Recipe: Cauliflower-Parsnip “Alfredo” Sauce

Monday, November 11, 2013

curry dip

By Catherine Cioffi, RD Contributing Blogger

Cauliflower is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. Did you know that there are four different color varieties of this cruciferous veggie? Here’s a unique “Alfredo” sauce made with pureed cauliflower and parsnips—two vegetables that are coming into season during the fall and winter months.

Compared to traditional Alfredo sauces made with butter and cheese, this healthier alternative is lower in calories, fat, and sodium. The nutrition breakdown speaks for itself:

  • Jarred Alfredo Sauce (per ½ cup): 220 calories, 20 grams total fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 820 milligrams sodium.
  • Cauliflower-Parsnip “Alfredo” (per ½ cup): 58 calories, 3.5 grams total Fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 154 milligrams sodium. (recipe below)

 

Cauliflower-Parsnip “Alfredo” Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 5 cups
Serving size: ½ cup
Serves: 10

6 cups water
½ large head, or 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 3 cups)
2 medium parsnips, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup low-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini paste (optional)
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Add 6 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add chopped cauliflower and parsnips, cover, and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to blender or food processor, along with 2 cups of the remaining starchy water they were cooked in.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

Add the cooked garlic, almond milk, Greek yogurt, tahini paste (if using), onion powder, salt, and black pepper to the blender or food processor. Blend on medium-high speed until creamy, about 5 minutes. For a thinner sauce, add an additional ½ to 1 cup of the almond milk.

Use sauce right away on cooked pasta, vegetable, and beans. The sauce can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a resealable container or frozen for up to 4 weeks in a freezer-safe container.

Nutrition Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 58, Total Fat: 3.5 grams, Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams, Protein 2.0 grams, Total Carbohydrates: 5.8 grams, Fiber: 1.8 grams; Sugar: 1.6 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 154 milligrams

 

4 More Ways To Use Cauliflower-Parsnip “Alfredo” Sauce

  • Toasted Vegetable Gratin: Pre-roast a variety of cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Combine vegetables with the sauce, then top with whole wheat breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Toast under the broiler until browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Fall Soup: Add 1 cup of cooking water instead of 2 cups to the blender when pureeing the sauce. The final product has a slightly thicker consistency—perfect as a creamy vegetable soup! Top with oven-roasted chickpeas or homemade croutons.
  • Creamy Polenta Stacks: Pre-grill sliced polenta rounds, Portobello mushrooms, and sliced eggplant. In a casserole dish, create “stacks” of polenta, mushrooms, and eggplant with sliced tomato and spoon the creamy sauce between each layer.
  • Shepherd’s Pie Twist: For the bottom layer, sauté ground meat (such as lean turkey). Drizzle the sauce over cooked meat, then top with mashed sweet potatoes.

 

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