Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (Dairy-free, Nut-free)

This creamy Alfredo sauce is deceptively healthy.


In lieu of the heavy cream, butter and cheese found in traditional Alfredo sauce, this particular version gets its creamy texture from pureed cauliflower! Cauliflower is the ultimate “chameleon” of vegetables–> it can easily transform into rice, pizza crust or a creamy sauce, like this one.

You may recall that I’ve tried making this type of sauce on a number of occasions in the past, but it always tasted a little too “healthy” for my standards. As most of you know, I like my healthy food to taste as close to the original version as possible, so I can serve it to my family and friends without getting any weird looks! If it doesn’t taste good, no one will want to eat it… not even me.

I think the key to this sauce is slightly over-cooking the cauliflower, so that it’s very soft and easily blended. In situations like this, I’m not concerned with losing a few nutrients by over-cooking, because the true benefit of eating this sauce is that it’s replacing something that could be harmful to the body. By avoiding the heavy cream, butter and cheese found in traditional Fettuccine Alfredo, you’ll be doing your body a huge favor every time you choose this sauce, instead!

Your taste buds will be pretty happy, too.

This low-fat creamy sauce is dairy-free and nut-free, making it the perfect topping for your favorite pasta or vegetables. I could see it being delicious in a homemade lasagna, or even over a white pizza, too! The options are endless.

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo
makes 2 cups

Adapted from Pinch of Yum


1 teaspoon coconut oil, or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cauliflower florets
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt, or more to taste
black pepper, to taste


Saute the minced garlic in the coconut oil or butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is tender and fragrant, but not browned. Add the 1 cup of water to the saucepan, along with the cauliflower, and bring the water to a boil. (The water will not cover the cauliflower, and that’s okay.) Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft.

Transfer the entire contents of the saucepan into a blender or food processor, and season with salt and pepper. Process until very smooth and creamy, with a texture similar to traditional cream sauce. (Always be careful when blending hot liquids– the steam pressure can blow the lid off your blender!) Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve hot. SONY DSC

Note: Keep in mind that this sauce will need additional salt if served over plain pasta or steamed vegetables, as the flavor will get diluted. If you plan on adding another salt source, such as Parmesan cheese, the additional salt may not be necessary.

4.9 from 35 reviews
Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (Dairy-free, Nut-free)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
A creamy, dairy-free sauce that's perfect over noodles or vegetables!
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon fine Himalayan salt, or more to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Saute the minced garlic in the coconut oil or butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is tender and fragrant, but not browned.
  2. Add the 1 cup of water to the saucepan, along with the cauliflower, and bring the water to a boil. (The water will not cover the cauliflower, and that's okay.) Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft.
  3. Transfer the entire contents of the saucepan into a blender or food processor, and season with salt and pepper. Process until very smooth and creamy, with a texture similar to traditional cream sauce. (Always be careful when blending hot liquids-- the steam pressure can blow the lid off your blender!)
  4. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve hot.
Keep in mind that this sauce will need additional salt if served over plain pasta or steamed vegetables, as the flavor will get diluted. If you plan on adding another salt source, such as Parmesan cheese, the additional salt may not be necessary.

This sauce is delicious on its own, but it can be extra-tasty with a few add-ins. A few ideas are listed below, but feel free to get creative!

Optional Add-Ins:

  • A generous topping of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, for an authentic-tasting Alfredo sauce.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach.
  • Sauteed mushrooms and roasted broccoli.
  • Nutritional yeast, for a dairy-free “cheesy” flavor.


Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of creamy Alfredo sauce?



  1. says

    oh my god this looks so good i think i’m going to drawn my keyboard in my own drool!!! gotta try this asap – possibly next weekend, thanks so much for your inspirational and extremely tempting recipes.

  2. Kristina says

    Looks amazing, and want to Pin it but don’t see a Pinterest button, wonder if I’m overlooking it?

    • Megan says

      Thanks, Kristina! The “Pin It” button is always located directly under the “Reader Feedback” section, right at the bottom of the post.

    • Megan says

      When we want traditional pasta, we’ll go for spelt noodles, since they have a lower gluten content and seem to digest well. Brown rice pasta would probably be a good gluten-free option, too. We’ve also tried this with spaghetti squash and sauteed zucchini “noodles” and both versions were tasty, if you want a totally grain-free option!

      • Gina Marie says

        This looks so good. Can’t wait to try it. I love Bionature Organic Gluten Free penne. Tastes amazing and on amazon

  3. Fit n Fifty says

    Megan – I cannot wait to try this. Craving some comfort food. What kind of noodles are you serving this with?

