Fettuccine Alfredo

This fettuccine Alfredo recipe is perfect for any and all occasions, from busy weeknights to romantic dinners. It's simple, elegant, and totally delicious.

Fettuccine alfredo

Traditional fettuccine Alfredo contains 5 basic ingredients: pasta, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ve probably guessed that this fettuccine Alfredo recipe isn’t totally traditional. You’re right!

See, I love creamy pasta, but when I order it at restaurants, it’s almost always too rich for me to enjoy for more than a few bites. Earlier this winter, I was craving comfort food, and I got the idea to make a fettuccine Alfredo recipe that would let me have my cake and eat it too. It would be every bit as creamy and comforting as the classic pasta, but also light enough for me to savor an entire bowlful and still go back for seconds.

Since that day, we’ve had this fettuccine Alfredo recipe on repeat in our house. The sauce is rich and nutty, and its creamy texture is irresistible over tangles of fresh pasta. Made with just 10 pantry ingredients, it’s quick and easy to make. As a result, we’ve eaten it time and time again – on busy weeknights, snowy Saturdays, and even date nights in. I hope you find a place for it in your regular rotation too!

Fettuccine Alfredo recipe ingredients

A Lightened-Up Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

To make a lightened up fettuccine Alfredo recipe that would taste just as good as the traditional pasta, I used these key ingredients:

  • Cauliflower – I’ve turned to cauliflower time and time again to make lighter versions of creamy classics, and it works wonders here. Boiled and blended with the other ingredients, it makes an Alfredo sauce that’s just as delicious as – but so much lighter than – the traditional version.
  • Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic – They add bright, tangy depth of flavor to the creamy sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese and butter – They’re classic fettuccine Alfredo ingredients for a reason! Parmesan adds nutty umami flavor and thickens the sauce, while the butter makes it silky smooth.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – Because I use just a small amount of butter in this recipe, I add olive oil for extra richness. I love its robust flavor here!
  • Pasta water – In traditional fettuccine Alfredo, hot, starchy pasta water is what turns the Parmesan and butter into a creamy sauce. It’s a key ingredient in my recipe too, helping the cauliflower blend into a luscious puree.

Parmesan cheese and cauliflower in a blender

How to Make Fettuccine Alfredo

Making this recipe is quick and easy! Here’s what you need to do:

  • First, cook the cauliflower. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower. Cook until it’s tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Then, drain it and transfer it to a blender along with the Parmesan cheese, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, butter, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Next, cook the pasta until al dente in a large pot of salted water. Before you drain it, set aside 1 1/2 cups of the starchy pasta water.
  • Then, make the sauce. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the blender, and blend to form a smooth puree.
  • Finally, toss it all together! Add the pasta to a large skillet or bowl and toss it with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water, as needed, to reach your desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Creamy sauce in a blender

What to Serve with Fettuccine Alfredo

Serve this fettuccine Alfredo recipe with minced Italian parsley and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy it as a meal on its own, or pair it with your favorite protein for a heartier dinner. It would also be fantastic with roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts or broccoli or a classic Caesar salad. Mop up any leftover sauce with homemade focaccia or good crusty bread, and don’t forget the wine to drink!

Fettuccine Alfredo

More Favorite Pasta Recipes

If you love this fettuccine Alfredo recipe, try one of these favorite pasta recipes next:

Fettuccine Alfredo

rate this recipe:
4.89 from 133 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves 4 to 6
This lightened-up fettuccine Alfredo recipe is simple, elegant, and comforting. The sauce is a creamy, rich blend of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, butter, and a secret ingredient - cauliflower!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cauliflower florets, (1 small cauliflower)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • 1 to 1½ cups reserved pasta cooking water
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil until the cauliflower is fork tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place the cauliflower in a blender. Add the Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, mustard, butter, lemon juice, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1½ cups of the starchy pasta water. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the blender and blend the sauce until creamy.
  • Transfer the pasta to a large bowl or skillet. Add the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining ½ cup pasta water and toss again to loosen the sauce and make it a bit creamier.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. Serve with grated cheese on the side.

Notes

For a vegan alfredo sauce, make the fettuccine recipe on page 65 of The Love & Lemons Cookbook.

163 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Jilary
    06.06.2022

    1 star
    I’m sorry, but this was not very appealing. I was looking forward to trying this and followed the recipe exactly, but it doesn’t taste like Alfredo sauce to me and it clearly tastes like cauliflower. My 7mo liked the taste of the sauce though. I was hoping to have left overs for lunch this week, but this one may be headed for the compost heap. I love so many recipes on this site, but just not this one.

