Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

This creamy cauliflower sauce is a like a healthy alfredo sauce using cauliflower as a base. It has less calories and all the benefits of this healthy veggie!

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Ever wanted a healthy version of a white pasta cheese sauce? Meet the answer: creamy cauliflower sauce! Alex and I just added this to our repertoire, and it was a big hit (and our kid couldn’t get enough). Why make sauce with cauliflower? This sauce is like a healthy alfredo sauce, but unlike the traditional version, you’ll feel light and vibrant afterwards! The standard cheesy pasta often feels too rich and I end up with an upset stomach. This cauliflower sauce is much lighter. Even better, you get all the nutritional benefits of cauliflower.

Looking for a plant-based or vegan cauliflower sauce? Go to Vegan Alfredo Sauce.

Creamy cauliflower sauce

What’s in this cauliflower sauce?

Now, there are lots of variations on creamy cauliflower sauce! Some recipes are vegan or dairy free, but many use milk and cheese too. This version has dairy, so it’s not fully plant-based. If you’d like a vegan version, go to Vegan Alfredo Sauce instead! This one is a lightened up version of alfredo sauce using mostly cauliflower to cut down on richness, but it still has the traditional Parmesan cheese. Here are the ingredients in this cauliflower sauce:

  • Cauliflower: it’s sauteed, then cooked in veggie broth
  • Garlic: Both fresh and a little powder, to get that classic flavor!
  • Butter or olive oil: for sauteing the cauliflower
  • Veggie broth: most recipes call for milk, but this uses broth to keep it lighter
  • Parmesan cheese: just 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese brings big flavor
  • Oregano & salt: to round out the flavor!

When you try this sauce, you’ll be surprised how savory and delicious it tastes!

Blender with sauce

What does the Parmesan do?

If you’re wondering: the Parmesan cheese adds some necessary richness to this creamy cauliflower sauce. This helps it to coat the pasta! Using only cauliflower makes for a watery texture, and it doesn’t cling to the noodles correctly. If you’d rather omit the cheese, go to our Vegan Alfredo Sauce instead.

Cauliflower nutrition

Making a cauliflower sauce instead of alfredo doesn’t just cut down on calories: it adds lots of nutrients too! You get all the nutrient-density of 1 head of cauliflower in this sauce. Here’s a breakdown of cauliflower nutrition (source Harvard Medical School):

  • 1 cup of chopped cauliflower has only 25 calories and 5 grams carbs
  • It’s a great source of Vitamin C!
  • Cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin B and potassium.
  • Cauliflower is high in fiber (1 cup has about 10% of your daily needs).

Important: cook your pasta to al dente! (Please.)

When you add this cauliflower sauce to your pasta, you’ll notice it will be slightly looser than the standard pasta sauce. For this reason, you should make sure you cook your pasta perfectly to al dente! Mushy pasta with a loose sauce is not so appetizing! Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Check the package instructions, then start tasting a few minutes before. The timing listed on many packages results in rubbery pasta.
  • Catch the pasta right when it goes from crunchy to tender. It should still be slightly firm inside–but not crunchy! When it’s just tender enough but still firm, drain it immediately! Even a few seconds can be the difference between mushy and al dente pasta.
Cauliflower sauce on pasta

How to serve cauliflower sauce

Great question! You don’t have to only serve cauliflower sauce with pasta. Here a few other ideas for serving it:

Is there a vegan variation?

There is! Our Vegan Alfredo Sauce uses cauliflower and blended cashews to make a luscious, creamy sauce. Head to that link for the recipe!

This cauliflower sauce recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, to go Vegan Alfredo.

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Creamy cauliflower sauce

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (23 votes, average: 4.52 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups (8 servings, enough for 1 pound pasta) 1x

Description

This creamy cauliflower sauce is a like a healthy alfredo sauce using cauliflower as a base. It has less calories and all the benefits of this healthy veggie!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 small head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), enough for 6 cups florets
  • 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic. Chop the cauliflower.
  2. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and saute for 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, garlic powder, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes on medium high heat until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Carefully transfer the contents to a blender and blend on high until a smooth sauce forms. Add the Parmesan cheese and additional 1/2 teaspoon salt, and blend again. Taste: if you’d like more cheese you can add a little more, but we like adding a little extra Parmesan to the pasta when we stir in the sauce. Serve immediately with 1 pound pasta. (You can also refrigerate for up to 1 week: warm on the stovetop before serving.)

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cauliflower Sauce, Healthy Alfredo Sauce

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    March 31, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    This looks so good! Is it good on other things too?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 31, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      Yes, it’s a delicious sauce on anything! Stays for a few days in the refrigerator.

  • Reply
    Ashley Harris
    June 13, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Do you jar this and save it too??

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      June 15, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      You can store it refrigerated for up to 1 week! We updated the recipe accordingly.

  • Reply
    Kerrie
    August 19, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Can you sub the Parmesan with nutritional yeast ?

  • Reply
    Laura
    August 25, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Can you freeze this sauce?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      Yes! It freezes well.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.