You have to taste Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce to believe that something so low in calories can taste so unbelievably indulgent and rich. This is a family favourite!
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?
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 or coconut or olive oil until tender and fragrant. And boy, is it fragrant.
Pop the garlic and whichever fat you used 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 Creamy Garlic Cauliflower 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 the VERY tiny adjustment of using olive oil or Earth Balance instead of butter, this sauce is 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!)
- There really isn’t a whole lot to this, just keep your cauliflower spears roughly the same size so they soften at the same rate.
- Boil the cauliflower until it changes in color while the stems look semi translucent and a paring knife slides easily into a thick portion of stem.
- I use a colander scoop to remove my cauliflower from the pan, but you can just as easily pour it into a colander positioned over another pan to catch the water. You’ll need to reserve 1 cup of the cooking water to rinse the goods from the pan you used to cook the garlic in olive oil or butter into the blender.
- DO EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN BLENDING! It will be hot. The safest way to do this is to remove the little vent top and place a folded towel over it. This will allow steam to escape and prevent hot Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce from exploding all over your kitchen.
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Use these to make Creamy Garlic Cauliflower Sauce
- Blendtec Blender
- Scoop Colander
- Paring Knife
- Weck Liter Tulip Jar
- Stainless Steel Slotted Spoon
- 12-inch Every Day Pan
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
Are you crazy for cauliflower? Try these other great recipes using the pretty white brassica: Low Carb Cauliflower Croque Monsieur, Winter Vegetable Soup Recipe with Butternut Squash and Cauliflower, Cauliflower Crust Vegetarian Pizza, and Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn.
Creamy Garlic Cauliflower SauceRate Recipe
- 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 olive oil butter, or Earth Balance
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
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This post was originally published on December 12, 2013.
Omg this came out so delicious, thank you<3333
You’re so welcome, Kimberly! I’m so glad you love it!
Jennifer M says
Ok for real, this has no business being as good as it is! It doesn’t “taste like alfredo” but it’s delicious and makes a creamy sauce that actually coats pasta. I made this for my post without lunch today and I am shooketh. It will be going into regular rotation as my daughter and I are both trying to lose weight and she has a dairy sensitivity. The nutrition that comes from using cauliflower is just so awesome too. I used Country Crock plant butter with olive oil and simplified the process by trimming off the leaves of the cauliflower head and throwing it whole into my Instant Pot with a half cup of water to pressure cook for 15 minutes. Ten probably would have been sufficient, because it was very soft and easy to blend. The liquid left in the bottom of my IP was the perfect amount for rinsing out the garlic pan. I have never had any vegan dish I liked so much. THANK YOU!
I’m so glad you love it, Jennifer! Thanks so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you love it!
Paul S says
Really sumptuous and delicious.. thank you for sharing. Plan on using the sauce as an alternative to Béchamel as others have suggested or maybe swirled in to mashed potatoes 😁👍
Thank you so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you love it, Paul! It makes a great Béchamel sauce!
Hi, this sounds great. I was wanting to use it in a recipe for ravioli lasagna and I needed to know how much is in each serving, or how much all together this makes. I understand that it is a bit dependent on the size of the cauliflower. Could you give me an approximate number of cups/ounces?
Thank you in advance!
Could I can this in a waterbath to make it shelf stable?
I’m sorry, Janine, but there are a couple of reasons this is not suitable for canning. First and most importantly is the low acidity. That would make it susceptible to bacterial/microbial growth that could be dangerous. Second, the fat in this could go rancid pretty easily once destabilized in the cooking process.
I could not believe of amount of advertisement that I have to go through to get to recipe. I’m not surprised that people don’t want to cook if they spend 20min just to get to simple recipe….
Hey M. The ads on here pay for the money I pay up front for web hosting, technical help, web design, business expenses including camera equipment, ingredients, kitchen equipment, my time, and many other things. I provide it to you for the low-low cost of scrolling. If you’d prefer to pay up front, you’re welcome to purchase my cookbooks which are ad free.
