Lighter Spaghetti Alfredo with Cauliflower Recipe -
Lighter Spaghetti Alfredo with Cauliflower Recipe
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Lighter Spaghetti Alfredo
See how to make a lighter version of Alfredo with cauliflower. See more
  • READY IN 1 hr

Lighter Spaghetti Alfredo with Cauliflower

Recipe by  

"This cauliflower spaghetti Alfredo is a great 'bridge' recipe, helping us transition from rich, decadent offerings to much leaner fare. I also love the dusting of crispy Parmesan breadcrumbs that top this delicious pasta. This tastes and feels very rich, but is actually quite light. Enjoy!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    40 mins

    1 hr


  1. Cook and stir garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cauliflower, water, Italian herbs, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to taste. Bring water to a boil, cover, and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir until cheese has melted and mixture is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat, sprinkle with salt to taste, and mix in basil; set aside.
  4. Add cream to cauliflower mixture and puree in the pot with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese until melted; season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Mix in lemon juice with spaghetti and stir in Alfredo sauce to coat pasta. Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and the seasoned bread crumb mixture.
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  • Chef's Note:
  • You can use any fresh herb in place of basil, such as thyme, parsley, or oregano.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 16, 2012

I made this per the recipe, and it was delicious!It was SO easy to make too! I put it in a casserole dish and baked it a little. I waited for my kids and husband tell me how good it was before I told them the secret ingredient! I made it as a side dish to grilled chicken marinated in Italian dressing.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 24, 2012

Chef John said that this was a bridge recipe for those who want to eat healthier, and that I agree with. I believe it's the cauliflower taste, which persists in the sauce no matter how you try to modify it. I made mine according to instructions. I will try John's favorite ww pasta recommendation to see if this improves on the taste next time. Also, I should've cooked my pasta under al dente. I didn't time the cooking of my pasta and completion of my sauce well, and so I had to reheat the pasta in the saucepan in order for it to absorb the lemon and meld with the flavors of the sauce and the time I was done, my pasta was a bit overdone. I added some roasted veggies and sauteed sausage to fill out the dish more. I honestly would rather have the full fat version and portion control, seeing how this recipe does not quite hit the spot for me. I still really enjoy watching Chef John's videos.

Jul 16, 2012

Wow this is a first. I am the first to review. Well, this was way better than expected. It is a very light, creamy, and smooth alfredo-like sauce. I great alternative to the fat laden original alfredo sauce. I followed the sauce instructions to the tee except I used half & half instead of cream b/c that was all I had on hand. Though I expect that it would have been creamier if I had used heavy cream instead of half & half. Still it was very good. I skipped the bread crumb topping and served with cheese tortellini. Yummy!!

Sep 29, 2012

I followed the sauce recipe except that I substituted light cream cheese for the heavy cream. I pureed in food processor until silky smooth. Instead of serving over spaghetti, I served over lobster ravioli (from Costco) and then topped with the crumb topping. Delicious!

Aug 22, 2012

Who would have thought? I wasn't sure if I could pass this off on my family since they are alfredo was one of thier favorite dishes on the website so far! I didn't have the type of blender described so i blended small batches in my regular blender and returned it to the heat-a bit more time consuming but well worth it! Another great recipe Chef John--keep up the good work!

Jul 16, 2012

Loved- makes much more than 4 servings- I added Chicken and Brocoli

Nov 09, 2012

This meal was absolutely amazing! There was no lack of flavor and the cauliflower was completely disguised, yet made the sauce (velvety!). I took out some of the liquid and put it aside so the sauce wouldn't be too thin. I used regular half and half an only 1/4 of a cup. I added garlic salt instead of regular salt to the sauce. No need for olive oil in browning the crumbs and cheese; save the fat and calories! The lemon juice was the perfect touch with the noodles. I had no idea! ! I put the noodles on a serving platter, ladled on the sauce, topped it all with the crumbs, layered baked, skinless-bonelesss chicken slices across the top and a little Italian seasoning for flavor and garnish (fresh is preferred). This dish was an ultimate winner for us and our neighbors. I've already called my mom and told her to get to making this recipe. It is beyond delicious and deserves HIGH praise!! Way to go!!

Sep 13, 2012

I just made this for dinner and it was delicious! It has all the flavors of an Alfredo sauce without the heaviness. The only thing I changed was to take out some of the cooking water to make the sauce a little thicker. Definitely a repeat!


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  • Calories
  • 660 kcal
  • 33%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 91.4 g
  • 29%
  • Cholesterol
  • 35 mg
  • 12%
  • Fat
  • 23.1 g
  • 35%
  • Fiber
  • 9.4 g
  • 37%
  • Protein
  • 23.6 g
  • 47%
  • Sodium
  • 413 mg
  • 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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