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:
4.99 from 53 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.

65 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Heidi
    10.25.2021

    What DF parma cheese do you recommend as a substitute – one that tastes close to the real thing?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.25.2021

      Hi Heidi, here’s my vegan variation of this recipe, it uses raw cashews instead of store-bought DF parmesan and I love this recipe exactly the same as the cheese version: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-alfredo-sauce/

      I haven’t come across a DF parmesan that I like – I think they all taste pretty terrible, if I’m being honest. I love our vegan parmesan, for sprinkling on top of all types of dishes. It’s delicious, but it won’t melt into the sauce like cheese does, so I still recommend the above link for the sauce in this particular recipe. https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-parmesan-cheese/

      Hope that helps!

  2. Donna
    09.22.2021

    Can I substitute frozen cauliflower or is it much better with fresh?

  3. Dana
    09.15.2021

    5 stars
    I absolutely loved this recipe. I didn’t add the lemon and I swapped out the butter for organic vegan butter and instead of regular pasta, I used a really good GF pasta. It was so tasty. I added a bunch of veggies to the dish.

  4. Linda
    06.23.2021

    5 stars
    I made this without the Parm but rather used a Parm substitute as it is not vegetarian. It all came together beautifully! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.24.2021

      Hi Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Maya
    04.19.2021

    5 stars
    So delicious, I made it for my fussy eaters and they smashed it. They didn’t notice it’s made from cauliflower 😉
    I just need to put less garlic next time.

  6. Jennifer
    04.08.2021

    Do you think this could work with subbing the butter with olive oil only?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.08.2021

      yep! I think that’ll be fine.

  7. Dollianne Lipman
    03.21.2021

    5 stars
    WoW so delicious! beyond what any expectations. Thanks for another great recipe

  8. Cathy
    03.01.2021

    5 stars
    This was so good and ridiculously easy! Would have no idea there was almost a pound of cauliflower in it. The flavors are amazing.
    I actually made it a little easier for myself by scooping the cauliflower out of the boiling water and into the blender, and then just throwing the pasta into that boiling water rather than draining the r cauliflower.
    Will definitely make it again! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.02.2021

      Hi Cathy, I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Milena
    02.28.2021

    My 4 and 1 year old loved it. This will be in our regular rotation, for sure. I just want to eat that sauce by the spoonful! I

  10. Robyn
    02.13.2021

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner and WOW!

  11. olivia
    02.01.2021

    I don’t have any cauliflower, can I use broccoli instead?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.01.2021

      Hi Olivia, it might! I haven’t tried – it won’t be as creamy but the sauce might still be a tasty green pasta sauce.

  12. D Robinson
    02.01.2021

    5 stars
    This was amazing!!! My son and hubby who are avid cauliflower haters ate the lot and asked for seconds!! As we were tidying up, they asked what was in it… they couldn’t believe it was cauliflower.
    Definitely a new family favourite 🤩

  13. Emma
    02.01.2021

    5 stars
    Such a great substitute – I cannot eat cream and my family loves Alfredo … so usually I am stuck with tomato sauce while they indulge! But this was delicious and we could all eat it.

  14. Lis
    01.23.2021

    5 stars
    LOVED! So delish. I haven’t had Alfredo sauce in years ( eggs and diary). Used vegan parm and Miyoko’s vegan butter. Yummy.
    Question: can I freeze extra sauce? How long will it stay fresh in fridge.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.24.2021

      Hi Lis, I’m glad you loved it! The sauce should keep for a couple of days in the fridge. I haven’t tried freezing it, so I’m not sure.

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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.