Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach

I grew up eating a lot of Asian food, and I think it must not have been until late middle school or possibly even early high school that I first had Fettuccine Alfredo. My love for that creamy sauce on pasta lasted only until college, when I realized how many calories that Alfredo sauce actually contained.

Fortunately, I can still indulge in a pasta alfredo once in a while, but instead of the traditional alfredo sauce with cream and stick of butter and Parmesan, I would recommend this lightened up version of Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach. I use spinach because I generally tend to have it in my kitchen, but you could use other greens or vegetables as well to further fill up the pasta dish. This dish serves 4 people as a side dish.
Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach


  • 3 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • 8 ounces of pasta (I like using ones I can spoon, like this bow tie, so I can eat the whole thing with a spoon instead of slurping sauce on my face)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus another 1 tablespoon if you want to saute/wilt your spinach before adding it to pasta, optional)
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Couple handfuls of vegetables of your choice, such as two or three handfuls of spinach.
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring cauliflower florets, milk and minced onion to a simmer in large saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Cover pan and let the cauliflower soften, which might take 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your florets.
  2. When the cauliflower milk mixture is soft enough that your wooden spoon can mush it, transfer contents of the pan to food processor. Let it cool for a bit before you blend it into a sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, while your cauliflower milk mixture is cooling before you process it, cook your pasta in a pot until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water to help marry it with the cauliflower sauce later. Toss the pasta with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. I wilted the spinach slightly over heat with a little olive oil in that large saucepan I had just used for the cauliflower. But you can also toss it in raw as the hot pasta and sauce will also wilt it if your timing is right. You’ll just have to stir a lot depending on how generous your handfuls are until they get smaller.
  5. Now to your pan, add the pasta,the cauliflower puree, the 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and nutmeg. Toss until the sauce coats pasta, adding reserved pasta water per your taste if mixture is clumpy and you want it to be smoother. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve your dish sprinkled with a little extra Parmesan and bit of pepper if you’d like. For a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper.
Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach

I made it vegetarian, although I would understand if you might want to throw in a little protein via some chicken, or turkey, or maybe even some cut up sausage. If you miss a little of the fat of the alfredo, do a combination where instead of all 2% milk (I personally found skim or 1% too thin for me) you can make part of that cup a more full milk, Cream. And/or you could also consider at the end when mixing the sauce with the pasta adding some drizzle of Greek yogurt!



  1. I’m always looking for lightened up versions of my favorite pasta dishes1

  2. Yummm this looks fantastic!!

  3. This is my go to vegan winter I’m to tired to cook meal. I seriously love cauliflower alfredo.

    • It’s so easy too, just making it mushy and putting it on what you’d like. I’ve also made a version where it just ended up being a dip, but it had more cheese and seasonings

  4. This is awesome! I love the idea of using cauliflower as the creamy sauce. I need to do this.

  5. this looks fab! the green element in this traditionally heavy and monochrome dish!


  1. […] schmalories” concern me too much so I did a different white sauce. I could have used the cauliflower alfredo that I shared in a previous recipe post, but this time I tried a different cheese mixture that uses low fat ricotta, mozzarella, and […]

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