PERUVIAN TALLARIN VERDE – Perfect with Bistec, Fish or Breaded Chicken

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Peruvian food has emerged as one of the hottest food trends for the U.S., especially here in Los Angeles. While searching for a Peruvian recipe that we could make in our own kitchen, we stumbled upon the Tallarin Verde. Interesting to note the Italian immigrant influence of pesto to Peru.


The creamy pesto sauce made with fresh spinach and basil add a vibrant hue of green to the pasta. Kick-in the garlic, red onions, and jalapeño and presto, you’ve got a sauce that is layered in flavors and spice. Traditionally, Tallarin Verde is served alongside grilled flank steak or breaded chicken (milanesa), which works great for a weeknight dinner. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, serve the tallarin verde with filet mignon, or buttery poached lobster tail for something more upscale. 


Swap out the noodles with whole wheat noodles or even zoodles made with zucchini. Replace the parmesan cheese with low fat parmesan and be sure to keep the cut of meat lean or serve with grilled salmon. We love the versatility of the Tallarin Verde. 

Yield: 8 servings

Tallarin Verde



  • 1 (16 oz) package spaghetti
  • salt to season


  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded plus some for garnishing
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and trimmed
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of ½ a large lime
  • ½ cup evaporated milk

Everything else

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced


    1. Fill a large pot with water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside, but keep 1 cup of the pasta water.
    2. Combine the sauce ingredients and 1 cup reserved pasta water in a blender.  Puree until you get a smooth sauce. 
    3. Place a large, deep sauce pan over medium heat and add oil and onions and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning.
    4. Pour in pureed tallarin sauce and cook until combined, 4-5 minutes.
    5. Add the pasta, toss with tongs to fully coat the pasta then turn off the heat.
    6. Garnish with more crumbled queso fresco or Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.


Optional toppings: toasted pine nuts, blistered tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grilled vegetables, like asparagus or zucchini. Proteins like rotisserie chicken, grilled steaks or seafood.

Make the sauce ahead of time (substituting water or broth for the pasta water) and refrigerate up to 3 days.  Use it to top anything from steak to fish to oven baked home fries.  It’s also great on a ham and cheese sandwich, or swirled through plain hummus.


We have a few favorite spots, including: 

Mancora Peruvian Restaurant at 240 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

Don Felix Restaurant at 305 Vigil Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Rosaline at 8479 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069

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