Cauliflower Alfredo (Vegan & Nut-free)

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This Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce is creamy and delicious, while being deceptively simple! In lieu of the heavy cream, butter and cheese found in traditional Alfredo sauce, this particular version gets its creamy texture from pureed cauliflower— but when you serve it, most people can’t even tell.

cauliflower alfredo pasta with fork

This sauce is naturally Vegan and Paleo-friendly, but make sure to choose a pasta that also fits your dietary needs by looking at the label. Zucchini noodles make a great grain-free option!

Benefits of Cauliflower

Cauliflower is the ultimate “chameleon” of vegetables, if you ask me. It can easily transform into Cauliflower Fried Rice, Cauliflower Pizza Crust, or a creamy sauce, like this one. Cauliflower also hides well in a Low-Sugar Smoothie, if you’re trying to use a little less fruit.

Here are some of the nutritional benefits of cauliflower:

  • There are 3 grams of fiber in just 1 cup of cauliflower. (That’s 10% of your daily needs!)
  • Cauliflower is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which may help to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. (source)
  • 92% of cauliflower is water, and eating water-rich foods have been shown to aid in weight loss.
  • Cauliflower is high in choline, which is involved in brain development and a healthy metabolism.

cauliflower sauce in blender

How to Make Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Making this Cauliflower Alfredo is as easy as steaming fresh or frozen cauliflower until tender, and then blending it until smooth with the rest of the ingredients. 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 the heavier version. 

cauliflower alfredo tossed in a bowl with tongs

By avoiding the whipping cream, butter and cheese found in traditional Fettuccine Alfredo, you’ll be doing your body a 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. If you follow food combining principles, this sauce is “neutral” and can be served with any other foods you like for streamlined digestion.

cauliflower alfredo pasta on plate

How to Make Cauliflower Alfredo (1-Minute Video):

cauliflower alfredo pasta with fork
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4.79 from 87 votes

Cauliflower Alfredo (Vegan & Nut-free)

This CAULIFLOWER ALFREDO SAUCE is a healthy pasta topped, made from pureed cauliflower! It's deceptively easy and delicious, while being vegan and paleo friendly.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cauliflower alfredo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 64kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 12 ounces cauliflower florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt , or more to taste
  • black pepper , to taste

Instructions

  • Saute the minced garlic in the oil 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, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot to cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 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. Cover the vent in your blender lid with a thin kitchen towel to allow venting.)
  • Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve hot over your favorite pasta.

Video

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 639mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 82.9mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Per Serving: Calories: 64, Fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 3g

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. (If you’re not vegan & dairy-free.)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach.
  • Sauteed mushrooms and roasted broccoli.
  • Nutritional yeast, for a dairy-free “cheesy” flavor.

As always, if you try something different with this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried. We can all benefit from YOUR experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite pasta sauce?

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Comments

Staci

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.

Kadi

This was awesome. I made it for dinner tonight. Even my husband liked it… shocking!

Sarah

Has anyone tried making this and freezing it? Just wondering if it would reheat well.

sylvi

this is not nut free : coconut oil!

    Reggie

    Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut.

Katie

How many calories are in this sauce?

Sarah

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.

Sue

Fantastic! I added 1/4 C of nutritional yeast after I puréed. Delicious, nutritious, fabulous.

michelle

Megan,
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!

Andrew

Hey does anyone know how long it will last in a mason jar in the fridge? Or if not long, is it freezeable

Betsy

It didn’t come out as creamy as I thought, what did I do wrong?

Sarah

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.

Kim

Put over spaghetti squash instead if pasta.

Amber

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??

Carole

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…..

    Pam

    Smart balance original is lactose free & ive always used it in place of butter.

    Victorious

    Hello, it’s most likely a reaction to the milk proteins in the butter. Perhaps you can try ghee, the milk proteins are removed. But I see no reason not to use the evoo. I think I’ll try it!

Lela

Sylvi,

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.

    Nat

    OMG- I just made this and it was amazing. We substituted olive oil for the butter and added some as well when blending and it just made it so good! Next time, we’ll add the salt and pepper while the cauliflower is simmering, so that the spices will blend together. So minor tweaks, but what an overall amazing idea!

Michelle

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

Millie

This looks amazing!!! Will definitely try it out ASAP! And love that it has no nts – so easy to make 🙂

Christina

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!!)

Camille

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.

Adam

In case you’re not joking, ooconuts are drupes, not nuts.

Lindsey

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.

Amy

I bet this would be delicious puréed with roasted garlic!! Definitely going to have to try that!

Faye

Can I make the sauce ahead of time? How long can it stay in the fridge, if at all? Thanks!

Jo-Anne

I make cauliflower ‘mashed potato’ like this too.

Kris

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

    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.

Andrea

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)

    Megan

    I haven’t tried it myself, but it sounds like a good idea!

Elvia

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!

Amber

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

Luis Franco

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! (:

Rachel Druckenmiller

You did it again! This stuff is delicious! I wrote a post about it on my GF/DF blog and have served it to my family (including a super picky eater sister in law) and everyone loved it! https://detoxinista.com/2013/05/creamy-cauliflower-alfredo-dairy-free-nut-free/

Caterina

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.

Ruth

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

Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

I love cauliflower! I use it as a substitute for lots of things also. I love it as a creamy base for soups.

Samantha Holliday

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!! 🙂

Willy Kosor

What is nutritional yeast?

Karen B

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!!!

Ang

Made this tonight – delicious! Thank you for the recipe!!!

Katie

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.

Kimberly

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!

paige

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!

    Megan Gilmore

    I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I’d guess it would be okay? Let us know if you try it! And I do have a cookbook coming out later this year, just not until June: http://amzn.to/1xTEqOT

      Reggie

      Would goat cheese be ok to substitute for any of the other cheeses>?

    Colleen

    I HAve frozen it before.

Randy Bainter

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!

Melissa Parnitzke

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!!

MAYA @ MAYA- KITCHENETTE

This looks fabulous and so easy. Pinned it ! 🙂

Dey

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 else..wow!!!!!!! my fiancé couldn’t stop eating it, and making this hhhmmm-hmmm sounds..lol!! 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 🙂

Phonesavanh Soutchay

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!

Daniel Millen

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!!!

Abbey

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.

Berenice

Really, Reaaaaally good ! I love it thank you !

Cori

This is incredible! I found this recipe in your awesome cookbook that I just got and I had to come find it on your website to leave a comment. I made it on the fly and served over leftover spaghetti squash. The sauce is so creamy, comforting and beyond satisfying! I had to stop myself from licking the plate. I have enjoyed all of the recipes so far from your cookbook but this one the most so far because I am such a huge Alfredo fan and I thought that comforting dish was lost to me forever. Thankfully you found it!

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