  2. martine
    06.06.2022

    5 stars
    Wouldn’t steamed cauliflower (as well as most all ‘cooked’ vegetables) be more nutritious -any easier to cook-than boiled and drained vegetables?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.11.2022

      Hi Martine, you can steam it if you’d like, I like to boil it for the texture of the sauce.

  3. Kristen
    05.23.2022

    4 stars
    I loved the flavour of this pasta! It really tasted like alfredo sauce. However, my sauce was a bit grainy. Do you know why this would be? How could I get a smoother texture? Is it just blending it for longer? I was using a Ninja blender.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.26.2022

      Hi Kristen, I think you could blend longer to see if it’ll get creamier. I haven’t had great luck with Ninja blenders and vegan creamy sauces.

  4. Carolyn
    05.20.2022

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I sauteed sliced mushrooms and quartered artichoke hearts and mixed them in with the finished pasta and sauce. Will make this again – delicious and so much lighter than traditional alfredo sauces

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.20.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  5. Silke F.
    05.12.2022

    5 stars
    What an easy, very delicious recipe. Nobody would guess there is cauliflower in this creamy sauce. The lemon juice gives a fresh twist. Maybe next time I’ll add some spinach, broccoli or peas to the pasta.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.15.2022

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  6. Colleen
    05.11.2022

    3 stars
    It was pretty good. I should have added more pasta water because it was quite thick when mixed with the pasta. I served it with roasted veggies and shredded chicken.

  7. Mary from Www.lighthousemeals.com
    04.24.2022

    5 stars
    Made this earlier in the week – everyone loved it and so easy to do. Will be keeping this one in the rotation for sure!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.27.2022

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  8. ashley
    03.18.2022

    I’m gluten free, and use Banza pasta… since its chickpea pasta, would you still use the pasta water? This looks too good not to try, but I’m curious if using gluten free pasta water would result in an altered flavor. Thank you!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.19.2022

      Hi Ashley, I haven’t tried this with Banza pasta… I think the flavor of the water should still be fine, so I would still use it.

  9. Lainey
    03.16.2022

    5 stars
    FINALLY got around to trying this recipe, after missing last months challenge and pic.
    So easy, so delicious wow. I stopped making the traditional recipe in the 90’s after seeing it referred to as a heart attack on a plate. This lighter version has brought me back to an old classic. Already shared the recipe with a friend to see if she can fool her 3 boys into eating cauliflower without knowing it. I’ll also try the vegan version – I didn’t know there was a vegan option will try it for sure. One tiny change for next time, I will lightly pre cook the garlic vs adding it raw – I love garlic but it doesn’t love me 😉 Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.16.2022

      Hi Lainey, I’m so glad you loved it! Thanks for sharing it too!

  10. Carrie McCormack
    02.28.2022

    5 stars
    I can’t believe how delicious this is – and how easy! Quick enough for a weeknight but fancy enough for date night. We had ours with salad and bread. Still delicious even the next day! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  11. Anna Forberg
    02.28.2022

    5 stars
    Delicious, and a healthy fettuccine option! Love!

  12. Susan Collison
    02.28.2022

    5 stars
    Who knew Fettuccini Alfredo could be heart healthy?!! I made the vegan recipe ~ what a lovely, creamy sauce the cauliflower and other ingredients made ~ I was impressed! I told my husband I felt like I had a playdate in my kitchen today! =)

    We have leftover lemon cake from your vegan recipe that I added blueberries to that we will enjoy when we’re not so full! What a blessing to have full tummies in these turbulent times.

  13. Cecilia Caughman
    02.28.2022

    Feel-good, easy recipe – would make again!

  14. Katie Lebow
    02.27.2022

    I loved how creamy this alfredo was without being too heavy. Delicious!

  15. Sarah Zuber
    02.27.2022

    5 stars
    Delicious flavor! I think I like this better than the dairy version of Alfredo sauce and that’s saying a lot!

  16. Jennie R
    02.26.2022

    5 stars
    Delish! Great way to have a healthier alfredo!

  17. Inessa Yurkin
    02.25.2022

    Already made this recipe twice in one week – it is so good! We had ours with grilled salmon on the side. I would have never thought to use cauliflower to make an Alfredo sauce, but it turned out so delicious! Both my husband and one year old loved it. 🙂

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.