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

This creamy Alfredo sauce is deceptively healthy.

bowl of pasta with alfredo sauce

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.

fork with pasta and alfredo sauce

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.

4.8 from 60 votes
Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo (Dairy-free, Nut-free)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A creamy, dairy-free sauce that's perfect over noodles or vegetables!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cauliflower, dairy free, nut free, paleo, pasta, vegan
Servings: 2
Calories: 64 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

Recipe Video

Recipe 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.

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.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh spinach.
  • Sauteed mushrooms and roasted broccoli.
  • Nutritional yeast, for a dairy-free “cheesy” flavor.

Enjoy!

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

 

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Comments

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/

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! (:

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!

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!

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!

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.

Jo-Anne

I make cauliflower ‘mashed potato’ like this too.

Faye

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

Amy

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

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.

Adam

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

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.

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!!)

Millie

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

Michelle

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

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!

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!

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??

Kim

Put over spaghetti squash instead if pasta.

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.

Betsy

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

Andrew

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

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!

Sue

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

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.

Katie

How many calories are in this sauce?

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.

Sarah

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

Kadi

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

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.

Jessica

One word amazing! Thank you for sharing. Everyone should try this!

Jennifer

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!

Living Outside of the Box

It tastes fantastic! I can’t believe it’s not the real thing! I love cauliflower, but always struggle to find vegan recipes that my family will eat. Awesome–thanks so much for the recipe. It is going to be a staple!!

Emily

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!

    Emily

    **For extra flavor. OOps!

Shirley

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.

Michele

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!!

Sarah

I made this tonight…OMG. It’s amazing 🙂 Thank you!!! 🙂

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