    • Megan says

      I used some spelt fettuccine noodles for the photos, but my husband usually prefers spelt angel hair pasta on non-photo days. :) For a grain-free option, you could use spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini noodles!

    • Marie says

      …and multiple other food bloggers have posted a version of it as well. Katie adapted it from somewhere, but never gave credit. At least Megan did.

  4. TeaJae says

    Wonderful if you only knew Megan how much I LOVE Alfredo Sauce I’ve always wanted an alternative that was yummy, will be trying this. Cauliflower what a sneaky little secret.

  5. Patricia says

    I tried this with quinoa spaghetti. I added in some sauteed mushrooms – a delicious addition. I also splashed in some coconut milk for extra creaminess.

  6. Lorrie says

    Thank you! I made this last night with with spaghetti squash. It was yummy! I can finally eat Alfredo sauce.

  7. Nancy M. says

    We made this sauce for dinner last night. It’s amazing! My family had no idea they were eating cauliflower. Thanks!

  8. Julie says

    Another favorite. I was skeptical at first. I couldn’t see how those ingredients would transpire into alfredo. WOW! I was wrong. This is a must try recipe.

  9. Julie says

    And also, I used rutabaga for the noodles. I used my paderno spiral slicer to it into “noodles”. Then I cooked my rutabaga noodles with 2 Tbsp of butter until they were soft. EXCELLENT!!!

  10. Priscilla says

    I made this for my boys and they loved it! I added wild caught shrimp sateed in ghee, lemon, and garlic and topped this over my quinoa pasta, it was delicious! My son is on a gf cf diet and he usually won’t eat cauliflower but he ate every bite.

  11. marlies says

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I just wanted to spoon it into my mouth instead of adding it to anything haha :) I added nutritional yeast and also some yellow miso paste and loved it

  12. Rebecca Greenlaw says

    holy wicked! Alfredo is my favorite sauce… Have not had it in 3 years because I have totally changed my diet. so when I saw this, I had to try it! I made it tonight and had my aunt & uncle over.. They absolutely loved it! And so did I! finally! And Alfredo sauce I can have! … That actually might have tasted better than the real thing.. just saying. thanks for the recipe! I use a lot of your recipes, I use allllll the time!

  13. Suzi says

    Thank you! I just tried this (too) and am feeling the same as others. Its Awesome!! Its a total comfort food!

  14. Diane says

    I have to admit, I was a doubter, but so glad to have been wrong. This is a FABULOUS recipe. I LOVE alfredo sauce, but it does NOT like me. This is actually better because it is not as heavy as the heavy cream kind, but still has the same great taste. Thanks a bunch!!

  15. Taryn says

    I made this with zucchini pasta and also added some sautéed mushrooms and basil – it was delicious! Even my husband thought it was fabulous – and the leftovers were just as good ( maybe even better). I was raised in a Italian family and this brought me back to my childhood – thanks!

    • Megan says

      It’s difficult to measure cauliflower in cups, since it can vary drastically depending on the size you chop your florets. I’d guess that 12 oz. is about 1 1/2-2 cups of florets.

  16. Lili Hastings says

    OMG! I just made this and am blown away at how AMAZING this tastes! I love it! Thank you so much

  17. Kryste says

    Very cool! I never liked cauliflower until I tried out the low-carb thing a few years ago. Turning it into a sauce, though? Totally new to me! Also seems very cheap! I just may be trying this out this week. 😀

  18. Nancy says

    Made mine a little too thick – looked like the “mashed potato” recipe that went around a few years ago. No worries! I just added a bit of noodle water and it thinned out perfectly. THANKS!!!

  19. Amy says

    How would you add sun dried tomatoes? Would you chop and add at the last minute, or would you combine in the blender? I make mashed cauliflower all the time with garlic–this looks very similar.

    • Megan says

      I’d probably toss the tomatoes in at the end, for added texture, but either way would be tasty!

  20. Anna says

    I made this tonight! Utterly delicious!!!! I added some diced butternut, zucchini and bacon after i blended it and some black pepper! Even my husband loved it. For myself i would just pour the sauce over some roast veggies. It is sooooo filling. Thank you so much, this is going to become one of our staples!

  21. Nicole says

    I made this last night and it’s amazing, thank you for the recipe. Finally able to eat one of my faves guilt-free! Mine came out a bit bland, I used more garlic than suggested and also salt and a bit of Parmesan cheese but it still lacked something. Any suggestions?