Caitlin W says
Jeeze, just click “Jump to Recipe” at the top. Those are some first world problems.
So, so good! We had some meatballs and I didn’t know what to serve with them. My husband said “why don’t you make a cauliflower white sauce?” I’m not sure where he came up with the idea but I found your recipe and it was perfect. I added about 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese but that’s the only thing I changed. I love the idea of putting it on pizza. I have to do gluten free and avoid (cow) cheese so pizza isn’t usually that great. This will make up for what I can’t eat. Thank you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you loved it, Karen! I’m awfully glad you found me and I love the idea of this sauce with meatballs!
Just made this and it’s soo delicious !
I’m so glad you love it, Lissette!!
joy clayton says
Sounds fab. Question, could I COOK with this sauce? Eg. Make lasagna or eggplant?
Hi Jon! I’ve used it quite successfully in “white lasagna”. 🙂
tom nicholson says
i would like to make sauce to cover the califlower how would i make that
Hi Tom- One batch of this should cover a head of cauliflower!
Have you used this sauce in a lasagna before? as a substitute for a bechmel sauce? I have recently had my gallbladder out am looking for a substitute for the moment.
Hi Hayley! I have not tried it in a lasagna, but my instinct is that it would work quite well! If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out for you. Feel better soon!!
This sauce works very well in lasagne – and even freezes well as it doesn’t separate like bechamel does.
It’s my preferred sauce for any lasagne (veggie, Turkey, beef/pork or chicken)
Works with absolutely anything 😊
Thanks for letting us know it works super well for you, Fiona!!!!xoxoxox
Why can’t you give the complete nutrition facts. Please do..
Hi KB, I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I want to be. I have a plug-in that calculates the nutritional facts based on the number of servings in the dish and adds the information to the post automatically. If you’d like a more complete nutritional breakdown, please feel free to plug the ingredients into one of the many free nutritional calculators available on the internet. 🙂
Made this, Loved it!!!!! So easy and incredibly delicious! I am not a cauliflower fan, but this sauce is fantastic! Just one question- the ingredients states 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil butter or Earths Balance. However in the Cooks Notes it states in step 3 olive oil or butter. Then in the directions in step 2 it says olive oil and butter. I made with butter and olive oil at 1 1/2 tablespoons each, not sure if that was correct or not, looking for clarification! Still delicious! Thank you!!
Hey Katie! Thanks so much. And yes. I need to clarify that a bit, but you can use Earth Balance, olive oil, or butter. It’s all up to you. 🙂
I just can’t get over how incredibly tasty this sauce is, given how few ingredients it has and how bland they seem separately. It’s become the staple bechamel sauce in our house, and we’ve made it a dozen times since I first found it. You are not exaggerating with regard to how magical it is – just wow. Thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re so welcome, Sandra. It’s amazing to me, too, just how so few ingredients can create such a “round” flavour!
If I weren’t doing a three day detox now, I’m on day 2, I’d do this right now as it is the dinner hour and I have a head of the veggie in my fridge!
This was delish! I made it because i had planned spaghetti and meatballs but didn’t have ingredients for marinara. This was better – it was like a creamy Alfredo – and didn’t give me heartburn! LOL. I had a huge head of cauliflower so it made a ton. Already thinking of what I’ll use it for! My hubby said he could drink it! And my boys both thought it was gravy!! We’re all in love!! Thanks!
Thanks so much for the great review, Corina! I really appreciate it and I’m so glad you loved it.
It is quite amazing that I stumbled upon this page and recipe! I made roasted cauliflower with butter and garlic a few days ago that came out so creamy, garlicky and amazing that I was already picturing it as a soup and sauce… I prepared the garlic and butter in the same way before tossing in the cauliflower and 2tbsp water and baking/roasting it. It was the first empty dish that night, and we were fighting over the last tiny morsels! I can’t wait to try it this way!
Thanks so much, Martina! I think you’re going to go crazy for this recipe!