Pasta with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

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A delicious cauliflower alfredo sauce mixed with white meat chicken, broccoli, and pasta. This recipe is packed with fiber, vegetables, and protein making a great one dish meal!

Chicken, pasta with cauliflower alfredo sauce

This cauliflower alfredo sauce goes well with many things, but nothing more comforting than pasta and chicken. Using cauliflower florets as a thickener, instead of flour and butter makes this dish healthier. Cauliflower has a very neutral flavor, which works well as a base for the white sauce. The pureed vegetables are combined with milk and parmesan cheese to give an authentic Alfredo flavor that coats the pasta.

As I was making this recipe for my family, my son James couldn’t wait to get a bowl of mom’s “mac n’ cheese.” It was a delight to see him take a bite of these healthier cheesy pasta shells. As a parent, I’m sure you can relate to how challenging it can be to get your kids to eat vegetables. After you make the sauce for the first time, you can use it in a variety of ways so that you can switch up your meals each week!

Measuring cup pouring cauliflower alfredo sauce over a pan of pasta noodles

How to make cauliflower Alfredo sauce

  • Use a Blender: Once the cauliflower florets are simmered and fork-tender, it is processed in a high-speed Vitamix blender. The mechanical shear of the sharp blades breaks down the cell walls of the cauliflower and releases the natural starches from the cruciferous vegetable. The result, perfectly pureed thickened sauce base.
  • Add Texture: Whole milk or your preferred dairy will add additional creaminess to the sauce. The liquid also helps to make the sauce pourable.
  • Add Flavor: Aged Parmesan cheese and fragrant sauteed garlic add incredible savory flavors in the sauce from the naturally occurring glutamates. Incorporating the vegetable broth cooking liquid also provides delicious flavors.

Cauliflower chunks and seasoning in a blender

I was blown away by the results- smooth, creamy, packed with garlicky Parmesan cheesy flavor. You will have extra sauce leftover (woot!), so save some for topping pizzas, your favorite proteins, or even more pasta. I’ve even tried adding butternut squash similarly into a sauce for macaroni and cheese!

Traditionally an Alfredo sauce starts with a roux base, equal parts of butter and flour for adding thickness. However, the cauliflower is a vegetable-packed substitute for a healthier alternative. The cream-based sauce benefits the pureed suspended particulates of the cauliflower, for instant viscosity and thickening power.

Golden brown sauteed chicken in a silver frying pan

For a balanced dish, sauteed chicken and broccoli on top. The ingredients provide a powerful combination of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and nutrients, just what you need after a long day.

A  sauteed chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika makes for an easy add-in. Some broccoli and whole grain shell pasta to add more fiber. A one-bowl meal with lots of flavors is a win-win!

Pan with pasta and chopped pieces of chicken and broccoli

Shell shaped pasta is selected for this recipe because they can catch the sauce inside the curved noodles and on the outside ridges. You do not want to miss the chance to taste as much of the sauce as you can!

The pasta technology for adding more nutrition into each serving is impressive. Now you can find added protein, omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, gluten-free options and added fiber that tastes just like regular pasta.

Spoon full of pasta noodles, chicken, and broccoli topped with a light cauliflower alfredo sauce

My husband Jason mentioned how surprised he was that the sauce tasted very similar to a creamy alfredo. I wonder if I hadn’t told him if he would even know (sneaky wife thoughts generating, hehe). This recipe is going to be added to our family’s favorite meal list, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Have you ever made a sauce using vegetables before? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

Benefits of Cooking With Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a great low-calorie way to add nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid to your diet. If you are looking for a healthier way to add a creamy texture to your sauces, cauliflower is your secret ingredient. Simply steamed or boiled until tender, a quick whirl in your blender creates a smooth and earthy puree with just a subtle flavor. The puree makes a beautiful sauce base so you can reduce or remove heavy creams that are high in fat that you would typically find in a cream sauce. Since the taste of cauliflower is very neutral, you can infuse any flavors you desire like garlic, onion, spicy peppers, spinach or cheese.

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Pasta with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Healthy chicken broccoli pasta recipe with smooth creamy cauliflower alfredo sauce. Packed with fiber, vegetables and protein making a great one dish meal.
Pin Print Review
4.28 from 11 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 cups cauliflower florets, 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • ½ cup whole milk, or nondairy milk
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 pound chicken breast, pounded to ½-inch thickness
  • paprika, to season chicken
  • 8 ounces medium shell pasta, about 2 ½ cups
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into very small pieces

Instructions 

Cauliflower Sauce

  • Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and reduce to a simmer. Cook covered, until fork tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup cauliflower cooking liquid.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, once hot add minced garlic. Sauté until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer garlic and oil to blender. Save pan to cook the chicken.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and milk to blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds until the sauce is very smooth, adding more liquid or milk depending desired thickness.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and puree until smooth, 30 seconds. Adjust seasonings and add more cheese if desired.

Chicken

  • Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, once hot add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook 3 to 5 minutes until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 160-165°F. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into ½-inch cubes and set aside.

Pasta

  • Cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions. Remove shells once cooked and transfer to a large pan with high sides. Do not discard water!
  • Cook broccoli in boiling pasta water for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and tender, drain.
  • Add about 2 cups of the cauliflower sauce to the pasta, stir to combine. Add more sauce as desired. Top with diced chicken, broccoli and parmesan cheese.

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Nutrition Facts
Pasta with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 585 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 1406mg59%
Potassium 192mg5%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 10g40%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 350IU7%
Vitamin C 70.1mg85%
Calcium 170mg17%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Reader Interactions

16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Jeryl Foster says

    Diabetic here and am on a very low carb diet. Would this sauce(with the chicken and broccoli) work with zucchini noodles?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jeryl- I think using zucchini noodles is a great idea! I’m going to have to try using zucchini noodles as well 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Kaitlin! Yes, the sauce is 100-150 calories per serving depending on how much sauce is used. I usually find that I have extra sauce, so around 100 calories for a typical serving.

  2. John Whieside says

    Hi Jessica
    This a great recipe and idea for sauce.
    I have used puréed saluted mushroom to make a beef mushroom gravy or sauce. I often use this over cauliflower faux mashed potatoes. Great with pot roast.
    I really enjoy your.blog keeep up the great work.

  3. Cindy says

    This was OUTSTANDING!!! I made it tonight and hogged it! I posted it on my wall on Facebook with a photo of my beautiful plate full!! Thank you Jessica!!!!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jax- I think you could freeze the extra sauce, but make sure to whisk together well when you are reheating.

  4. Aleah R Davis says

    Enjoyed making this I was expecting it to be difficult and daunting but not at all! The sauce turned out beautiful I am extreamly happy I came across this recipe because I love past but I have never really liked Alfredo because it always left me feeling very sick to my stomache. Amazing dupe must I say ALL THE FLAVOR with out the regret!

  5. Rina says

    Wow, I tried this and it was quite good. I was not expecting it to taste so rich and buttery! Definitely making it again.

  6. Martin says

    This turned out great – IMHO! I reduced everything by about a third, due only to the quantity of the ingredients I had. We subbed Almond Milk for the Whole, and we’ll make the Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce again tonight and hold the chicken for a veggie delight. Highly recommend!

  7. Martin Murray says

    I made this for the second time recently. It was a hit.
    Due to some preferences, I changed up a few things:
    Oat milk to eliminate most of the dairy
    and,
    Tempeh was substituted for the chicken. (Saute the tempeh in EVO with lots of soy splashed on.)
    Rice pasta.

    The cauli sauce is a winner.

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