Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce

Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce at

Have you ever stumbled on a recipe that made you holler because it was so good? And then you’re shocked to find out that it’s low in calories and fat?

Yeah. No.

Neither had I until just a couple of days ago.

I was chatting with my friend and fellow food blogger, Mary Younkin of Barefeet in the Kitchen. She isn’t really given to hyperbole about recipes. She makes good food and is content to know and share it without promising the moon.  She started raving about a recipe she had posted a while back. When she does that, I’m going to listen. She was talking up a creamy cauliflower sauce that she promised was garlicky, thick, rich, and velvety smooth that “didn’t taste like cauliflower”. She said her boys –none of whom love cauliflower- watched her make the sauce, tasted it, and proceeded to inhale a batch even though they weren’t into cauliflower. I was sold enough to try it.

I have to tell you, this is a SHAZAAM recipe, friends. It is knock your socks off good. If I hadn’t made it myself, I never would’ve believed it had zero cream in it whatsoever. I would have sworn to you it had a sinful amount, in fact. How is this possible?

It’s really a simple process. Simmer the florets from a whole head of cauliflower until fork tender. While that’s simmering, sauté a generous amount of chopped garlic in a small amount of butter until tender and fragrant. Pop the garlic and butter into your blender and transfer the softened cauliflower in on top with a bit of the cooking liquid. Blitzkrieg it with some salt and pepper until smooth and then prepare to be wowed.

Thankfully, the recipe yields quite a bit, and is very freezer friendly. I say ‘thankfully’ because you’re going to find yourself wanting this just about everywhere. When the sauce is warm, toss it with freshly cooked pasta for a rich, creamy, satisfying pasta dish that is quite literally unbelievably good for you. It’s also mind-bendingly delicious when you spoon the warm sauce over roast or pan-fried pork or chicken. I have designs on pouring it over sausage biscuits, too, when the opportunity presents itself. Dip tortilla chips in it when it’s warm and you’d swear there’s cheese in there! I ate an entire bag of tortilla chips and a whole jar of warm sauce that way. It was research. Yeah. It was research. Hang on, though; it makes a great cold chip or vegetable tray dip, too.

If you think you can’t eat all of this up –and you may surprise yourself once you start nibbling- in three or so days, divide it into small, meal-sized servings (a cup will beautifully coat almost a pound of pasta once cooked and drained), label, and freeze for those inevitable moments when you crave it and your car is socked in by snow. Hey. It’s winter. It could happen.

(Pssst. With a VERY tiny adjustment, this sauce could be vegan making it a wonderful vegan stand in for Alfredo sauce or Carbonara. And bonus: it’s naturally gluten-free for those who have to worry about it!)

5 from 1 reviews
Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce
Your tastebuds won't believe it, but this rich, silky, Creamy Garlic Cauliflower sauce is insanely healthy! Toss it with hot pasta or use in place of 'white sauce' on a white pizza. Hooray! Recipe very gently adapted from and with thanks to Barefeet in the Kitchen.
  • 1 medium to large size head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
  • 6 cups water
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic (use 8 if your garlic cloves are small or closer to 5 if they’re quite large)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter (omit this and add another 1½ tablespoons of olive oil to make it vegan)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher or sea salt plus a pinch, separated
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Additional water, milk, or vegetable stock, if needed
  1. In a stockpot or large saucepan, combine the cauliflower florets and water over high heat. When it reaches boiling, put a lid on the pan and drop the heat to medium low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender.
  2. While the cauliflower is simmering, melt the butter and olive oil over medium low heat in a small saucepan and stir in the garlic and the pinch of salt. Cook the garlic, stirring frequently –and lowering the heat if necessary to keep it from browning- until the garlic is tender and smells lovely. Scrape the garlic and butter into a blender carafe. Add one cup of the cauliflower cooking liquid to the butter pan, swirl it, and pour that into the blender, too. Use a slotted spoon to drain the cauliflower and add it to the blender as well. Add the salt and black pepper, put the lid firmly in place, and blend on HIGH until silky smooth. If your blender is quite robust, this will only take a minute or so. If it’s a little anemic, it may take several minutes. If you find the sauce too thick for your liking, you can thin it just a bit with water, milk, or vegetable stock. I like it thicker, though, and so I omit this step.
  3. Serve immediately or pour into clean jars with tight fitting lids for storage in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can divide into meal sized portions and freeze for later meals.


  1. says

    Hooray!!! I’m thrilled that you like it as much as we do. That sauce is crazy good. I need to make another batch very soon. (the tortilla chips could be dangerous too!)

    • says

      Oh, Angie… You are going to LOVE it. I just dipped into a jar in the refrigerator with jalapeno kettle chips. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMm. Kind of undoes the ‘low carb’ effect when you eat it THAT way, but wowza.

  2. Rie says

    Looks great. I’m thinking if I add a little parmesan cheese, it might be a “lower calorie” alfredo. I have friends who are vegetarian/vegan. Now I know what I can serve them if they come over for dinner. (maybe not with the cheese for the vegan) Love that it freezes well. Cauliflower is going on the grocery list for sure this week.

