Spaghetti with fresh herbs

Low G.I. recipe for endurance training

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. In Italy, pasta with fresh herbs is cooked as a staple dish, rather like beans on toast in Britain! Not only is this one of the quickest dishes to make, it is great food for endurance: high in low G.I. carbohydrate, light on the stomach, plenty of vitamins from the herbs and garlic, plus a little protein from the cheese. Anchovies are really high in sodium, so adding these is a really good way of naturally increasing salt intake after a hot and sweaty workout. Good herbs to use are flat-leaf parsley, basil, chives, mint, marjoram, oregano ... whatever you can lay your hands on.

For this recipe a good portion size is 100g of spaghetti per person, 125g for the larger appetite.


1. Bring a large pan of water to boil. Add some salt and then the spaghetti and cook according to pack instructions.

2. Sweat the garlic in the olive oil over a low heat, add the chili, lemon zest, anchovies and herbs and soften slightly.

3. Drain the spaghetti when it is cooked, reserving some of the cooking liquid to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Add the spaghetti to the herby sauce and toss well to combine. If you are not using anchovies, you may need to add some salt at this stage.

4. Serve with some parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. A fresh tomato and basil salad goes really well with this dish as an accompaniment.


  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 50-75g chopped herbs (2-3 handfuls)
  • ½ tsp dried chilli or small red chilli
  • 2 canned anchovy fillets, chopped small (optional)
  • Grated lemon zest
  • 200-250g spaghetti (fresh, dried, standard or whole wheat)
  • Parmesan cheese to serve

Vital Statistics

Serves: 2
Preparation: 2 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Good for: Endurance training or pre-race meal

Calories (kcal): 315.9
Protein (g): 8.7
Carbs (g): 33.2
Fat (g): 17
Fiber (g): 1.8

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