  22. Britt P. says

    This is a terrific recipe! I am pregnant and have an aversion to dairy, so I wanted to try this out. It turned out great! I am very impressed! I did skip the garlic because I have an aversion to that too at the moment, and I added a little chicken bullion to the cauliflower while it cooked, and it turned out just fine for me. Now I can’t wait to try the dairy free Mac & cheese recipe! (5 stars if it doesn’t show up at the bottom)

  23. says

    I can’t have cauliflower. Would another veggie work just as well? Anyone try this with some other vegetable? It looks delicious and from all the positive comments I would love to try this.

  24. JLa says

    Looove this! I eat it as soup! I am cutting back on calories so I don’t pour it over pasta. My husband does & adds a bunch of Parmesan. I measured out 12 oz on my kitchen scale & it’s half a head of florets. I quadruple the recipe (use 2 heads of florets) & add 4 bags of Trader Joe’s “Power to the Greens” to the water & steam it along with the cauliflower. I add curry for a kick. I eat this soup mixture for lunch everyday. It’s delicious & low-calorie!

  25. moneylaunderess says

    This looks really good! I’ve been off of grains and dairy for the past three months, which has really helped my overall health in very significant ways. Now that I am symptom free, I have been craving a bit of pasta and was searching for a grain free ‘cheat’ option and I found organic mung bean pasta at my local health food store! It was perfect! Mung bean pasta is based from legumes, but if you are avoiding legumes at least 85% of the time, mung beans are the least harmful ‘cheat’ for the grain free crowd. I’m going to whip this sauce up and slap it on my next mung bean pasta plate!!!!

  26. Michele says

    Get outta town Detoxinista! You are my new hero. Forget about butter and cream and flour for a creamy sauce. I did a slight variation on this recipe… used chicken stock instead of water because I’m not a vegetarian. My goals are to eliminate gluten and dairy. Instead of adding garlic to the simmer, I sauteed some garlic with shallots and sliced mushrooms in a separate pan. Then I added the cauliflower puree. Served it over some gluten-free spaghetti with slices of pan seared chicken breast, a broiled tomato and some zucchini ribbons. Divine! Can’t wait to try your Vegan Mac n’ Cheese. Thank you!!

  27. Shirley says

    Love this recipe and will definitely try it. It would be even better if you could make a video to show us all the steps of this recipe plus other great recipes that you would share.

  28. Emily says

    I have to admit I was very skeptical of this recipe. Tonight I made it for my boyfriend (who is lactose-intolerant) and our friend. We all loved it!! Our friend didn’t even notice that there wasn’t cheese, and after I told him he sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on his for extra noodles. I served it over whole wheat pasta. YUM! Thank you so much for sharing!

  29. Jennifer says

    All I can say is…wow. I mean, seriously. I didn’t have high hopes for this – I don’t like cauliflower. But I went ahead and made it, it only took about 10 minutes to make. It was AMAZING!!! Like, I am probably never going to make a real cream sauce again. Shockingly good. I added in some shrimp sautéed with garlic, and served over quinoa pasta. Just amazing Megan, THANKS for another simple and delicious recipe!

  30. Staci says

    i wasn’t sure about substituting cauliflower, but I tried it anyway. I served it to my teenage son with a small sprinkle of parmesan, and I didn’t tell him it was cauliflower. He is lactose intolerant and does not want to stop eating foods he loves. It has been a while since he has had fettiiccini alfredo. He didn’t know it was cauliflower and he still doesn’t. He only asked why I didn’t make it the old way, but said he wanted to eat this again.

  31. Sarah says

    I tried this for dinner tonight and have had to refrain myself from calling up everyone I’ve ever met to tell them how awesome this sauce tasted. It even passed the boyfriend test, and he claims not to like vegetables! I added a healthy pinch of nutritional yeast but otherwise followed the recipe.

  32. michelle says

    I’m completely in love with your site and have been making several recipes . . . I just put this together, but my sauce has more of a thin mashed potato consistency . . . should I add some additional hot water? Thank you so much!

  33. Sarah says

    I made this recipe a few days ago and it was so easy and delicious! It’s unbelievable how deceptively healthy the sauce is because it tastes so rich and creamy. My boyfriend actually thought it was a bit too rich and creamy…oh well, more for me! The biggest danger is that you eat too much pasta with it.

