Let’s make an easy and delicious Peri Peri Spaghetti. You can add a spicy chilli kick to any meal with this incredible homemade Nando’s Peri Peri sauce recipe.
Recreate the flavours of Nando’s at home with this delicious copycat Peri Peri Sauce recipe.
Stir the herby, lemony chilli sauce into cooked spaghetti for a dish you will not be able to stop eating.
Feel free to adjust the proportion of chillies to suit your preferred level of heat. If you’re familiar with Nando’s, this is a ‘Medium’ on their scale and tastes similar to the garlic sauce.
What is Peri Peri Sauce?
Peri peri sauce is a popular condiment that originated in Africa. It’s popular in Mozambique and South Africa, but today, many African countries have their unique versions of peri peri sauce.
I grew up eating Kenyan pili pili sauce, which is a regional adaptation of the sauce. It’s is similar to poussin sauce, a French-influenced African sauce that’s typically eaten with chicken.
Peri Peri Sauce is made from a blend of chilli peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and other herbs and spices.
What does Peri Peri Sauce taste like?
Peri peri sauce has a tangy, spicy and slightly smoky flavour.
It can have a moderate heat level, or be mild or very spicy. It all depends on how many chillies you want to use.
This recipe for Peri Peri Spaghetti is moderately spicy, much like a Nando’s medium.
Use the sauce on a variety of dishes, including pasta, vegetables, sandwiches, wraps, pizza and chicken or fish if you eat meat.
It’s also a popular dipping sauce for chips (fries). I love adding a dash of Peri Peri sauce to my marinades and ramen.
Ingredients for Peri Peri Sauce
- Thin red chillies: any small hot chillies like Bird’s Eye chillies
- Red bell pepper (capsicum): Pepper adds sweet fruitiness and gives the sauce a nice colour
- Sweet paprika: Another ingredient to impart red colour. If this is unavailable use equal parts smoked paprika and mild chilli powder
- Garlic: You’ll need lots of fresh garlic cloves for this recipe
- Lemons: This Peri Peri sauce is very heavy on the lemon which adds an amazing tang alongside the hot chillies. You’ll need both zest and juice. Don’t skip them.
- Any neutral oil: Such as rapeseed, sunflower or vegetable oil. Alternatively use a very mild olive oil.
- Distilled white vinegar: Or apple cider vinegar
- Handful of fresh parsley: Leaves and tender parts only
- Italian seasoning: Not typical but contains all the best dried herbs
- Dried oregano: Adds a delicious herbal flavour
- Any thin pasta like spaghetti or spaghettini
- Additional parsley and cheese is optional to scatter on top of the pasta
Origins of Peri Peri Sauce
The Portuguese introduced chilli peppers to Mozambique in the 16th century, and the pepper quickly became a popular ingredient in Mozambican cuisine.
Peri peri sauce was originally used as a marinade for grilled chicken, but it is now used on a variety of dishes.
The rise of Peri Peri sauce as a table condiment
Peri peri sauce has become increasingly popular in the past 20 years.
With Nando’s restaurant popping up in the UK, Peri Peri Sauce is not only a staple when eating out, it can also be bought as a condiment in the supermarket.
Main flavours of Peri Peri Sauce
Peri peri sauce has a complex flavour that is a blend of chilli peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and other spices.
Dried herbs are also a common addition. In my recipe I like to add a blend of fresh and dried herbs.
Italian seasoning isn’t usually in the recipe but I think it adds a delicious combination of herby flavour.
Vegetarian Serving Suggestions for Peri Peri Sauce
Peri Peri sauce is such a versatile condiment and it isn’t just for chicken. Here are some of my favourite veggie things to slather in my homemade Peri Peri Sauce:
- Grilled vegetables: Toss grilled vegetables, such as courgette, aubergine, and peppers, in peri peri sauce for a punchy and healthy side dish.
- Tofu scramble: Add peri peri sauce to a tofu scramble for a spicy and satisfying breakfast.
- Lentil soup: Stir a dollop of peri peri sauce into lentil soup for a warming meal.
- Veggie burgers and kebabs: Brush veggie burgers with peri peri sauce before grilling for added juiciness
- Pizza and garlic bread: Drizzle peri peri sauce over pizza or garlic bread. It also makes for a wicked crust dip.
- Pasta: If you like your pasta to pack a punch, try tossing cooked spaghetti or any other pasta shape like I’ve done here. Not only is it great hot with a grating of cheese, but it’s also an awesome dressing for cold pasta salads. That’s lunch sorted.
- Peri Peri Mayo: Stir into your favourite mayonnaise
Is Peri Peri sauce vegan?
This recipe for homemade Peri Peri Sauce is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Can I use any pasta for this recipe?
Feel free to use any pasta shape for this Peri Peri Spaghetti. I prefer something delicate since it’s a very light and smooth sauce.
The sauce should just cling to the pasta rather than filling any craters. For example, you don’t want a sneaky pool of very hot sauce hiding in the crevices of shells.
Why save the pasta water?
We will boil the pasta until it’s 70% cooked and then drain, reserving some of the starchy cooking water.
The pasta will then finish cooking in the sauce, along with the starchy water which will thicken and create a lovely glossy sauce. This will only take a few minutes.
Peri Peri Spaghetti recipe | How to make Nando’s style peri peri sauce with spaghetti
For the Peri Peri Sauce
- 5-6 thin red chillies, stems removed
- 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 15 large cloves garlic, peeled
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- Juice of 4 large lemons
- 125ml neutral oil such as rapeseed, sunflower or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Handful of fresh parsley
For the spaghetti
- 500g your favourite thin pasta like spaghetti or spaghettini
- As much fresh parsley as you like, to garnish (optional)
- As much cheese as you like, to garnish (optional)
- Place all the ingredients for the sauce (except the parsley, oregano and Italian seasoning) in the jar of a high-powered blender. Whizz until very smooth and emulsified, about 2 minutes.
- Add the parsley, oregano and Italian seasoning. Blend once more, this time for 5 seconds only to incorporate the herbs. Blending too much will make the sauce turn brown.
- Cook the pasta for 4 minutes less than the packet directions (lightly salt the water). Reserve some of the cooking water, about 300ml and drain the rest.
- Return the pasta to the pot and add all of the Peri Peri sauce. Stir well, over a medium heat. Add as much of the pasta cooking water you need to thin the sauce out and coat the pasta. Finish cooking the pasta through for the final few minutes. I added all 300ml pasta water but you may need less.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated cheese (if using).
- For a very mild sauce, use three chillies or fewer. For kids, omit the chillies completely.
- If you'd like a very hot peri peri sauce, increase the number of chillies to 10. That's about the limit of my heat tolerance.
- Since this is a fresh sauce, it will keep well in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's best to use it soon after making.
- The shelf life of shop-bought hot sauces are much longer than this fresh version since they're processed, heat treated and contain preservatives.
If you like this, you’ll love my recipe for Veggie Lasagne
With love and Peri Peri Spaghetti,