  3. says

    I need to get my husband to try it. He is so anti-cauliflower, it’s ridiculous, but we’re looking for new pasta sauces that aren’t heavily dependent on cheese or tomatoes.

  4. Amy says

    Yum! Can’t WAIT to try it, because there has only ever been one recipe that did that to me (the Greek Salsa from Foodie With Family – you’ve GOTTA try it!), and it will do my heart good (in so many ways…) to have another one! Yay! Thanks for all the fabulous recipes….you totally rock, BTW.

    • says

      I’ve never had it make it past 4 days without being eaten, so my answer will be completely academic. I’d say to freeze anything you don’t plan on eating after 4 days. 😀

  5. Lori H says

    I made this last night & it was AMAZING!!! I served it with grilled chicken, penne pasta, oven roasted green beans & sourdough bread. It was delicious with everything & a big hit with the entire family. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Monica S says

    Made it tonight and WAY too peppery though I can taste that it would be really really nice with a lot less pepper.

  7. says

    i am new to canning..and have gotten so many recipes from you and your friends
    i just wanted to say thank you kindly..and can this be canned i wonder?
    (waves to everyone) <—————-new follower

    • says

      Hi Deanne,

      I’m going to be a no vote on canning this because it does have dairy (even though it is a small amount) and is both relatively low in acid and high in viscosity. In my experience it freezes well, though, so there’s that! 😀

  8. Jo-Ann says

    I just tried this with my first home-grown cauliflower of the season. DH won’t eat cauliflower, but it’s one of my favorites. Thought I’d try something new with the first one. As I;m writing this, I’m also cooking some thin spaghetti to go along with it. I also added a touch more butter during the blending – one can never have too much butter, and a little kosher slat & fresh pepper. I’m grate some fine Parmesan cheese on top.

    This is a real winner!!

  9. Chocolate Lady says

    This sauce is SHAZAM delicious! I just made it with an orange-hued cauliflower, and it blended into the loveliest, golden color. My kids and I have been eating it non-stop with slices of raw zucchini (which I had intended to saute first) and it is unbelievably good. I tracked down and read an article you wrote for an online paper and love the idea of using it as a pizza sauce, too. Thank you!!!

  10. Amanda says

    I just made this and I love it. It was a bit low keyed in flavor for my palate until I hit it lightly with lemon and now after eating it with tortilla chips I’m wondering how it would go with salsa. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Nats says

    WOW… I am always looking for ways to hide veggies from my 5 year old. He loves creamy pasta but we were advised to take him off diary and so when I saw this I decided to give it a try. He asked for seconds :-). And I have been using this for all kind of stuff! Very delish. I am a fan of garlic so I would use a more than what the recipe calls for. Thank you so much for this.

    • says

      Well… You could make something different with broccoli… But for this sauce you need cauliflower. It has a way of “disappearing” flavour wise that broccoli just can’t do.

  12. farhana says

    Wow!!!!! Im actually so impressed with this.its quik and incredibly tasty. .usually the recipes that ive tried on the internet that claim to be tasty arent always..but THiS!..its exceeded my expectations and I cant wait to share this site!thank you:)

  13. Jennifer says

    I’m not going to lie. I was skeptical.
    I don’t love cauliflower to begin with and the very idea that people even make mock mashed potatoes out of them has always seemed a bit absurd to me. However, because YOU raved about this recipe (and cauliflower was on sale), I decided to try it.
    OH. MY. GOSH! I can’t believe it. It’s ridiculously good! I think I overdid the garlic this time, but oh well! We’re having Stromboli tonight and I’ll serve it along side as a dipping sauce. I’m thinking this may be my ‘go to’ white sauce from now on….
    Thank you!

  14. says

    This stuff is great! I am trying to find a good squash or something to grate and pour this heavenly sauce on it! Yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Brandalynn says

    Thank you SO much for this recipe!! It is DELICIOUS and EXACTLY what I was hoping for. We do our best to eat as much whole-food vegan as possible so I subbed out the oil and butter for twice as much vegetable broth and instead of using a cup of the boiled cauliflower water, I used a cup of cashew milk. Creamy, somehow cheesy and very satisfying :) Blessings!!

  16. Renate Shepherd says

    Wow, I just made this as I was craving pasta but didn’t want a heavy sauce. This is wonderful, I might try some different spices next time but will definitely make it again. Thank you from northern Canada. :-)R


  1. […] Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce by Foodie With Family.  This is one of my all-time favorite recipes – it tastes AMAZING and is healthy to boot.  This is the reason I selected cauliflower as my volunteer gift.  I will pour this AMAZING sauce over Grilled Chicken and Penne pasta.  If we have any leftovers, we will dip all manner of fresh veggies, crackers, Jalapeno chips, the sky is the limit with this addicting sauce.  It also freezes sell.  Oh, and did I tell you it was AMAZING?!  It’s that good!  If you only try one recipe from my list, this is the ONE! […]

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