  34. Amber says

    I can’t have minced garlic, so I used garlic powder. I also didn’t have anymore coconut oil, so I used some EVOO. As the other reviewer said, it looks more like mashed potatoes than creamy sauce. Any suggestions??

  35. Carole says

    Am I the only one who wonders why “butter” is an option in a lactose/dairy free recipe? Butter has lactose in it and makes me sick if I have it. Is everyone else not sensitive to butter??? I do know I can use the coconut oil, but I am puzzled by even the mention of butter…..

  36. Lela says


    Though its name suggests that it is a nut, I’ve always regarded coconut as a fruit. When the coconut is young, it has properties like fruit, and as it matures, it becomes more nutty. But in fact it is not a nut or a fruit; it is a seed.

    Unless it is picked, a matured coconut eventually drops from the tree. The fully developed hard shell does not crack easily. Dry and brown, the coconut may sit underneath the tree for months and appear as if it were dead, until one day a green shoot pushes its way out of the shell. The whole time the old coconut has been sitting under the tree, changes have been slowly taking place inside. At one end of the coconut (where the eyes are), an embryo starts growing, feeding off the juice and nutrition of the thick white flesh. This embryo develops into a creamy mass that gradually fills much of the empty space inside. It is good to eat – sweet, somewhat spongy and less fibrous than the matured meat.

    The embryo eventually sprouts out of the shell and becomes a young coconut seedling. At this point, the plant can survive for several more weeks or months on the food and water inside as roots gradually develop and extend out of the shell to anchor the plant in the ground. Nutritious coconut meat can sustain life for a long time; one of my students, who is a horticulturist, has successfully used coconut milk to nurse seedlings of Coconutother plants in his greenhouse. Coconut palms lead a long productive life. They begin bearing fruits at the age of five to seven years and continue to do so until they are seventy to eighty years old.

    As complete seed packages, coconuts have been known to travel to faraway lands to find new homesteads. Stories abound of coconuts floating their way across seas and oceans to be washed ashore on distant islands, rooting themselves in handsome groves to greet visiting humans in search of paradise. The dehusked coconuts you buy at the supermarket, however, are no longer productive seed packages. Once the husk is removed, the seed dies.

  37. Michelle says

    This was fabulous! I, like many others, was skeptical but WOW! I was eating it straight out of the blender.

  38. Christina says

    Made this tonight (4/7/14) and we LOVED it!! We have a milk, wheat and corn allergy. So to be able to make chicken fettuccine alfredo again was fantastic!! So many things you can add to it!! Thank you for all of your recipes! Can’t wait to try more!! (Going to make more tomorrow and freeze it!!)

  39. Camille says

    This week I was at an Italian restaurant and got Chicken with spinach and mushroom in a cream sauce. It was so good but when I brought home my leftovers my son wanted some. He is on a gluten and casein(milk) free diet. So I told him I would try to find a cream sauce (milk-free). I was so skeptical. When I found this recipe, I was so excited. I made the recipe. Then, I sauteed minced garlic, chicken, mushrooms, and spinach. Took the juice and added it to the recipe. Next, I poured this mixture over chicken. It is delicious. Taste just like the Italian restaurant’s dish. I also have another child with milk allergy. So I’m so excited to have made something gourmet for everyone.

  40. Lindsey says

    I just tried this, and it was the best cauliflower-ized recipe i’ve tried yet. I basically followed the recipe exactly, except I added sun dried tomatoes before i pureed it. THAT made it AWESOME. This is a great base sauce recipe. Next time I want to add caramelized onion, red pepper, spinach..the possibilities are endless! Thank you for a really good recipe.

  41. Kris says

    I have a container of fresh rice size cauliflower from earlier in the week. How many cups would 12 florets be and should I still add a cup of water to soften before pureeing?

    • Megan says

      A small food scale would be the most accurate way to measure 12 oz. of cauliflower rice, but my “guess” would be about 1 1/2 cups? I would definitely still boil it with water so it gets nice and soft before pureeing.

  42. Andrea says

    I found this sauce and heard the angels sing! I’m known for making this awsome veggie lasagna using Alfredo sauce but guess what the doc says no gluten, dairy, or sugar…. So I’m trying to find “another way to skin a cat” would this work in a dish like that along with like a cashew cheese sauce and gluten free lasagna noodles? :o)

  43. Elvia says

    Hi Megan! Thank you for posting! I’m going to try this now! But I want to roast my florets first 😉 I’ll be using it for my zucchini cashew ricotta cheese ravioli!!! Red sauce gives me heart burn so this sauce should work out perfect!

