Saturday, September 14, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

I first came across this recipe on Pinterest. There are several recipes out there for cauliflower sauce but I adapted this one from Pinch of Yum. It is designed to be a healthy version of Alfredo sauce. It's a clever use of cauliflower and a great way to add more vegetables into your diet. The sauce can be very versatile but I usually serve it over pasta topped with sliced chicken and Parmesan cheese. While this meant to be like an Alfredo, it will not taste like Alfredo. Alfredo is rich and buttery and the cauliflower sauce is light and, well, tastes like cauliflower! To me, it's the perfect guilt-free sauce, because I can pile it on without  thinking about the calories. And it's husband approved!

The sauce does pose a small challenge. Cauliflower isn't the most flavorful vegetable, so you have to incorporate as much flavor as possible into a very simple dish. The original recipe calls for 5-6 cups (or a whole head) of cauliflower to be boiled in 6-7 water or vegetable broth. I do not suggest using water because it won't add as much flavor to the dish. You can, you just won't get the same results. I felt it would be wasteful to make or buy all that vegetable stock when only 1 cup gets incorporated into the sauce. So, I decided to infuse the water before adding the cauliflower by making a quick broth in the same pot. In a dutch oven, I added 5-6 cups of water, a small onion, carrot, celery, garlic, a bay leaf and salt. Quarter the onion and chop the carrot into big pieces. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the cauliflower and boil for 10 minutes or until tender.

After preparing the cauliflower, it is pureed in the blender with delicious garlic butter, milk and broth. I served this sauce over pasta with with a side salad and garlic bread. This is a great make ahead sauce that reheats and freezes well. Here is the recipe to this delicious sauce:

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
Adapted from Pinch of Yum


6-7 cups water
Vegetables to create a broth: 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1 small onion, 1 smashed clove of garlic and 1 bay leaf.
5 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced finely
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 head of cauliflower florets
1/2 cup of milk


1.  In a dutch oven, bring to boil water, carrot, onion, 1 clove garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender.

2. To prepare the garlic, melt butter in a 12-inch skillet (this is the skillet you will return the sauce to). Peel, smash and finely chop the garlic. Add the garlic to the melted butter and saute only until the garlic is fragrant. It only takes about 30 seconds. If you cook the garlic longer, you run the risk of browning it. Browning or overcooking garlic will make it bitter. You just want to soften the garlic and release the flavor.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower florets to blender along with the garlic butter, 1 cup of broth and milk. Puree until smooth adding more milk or broth if needed. You may need to blend in two batches depending on the size of your blender. Pour sauce into skillet and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn on low heat and keep warm until ready to serve. You can add more broth or milk if needed and depending on the consistency you want. If you want a thin sauce add more liquid. If the sauce gets dry, add more broth, milk, butter or olive oil. Serve over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese* if desired.

*Parmesan cheese goes really well with this sauce. However, it will not melt into the sauce so I suggest just adding a sprinkle on top.

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