Alfredo Meet Cauliflower: An Amazing Lighter Sauce

November 24, 2014   13 Comments

You know how pasta and cheese is the ultimate comfort food combination? What if the cheesy part was only 100 calories per cup?

Cauliflower Sauce

My son has an obsession for macaroni and cheese that frightens me. Whenever I ask him, what he wants for dinner he says, “Macaroni and cheese!”.

If we are going out to dinner, his first question is, “Do they serve macaroni and cheese?” He has eaten macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am not kidding.

I don’t think macaroni and cheese is bad for you in moderation, but (as you can tell) my son can’t seem to stop eating it. I have wracked my brain to come up with ways to add vegetables and I include a lighter version in my book.

Now, thanks to a reader who sent me a recipe from Pinch of Yum, I have another solution. This cauliflower sauce reminds me of a creamy Alfredo sauce which usually includes 1 stick butter, 1 cup cream and 2 cups of Parmesan cheese (again, not kidding) but with a fraction of the calories.

The first ingredient is 8 cloves of garlic. Do not be afraid. You cook it to mellow it out and it adds a wonderful flavor.

I did try to puree the cauliflower with an immersion blender but it didn’t work. You need to use a regular blender to puree the cauliflower to the correct consistency. Also, you aren’t using all the liquid that you are cooking with – so the immersion blender isn’t a good choice.

I served this over fettucini (and I added some frozen peas and a little crumbled bacon over the top). My daughter pronounced this as one of my best recipes ever. And my son?

“This is almost as good as macaroni and cheese!”

Have you tried a cauliflower puree instead of a cream sauce? What did you think?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

Makes 5 cups

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8 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium cauliflower, roughly cut into florets
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
ground black pepper (to taste)


In a small pan, melt butter and add garlic. Saute garlic over medium heat until translucent being sure to remove it from the heat before it browns (about five minutes).

Add cauliflower, vegetable broth, and water to a large stockpot and heat until boiling. Simmer about seven minutes until cauliflower is tender.

Remove cauliflower from stockpot with a slotted spoon and measure out 1 ½ cups of the stock and water mixture. Pour out the rest of the liquid from the pot. In a blender puree sautéed garlic, cauliflower, stock/water, and milk (this may take a few batches). Pour sauce back into stockpot and adjust seasonings. Heat until hot and pour over pasta, rice, eggs, and/or vegetables.

Nutrition Facts

For one cup = 95 calories, 5.5 g fat, 5.3 g saturated fat, 9.0 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g sugar, 4.2 g protein, 3.0 g fiber, 427 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes


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I'm confused. What do you do with the sautéed garlic? Do you add it to the blender with the other ingredients?

Instead of dumping out the approximate 2 cups remaining of cooking liquid, could you keep it to use as a soup base? Hate to waste :)

@Beth - I fixed the recipe above to reflect that you puree the cooked garlic with the cauliflower in the blender. I was too much in a rush and didn't check my work (something I am trying to teach my daughter). Thank you!

@Colleen - it would make excellent soup stock. Great idea!

I wonder if you decrease the broth and water by 1/2 you wouldn't have to get rid of the left over broth; and still have flavor. I like the idea of using cauliflower I use it in mashed potatoes as well.

I make a recipe as well and it doesn't use that much stock so you don't have to take any out. I would start with 2 cups stock to cook the cauliflower then add stock to thin out sauce to you desire thickness.

This sounds delicious and EASY! My two favorite components. Love your pretty pot too. Recently my 34 son flew home for TG arriving at midnight to a fav comfort dish, tuna casserole. It was a total redux, having been tweaked over the years to be healthier, non-dairy, etc. He gave this mom-approved response, "wow!" Now, I can't wait to try your Mac N Cheese Redux! I will add some frozen broccoli fleurettes for color. Thanks, Lisa!

Wow, thanks for this great recipe. Can't wait to try it! I've been looking for alternative sauces for pasta as tomato tends to give me serious reflux. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Great idea! And this would be easy to "veganize." Wishing Snack Girl and all of her readers a very happy Thanksgiving!

Trim Healthy Mama plan/recipes will change your life. Try out "macafoni and cheese" - or the cauliflower pizza crust. I'm down over 20 lbs! Freedom!

If your kids think that "mac and cheese" needs to be yellow or orange, use butternut squash in place of the cauliflower - delicious.

That is a pretty delicious sounding sauce.

Good buy with the WW points - 1 cup - 2 pts!

I just made this sauce for dinner tonight. It's completely delicious! It smelled wonderful while it was cooking, went together fast, and tasted amazing. This is definitely going to be a permanent addition to my dinner rotation.

Thank you for all the great ideas and recipes!

I love cauliflower and often make mashed cauli in lieu of mashed potatoes. I like the idea of using it sauces too.

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