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Green Noodles

Green Noodles - quick, healthy, delicious pasta with spinach and herbs

Flowers would look beautiful in front of my house, but since I am extremely pragmatic, I am using that space for herbs. (Curb appeal? What’s that? At least it’s not weeds.) I have basil, oregano, mint, and parsley in the little flower bed area by my front door. Just a few dollars spent in the spring, and I get fresh herbs until the following winter.

One of my favorite uses for fresh herbs is “green noodles.” The name is not glamorous, but neither are toddlers, so that is what we call it in our house. I make green noodles at least every few weeks, which is quite frequent for me. My kids (5, 3, and 1) love it, and so do I. It is quick and easy. They are not fans of the leafy texture of spinach, so this is an easy vehicle for spinach that they actually like. (However, they are not picky eaters, so I make no promises for you.) I make it with whatever I have on hand — it is never the same twice. I do use dried herbs in the winter when my plants are dead, and this “recipe” still turns out just fine. I just prefer the taste of fresh herbs.

Disclaimer: If you need specific measurements and precise instructions or are extremely Type A, you may want to leave now to preserve your sanity.


Seriously, I use whatever I have on hand. It is usually some combination of these things, and it is never measured.

  • 1 lb pasta (or more… or less) — we have also used egg noodles.
  • Several handfuls of fresh spinach, preferably lightly steamed (I like to pack it into my little microwave steamer, steam for 1 or 2 minutes, and then just rinse out the steamer after removing the spinach. One less dish to wash. Did I say that out loud?)
  • Handful of fresh basil (or about 1/2 – 1 tsp dried basil)
  • Maybe about 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (stripped from the stem) (or about 1/4 tsp dried oregano)
  • Handful of fresh parsley (or about 1 tsp dried parsley)
  • Sprinkle of smoky paprika
  • Tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper (this does not make it spicy; it just adds flavor)
  • Maybe 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • Maybe 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic — you can also use a sprinkle of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic
  • 1-2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Blob of plain yogurt (Greek or regular) OR about 1/4 cup pasta water (the water you drain out after cooking the pasta)
  • About 2-4 Tbs parmesan cheese


This recipe is similar to the avocado pasta recipe I posted a while back, but this is more of a pesto than a sauce and is a little quicker to make.

  1. Boil pasta according to the package directions. While it is heating and cooking, you can assemble the pesto.
  2. Toss the remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor. (If you are using pasta water, you can blend everything else, and then blend again whenever the pasta is done and you get some of the pasta water.)
  3. Taste and add spices as needed. Also add additional liquid or yogurt as needed to thin it out to your desired texture. Remember – this is supposed to flavor the entire batch of noodles, so you want the flavor of the sauce to be a bit stronger than you might want just to eat by itself.
  4. Stir the pesto into the pasta.

After you have made it a few times, you may learn your favorite ratios and be able to toss it together quickly and with little thought (which is a win in my book). I’d love to hear your favorite way to make it!

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