Skinny Cauliflower Cream Sauce

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Now for today’s recipe. I’ve been so excited to share this one with you guys.  We have a really popular recipe in our healthy cook book, “400 Calories or Less” for Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup.  I wanted to create a cream soup base that was high on flavor but low on calories, yet still had substance and heartiness to it.  I nailed it by incorporating pureed cauliflower.  The last time I was making that soup for dinner I wondered if I could do the same thing with a cream sauce, and sure enough.  My whole family loves this and it’s kind of amazing, really. 

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Let’s be clear though; it is made with a vegetable.  So it’s not going to taste just like butter and heavy cream, ya know?  I’m not claiming that it does.  I am claiming that you will be surprised at how good it is and that there’s a good chance your family will love it too.  My true test is always my kids.  I have four boys ranging from age 1 to 10 and I always see how they react before sharing recipes here.  I didn’t say a word about what was in this sauce to them or my husband and all 5 of them gobbled it right up and asked for seconds.  So that was that.  If you are trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, or just trying to eat a little lighter, this is a great recipe for you! 

Start with a pound of roughly chopped cauliflower and pop it in a pot of simmering chicken broth.  Veggie broth would work fine too; I just like to use broth in place of water because it adds flavor.  If you’re going to use water for any reason, I would make sure it’s got a hefty spoon of salt in there.  All of that liquid is being absorbed into the cauliflower so it’s important to flavor it!

Cauliflower

You’ll need something to wiz this up.  A food processor works great; I’m using my KitchenAid 14-Cup. My last food processor bit the dust after a solid 12 years of use and Kitchenaid hooked me up with this one.  I love how it has an ultra large capacity, but a mini work bowl included for every day little stuff.  And there are more attachments than you can imagine.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a blender!

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After the cauliflower is tender (only takes about 5-6 minutes) strain the liquid out into a bowl, pop the cauliflower into your food processor or blender, and then drizzle a little olive oil into your pot with some minced garlic.  I love, love our Lemon Extra Virgin in this recipe.

Garlic and Olive OIl

Sauting the garlic brings out the flavor and mellows the bite just a bit.  It only takes a minute or less and then you’ll add all of the garlic, along with the oil from the pan, to the cauliflower.

Cooked Carlic and Olive Oil

You’ll also toss in some kosher salt and onion powder.

KitchenAid Food Processor

And can’t forget the cheese.  I add in 1 ounce of low-fat cream cheese.  I feel like even just that small amount adds a creamy texture and deepens the flavor by just enough.  Someone in the comments suggest Laughing Cow cheese and that is a GREAT idea!  I bet the garlic herb one would taste super yummy and they are light on calories.  And also a little Parmesan cheese.  For both cheeses, in order to keep this sauce light, I add the smallest amount you can get away with while still achieving good results.  Meaning- if you don’t care about the calories as much, feel free to add more cheese to taste.  Obviously the more the better, like- the more cheese you add the less cauliflower you taste, haha.   You can also leave out the cream cheese if you don’t have it or want it.  I like it best with both cheeses.

Parmesan Cheese

Blend it all up until smooth and creamy and then adjust salt to taste.  At our house we love this on pasta in alfredo-type dishes.  I’ll toss in some grilled chicken, or serve it over tortellini.  And my husband and all 4 of my kids love it! 

Light Alfredo Sauce

Fresh basil and crumbled bacon is another favorite combo.

Healthy Alfredo Sauce

And if you want to really be healthy and up your veggie count, try it over Zoodles or Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

Healthy Alfredo Sauce

My sauce in these photos has a little texture to it, but you can blend it more and it becomes silky smooth, just like any normal cream sauce. 

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This has been an awesome addition to the mealtime regimen and I hope it will be for you, too!

Interested in another Cauli-Powerhouse?  Try our Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

Our Best Bites Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 

Skinny Cauliflower Cream Sauce
Yields 3
A lighter take on traditional creamy sauce. Use in place of traditional alfredo!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb roughly chopped cauliflower florets (about 6 cups)
  2. 2.5 cups chicken broth (may sub vegetable broth)
  3. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  6. 4-5 cloves garlic
  7. 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (more if desired)
  8. 1 ounce low-fat cream cheese (more if desired)
Instructions
  1. Bring broth to a simmer and add cauliflower. Cover pot with lid. Cook until tender, stirring/smashing occasionally, (about 5-6 mins). Drain cauliflower over a bowl to reserve broth and add cauliflower to food processor or blender. Add onion and salt. Return pot to stove and heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute on medium-low heat until fragrant and soft, 30-60 seconds. Add garlic and all oil from pan into cauliflower. Add 1/4 cup reserved broth, and cheeses. Process until smooth. Add salt and liquid to taste.
Notes
  1. Feel free to adjust cheese and seasonings to your liking. It's a very flexible sauce; adjust until you find the right mix for you!
  2. Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup) Cal: 60 Fat: 3 Carb: 5 Pro: 4
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39 comments

  1. I can’t wait to try this! Gotta make it to Costco for the stuff tomorrow! My kids inhale the white sauce in the soup mentioned so I know they will inhale this! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  2. This looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. I’m so grateful to you guys and your healthy recipes. I’m down 9 lbs in about 2 weeks of counting calories meticulously….and eating your recipes almost exclusively. I knew I’d never succeed if my food was boring and tasted “light”. You guys are the best.

