I had never even heard of Green Spaghetti, let alone tasted it.
For those who haven’t tried this before, to me Green Spaghetti is sort of like a spicy alfredo pasta, but instead of cheese, the main flavors come from roasted poblano chiles and fresh cilantro. The dairy helps soften the heat and spice from the peppers.
I’ve made and tweaked this recipe from time to time ever since Sara taught me to make it, basically anytime I can find some good-looking poblano peppers at the grocery. With that said, know that poblano peppers aren’t always available, and this is an ingredient that can’t really be substituted. I mean sure, you could use other peppers, but the flavor won’t be the same. The poblano peppers have a unique flavor that is essential for this dish, so try to track them down.
Tips for Best Results
Really blacken the heck out of the peppers – You will need to cook the poblano peppers until they’re really blackened and blistered on the outside. You can do this in the oven using the broiler, or on a gas range or grill. This is important for the best flavor and the right texture.
Wear gloves for safety – While not essential, if you’re someone who wears contact lenses, I highly recommend wearing gloves when handling the peppers. Poblanos are shockingly spicy.
Don’t overcook or underseason the noodles – Make sure to keep the spaghetti al dente and not overcook them, and also take the time to salt the pasta water properly so that the noodles are seasoned on the inside.
Step by Step Overview:
To begin our Green Spaghetti, we’ll need to blacken and blister the poblano peppers. You may do this in the oven with the broiler, on a gas stovetop, or outside on a gas grill.
For the oven method, wash four poblano peppers and place them on a sheet pan:
Place them under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning them over at least once during cooking to make sure they’re completely blackened and soft.
By the end, the peppers should be completely collapsed, as you can see when I squish one with my tongs:
If you have a gas grill or stovetop, you can alternatively roast the peppers directly over the flame or on the grates, turning the peppers as they collapse and blister.
Place the charred poblano peppers in a bowl, and cover TIGHTLY with plastic wrap. You really want to trap the steam in, which you can see here:
Peel the blackened skin from the chiles (I recommend wearing disposable gloves – affiliate), and also remove the seeds, stems, and any visible ribs. Be thorough about it, because believe me, even without these parts, the poblanos are spicy. Removing the seeds and any visible ribs really cuts down on the heat.
Place the peeled poblanos in a blender, along with garlic, cream cheese, and chicken stock:
Next add fresh cilantro (I do the stems and leaves), heavy whipping cream, and salt:
Blend it all up until smooth.
Finally, cook some spaghetti in salted water, according to package directions to al dente. This means you cook them until they’re tender but still have a bit of resistance when you bite into them. They shouldn’t be mushy. I also make sure to taste the pasta water before adding the noodles, to make sure the saltiness is right. It should be salty enough that it tastes like ocean water, meaning a little repulsively salty.
Toss the al dente noodles with a few pats of butter:
Then pour the cilantro poblano sauce all over the buttered noodles:
Toss well to combine, and keep in mind that even if it seems like too much liquid at first, the pasta will soak it up as it sits, and the sauce will get thicker.
How to Serve It
Plate and garnish the green spaghetti with extra chopped cilantro on top! I also find that a little bit of crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese can be a really nice touch.
This can definitely be enjoyed on its own, but to round out the meal I like to serve a meat too, like Carnitas, Smoked Pork Butt, or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. There’s something about pork that goes beautifully here.
More Cilantro and Pepper Recipes
I also love little peppers for appetizers, both Stuffed Hot Cherry Pepper Poppers and Stuffed Mini Peppers with goat cheese. Also try making a bowl with Mango Cilantro Coconut Grilled Chicken on top of Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice, and a drizzle of Cilantro Lime Dressing on top.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it, as the texture is inferior due to the dairy, and the “fresh factor” of the cilantro isn’t as good.
This is a recipe that takes well to the microwave. Keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out. Timing will depend on amount, but try about a minute for a one-person serving.
Poblanos are undoubtedly the best and have a unique flavor that can’t really be replaced. But you can try other types of peppers here as well, like green peppers with jalapeños.
- 1 lb poblano peppers (I had 4)
- 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped (I had 2 tbsp)
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 bunch cilantro (weighed 3 oz), plus extra for garnish*
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1/4 cup butter cut into pats (salted butter is slightly better, but unsalted okay too)
- If you have a gas stove or grill, place the poblanos directly over the flame until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, place the peppers on a sheet tray and cook under the broiler in the oven, turning for even blackening. This should also take about 10 minutes, depending on broiler strength (set it to "high"). Note: turn the kitchen fan on. The air will get "spicy" from this process.
- Place the blackened chiles in a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes. The plastic should get steamy.
- Peel the blackened skin off the chiles, and remove the seeds, stems, and any visible ribs. This is important for cutting down on the heat.
- Add the peeled chiles to a blender, along with the garlic, cream cheese, and chicken stock. Blend until smooth.
- Add the cilantro, heavy cream, and 1 tsp of salt, and blend again. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary. Sometimes I add a little more salt. It's important it's well-seasoned.
- Cook the pasta in salted water (it should taste like the ocean) according to package directions until al dente. Drain the noodles and toss with the pats of butter, until the butter has melted and coats the noodles.
- Add the sauce, and toss well. The sauce will thicken slightly as the noodles absorb the liquid. Garnish the green spaghetti with extra cilantro if desired, then serve.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in December 2020. Originally published January 2012.