  44. Amber says

    Thanks for posting! I used spaghetti squash for the pasta added a little almond milk and broccoli and it was ah-maze-zing! Thanks!

  45. Luis Franco says

    Thanks Megan! We just tried this recipe right now and we all love it!! It’s good with lactose-free parmesan cheese as well! This is a great recipe and we can’t wait to try more of yours! (:

  46. Caterina says

    Hi Megan,

    I have to admit that I was skeptical but this is absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe (cooked the entire head of cauliflower). It was so good I was eating it with a spoon while the pasta cooked. Followed your recipe exactly except for some dried oregano and dried chili flakes. Thank you for all of your healthy and delicious recipes.

  47. Ruth says

    Made this for dinner tonight and did not tell the 16 year old pasta lover that the sauce was cauliflower. Passed the test. Yummy!

  48. Samantha Holliday says

    I think I am probably your BIGGEST fan now…I am SO thankful for accidentally stumbling on your page several months back…the recipes you post are SIMPLE (#1 in my book!), convenient (I almost always have the ingredients on hand!), creative, delicious, and have inspired me to become more adventurous/balanced in my cooking/eating. I also enjoy reading your other posts! Thank you SO MUCH for having this blog…hope it continues for as long as you are able!! :) There should be a “10 star” rating option, or more, because 5 just simply isn’t enough!! :)

  49. Karen B says

    Simply AMAZING! I just had this for dinner and all I can say is that is one of the best sauce I have eaten (and healthiest)! Thank you for your amazing recipe!!!

  50. Katie says

    This looks so good and I want to make it for dinner tomorrow night but I can’t help but think it’s too good to be true?! I don’t get how it becomes creamy taste wise…wouldn’t it just taste like finely chopped up cauliflower?? I have looked up a few other recipes to compare and seems like others add in some ricotta or some cream, which I would like to avoid but as I said I am struggling to imagine how this would work out.

  51. Kimberly says

    I made this tonight after a long day at work. It was so quick and easy – but most of all delicious! You have brought back an old favorite that I haven’t had in years. I used brown rice pasta and added peas, carrots, broccoli and sautéed mushrooms. It was incredible! Thank you for this amazing website. I’m on a quest to try every recipe you have! Thank you again!

  52. says

    Making this now! Do you know if you could make this sauce and freeze it? PS have you thought about creating a recipe book? I’d totally buy it!

  53. Randy Bainter says

    I changed the butter to Butter Buds and changed the salt to No-Salt (I am on a low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium cardiac diet) and added a little green onions with the garlic and sautéed them. I also sautéed some mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil with a little garlic powder. I served the sauce on top of pasta, then put the sautéed mushrooms on top of the sauce. This was amazing! Thank you very much for the recipe!

  54. Melissa Parnitzke says

    So delicious! My husband is lactose tolerant and this will finally bring bCk cream sauce to our home – after 10 years. I added a little soy Parmesan cheese and it was awesome!!

  55. Dey says

    DEFINITELY AMAZING!!!!!! I just did it..I added dry oregano (I love oregano in everything) with Oats pasta….and cut a half of tomato and some chives before mixing it..not that it needs anything!!!!!!! my fiancé couldn’t stop eating it, and making this hhhmmm-hmmm!! win win over here!! suuuuper!! from now on…NO OTHER PASTA SAUCE than THIS GOLD one!! Thank You so much!! and from now on I am a fan-follower :)

  56. Phonesavanh Soutchay says

    You are a life saver!! This “Alfredo” is the bomb, thank you for keeping me on track on my diet and helping me realize healthy substitutions are not awful! Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast and it makes it THAT better. I also put this on my mashed “potato” (cauliflower) and it’s amazing!

  57. says

    Ok, so THIS IS SO YUMMY!! This was excellent per instructions, but I experimented a bit & added 1/4 cup of whole milk (for a bit more creaminess … maybe I had too much cauliflower?), 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and va-va-VOOM! It’s SO DANG GOOD! I’m going to add the sauteed mushrooms next time, and perhaps a tad more garlic. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  58. says

    This turned out so. unbelievably. good. I cannot believe it was so simple and so few ingredients! I will definitely be throwing this into my usual food routine. Even my brother and aunt – who are not healthy by any means – loved it! My whole family is obsessed.

    The alfredo sauce is amazing on its own. I also added sauteed onions, mushrooms, roasted broccoli, and served it over spiralized zucchini noodles. Perfection.


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