    1. WOW!! Oh my gosh Carly, that’s amazing! Good job girl!

  3. I use a similar recipe but I’ve substituted a wedge of the flavored Laughing Cow cheese- there’s a spicy one, like a Jalepeno jack, that adds tons of extra flavor but not a lot of calories. Plus if you use their different flavors, you can change up the the sauce for different things.
    Love all your stuff though! Thank you!

    1. oooh, great idea!

  4. Too bad you have to remortgage your house to buy cauliflower right now. Last time I was getting groceries it was $6.99/head. Yikes!

    1. What on earth?! Where do you live??

      1. I guess I found one plus to living in Ethiopia (where I can’t get any dairy at all without paying though the nose and even then it’s gross), cauliflower is super cheap here!

      2. I leave just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. A friend from Winnipeg just posted on Facebook that cauliflower there was 8 dollars a head. That means a barrel of oil is currently trading at just over the cost of 3 heads of cauliflower. lol

      1. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it!

    2. Exactly, Elaine! I’m so frustrated over it! Cauliflower was my staple and I’m all distraught now. Heh. Hopefully the price comes back down.

  5. I love how you determine if a recipe is good or not. I do the exact same thing. I look forward to trying this recipe. I’ll let you know what my son thinks 😉

  6. I’ve made a similar recipe to this that just uses a little skim milk instead of the cheeses and it still tastes so good and cheesy for some reason. The butter and garlic really do add a lot of flavor!

    For diet nights I’ve used it as the base for creamy soups and sauces that normally use heavy cream. Every one of them has turned out great!

  7. Thanks for the tip on the KitchenAid processor! I love that it includes a small bowl for food prep so you don’t have to lug out the huge bowl when you only need a small bit of something.

  8. So excited to make this. I just got a nice cauliflower head in my Bountiful Basket this week. I also have basil on hand and bacon! This is what is for dinner here!

    1. This was soon good. Loved it and can’t wait to use this sauce in other recipes- like veggie white sauce lasagna.

  9. When I’m trying to eat healthy I always make a lot of dinner salads and my kids get sick of them. This would be a great thing to throw in the rotation so they get pasta and I can have mine with zoodles and still be on my plan. I’m adding cauliflower to my shopping list right now!

    Sometimes with a recipe like this I like to throw in a scoop of greek yogurt to add some creaminess and protein without adding any fat. Do you think that would work here?

  10. I am making your creamy chicken taquitos for a freezer meal exchange group I’m in. I was wondering if I could freeze the sauce? And if I can – What is the best way to unthaw?

  11. Can’t wait to try this! I use your guiltless Alfredo sauce all the time and this sounds right up my alley!

  12. Five thumbs up! This was lunch for me and four out-of-school kids today. I even had some poached chicken to stir in and some left-over bacon to crumble on top.

  13. I thought I remembered a link you had put up about weightlifting that also had videos for strength training, but I have been through all your fitness posts and can’t find it, will you share it again?

  14. Cauliflower happens to be on sale for .99 cents a pound this week and I would like to buy a bunch while I can. I too would like to know if the sauce can be frozen or if it would be better to just freeze the cauliflower for later use. Thanks ladies for this recipe. I already use your guiltless sauce from your other recipe book because it’s our favorite!!

  15. I fixed this for dinner tonight and it got 16 very enthusiastic thumbs up at our house. One of my daughters asked if she could lick the serving spoon and I said, “not at the table” so she went in the kitchen and did it there. I couldn’t even fault her for it because I totally licked the spatula after I scraped the last of the sauce out of my blender. My kids & husband ate theirs with rotini noodles and grilled chicken. I had mine on zoodles with the chicken on the side. It was delicious in every combination. We will definitely make it again!

  16. Wow…I was totally skeptical that you could make a sauce with cauliflower and make it taste good. Boy was I happy to be surprised. This was delicious! Like so good I couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today. My kids ate it with linguini noodles and bacon crumbles on top. I ate it with half linguini and half zucchini noodles. I already am wondering how soon is too soon to make it again. Thank you for this slam dunk healthy recipe! And for those of you in Utah our Cauliflower was about $3.47 per head.

    1. Yay- so glad it was a hit!

  17. This was amazing! My four-year-old saw me chopping up the cauliflower and said, “Mom, I’m not going to eat that.” Then I got him to try the sauce after it came out of the blender, and his face lit up and he said, “Why didn’t you tell me it was so good?” Thank you for sharing such an easy, healthy, and delicious recipe!

  18. I wasn’t sure if this would be awesome, but I was willing to try it based on your track record of awesomeness… HOLY COW!!!! I was amazed at how delicious it was! And my whole family (6 kids between 3 and 12) devoured it, they were all coming back for seconds and then we didn’t have any left overs. I added some chicken and apple sausage and sliced grape tomatoes to my pasta and used garlic olive oil (can never have too much garlic!). Thank you!!!

  19. Wow! This sauce looks amazing! My son has a ton of food intolerances/acid reflux triggers that I have to work around. Would the sauce still taste okay without the cheese and the chicken/veggie broth? I’ve been using canned coconut milk for cream sauces but we figured out that was upsetting my son’s stomach.

    1. Well you’d just be left with seasoned cauliflower 🙂 You’d just have to experiment- good luck!

  20. I thought this was DELICIOUS! I served it with pasta and roasted broccoli and wanted to lick my plate. SO GOOD!

  21. I was shocked at how much I liked this! Mine was kind of thick, I added extra broth but then the next day when it was thick again I just ate it like mashed potatoes with leftover chicken on top and- yum!!

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