Why healthy Alfredo sauce?
I love to cook and I love the idea of preparing healthy meals. I have been following the 21-Day Fix eating plan on and off for just over 1-year. It helps me balance portion sizes and the right mix of food groups. I feel great when I stick to the plan, especially with some exercise.
I try to eat healthy, but comfort food tastes great and sometimes it’s just good for the soul after a stressful day. Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my all-time favorite comfort meals. The traditional recipe uses butter and heavy cream and this is served over pasta. Unfortunately, the comfort feeling doesn’t last long and tends to turn into a bloated feeling and state of guilt for me. Fear not, comfort food can be adapted into a healthier, feel better version. I have tried several ‘healthy’ Alfredo sauce recipes and have found the recipe provided in the link below to be a great base. Think of the recipe as a really nice blank canvas. You are the artist who gets throw on the color and design the finished product exactly to your taste.
Don’t get me wrong, I love carbs too and can’t give them up. However, I do try to manage my carb intake (that little yellow box is way too tiny fellow 21-Day Fixers!). I recently purchased a spiralizer and really enjoy using it to prepare ‘zoodles’ (zucchini) or even better yet, daikon radish noodles. Seems strange (pungent smell), but perfect base for a creamy sauce. Even better than pasta with a creamy, heavier sauce. Try it!
How do you prepare a satisfying meal with a healthy Alfredo sauce?
A great 21-Day Fix version of Alfredo sauce. Check out this great link.
Ingredients for a basic Alfredo sauce:
- 1-1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 4 Tablespoons low fat milk or almond milk
- spices (garlic powder, salt, pepper) can be added if you don’t follow the variations outlined below; go light with the salt as the base flavor can be salty from the Parmesan
Instructions for Alfredo sauce preparation:
- Mix cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese in a saucepan or dutch oven (I LOVE my Dansk Kobenstyle cookware)
- Heat on medium-low, mixing just until the Parmesan cheese melts. Temperature is key. Be patient (I know this is hard after a long day of work). Be warned, if you overheat everything separates. Please be patient, it really only takes a few minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly and carefully transfer the sauce to a blender. Ensure bottom is attached tightly to prevent leaking. I’m thinking about trying an immersion blender the next time I prepare this recipe, which is probably next week!
- Puree the Alfredo sauce in the blender, adding the milk to get the desired consistency. Don’t make it too watery, you have another opportunity to add more milk when you reheat the sauce.
- Transfer the sauce back to saucepan or dutch oven, add any protein or vegetables that you may have prepared (see quick meal tips and recipe variations below).
- Serve over pasta, zoodles , or Daikon radish noodles.
Tips for quick meal preparation
- Spiralize the zucchini or daikon radish (one radish serves 2-3) before starting the sauce.
- Prepare the sauce as outlined above (mix ingredients and heat over medium-low heat).
- While the sauce is cooling in the saucepan or dutch oven (just slightly for safe transfer to the blender) on the stove-top, boil the water.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree. Add oil (vegetable, coconut or other) to the saucepan or dutch oven and cook the shrimp, chicken, and/or vegetables. See below for recommended combinations.
- I cook the ‘noodles’ while the meat and vegetables are cooking.
- I then pour the sauce over the cooked meat and vegetables in the saucepan or dutch oven and reheat gently medium-low heat.
- Serve over drained noodles.
- Once everything is cleaned, sliced and diced, the meal prep time is about 15 to 20-minutes
- I even manage the dirty dish load with these steps….Just a saucepan and the blender for prep. Bonus!
Additions for a variety of dinners building on the healthy Alfredo sauce base
Version 1: Healthy Creole Shrimp Alfredo
- While the noodles are cooking, saute shrimp with coconut or other oil over medium-low heat in saucepan or dutch oven.
- Add parsley and 1tsp (more to flavor) of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning (see link below).
- Cook until the shrimp are just pink. Vegetables can be added at this point (red peppers, red onions, use your imagination).
- Add Alfredo sauce to shrimp, heat gently.
- Serve over vegetable noodles or pasta. This is FANTASTIC over daikon radish noodles.
Version 2: Healthy Chicken, Spinach, and Red Pepper Alfredo
- While the noodles are cooking, saute chicken with coconut or other oil over medium-low heat in saucepan or dutch oven.
- Add garlic, red pepper and spinach.
- Cook until no pink remains in the chicken.
- Season with fresh basil or pesto (approximately 1 teaspoon). Sprinkle red pepper flakes for dash of heat.
- Add Alfredo sauce to chicken and vegetable mix, heat gently.
- Serve over vegetable noodles or pasta.
Version 3: Healthy Vegetarian Alfredo
- While the noodles are cooking, saute vegetables with coconut or other oil over medium-low heat in saucepan or dutch oven.
- My favorite combination is garlic, mushroom, red pepper, red onion, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Green beans and fresh tomatoes from your garden are another great option.
- Season with fresh or dry herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil or pesto (approximately 1 teaspoon). Sprinkle red pepper flakes for dash of heat.
- Add Alfredo sauce to vegetable mix, heat gently.
- Serve over vegetable noodles or pasta. With all of the veggies, I prefer this version over traditional pasta. A girl needs her carbs!
I would love to hear about your Healthy Alfredo artwork.
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