Jump to content

substitute for heavy cream?

Erica Hicks

Recommended Posts

I found this recipe and was thinking about trying it out with some zucchini noodles if I could find a substitute for the heavy cream. Any suggestions?

Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

Author: Pinch of Yum

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 8


  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 3 small heads cauliflower
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup starchy boiling water from pasta pot


  • Chop the cauliflower. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium high heat and add cauliflower. Cook until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes. In my experience, the longer you cook it, the smoother the sauce will be. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
  • As the garlic and cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the fettuccine according to directions on package, reserving some of the starchy water to add to the sauce later.
  • Transfer cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of the broth. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Add the sauteed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and puree until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture is moving, stream the olive oil into the blender. Add more broth or water if the mixture is too thick to move through the blender. You want it to turn through the blender easily. When puree is very smooth, transfer back to the butter/garlic skillet.
  • Add the cream and cook over low heat. Add the starchy pasta water (or regular water if you're not making pasta) and keep warm until ready to serve. Combine noodles and sauce in a large pot or skillet and serve immediately.


The sauce will “dry out†a little bit as it cools on the pasta. Adding a little water to the leftovers will help make it creamy again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I am guessing you have serious kitchen skills. I encourage you to avoid recreating favorite old foods with healthier ingredients. I am not saying you can never take an old recipe and adjust it to make it work during a Whole30, but beware of the classic dishes where your adjustment will be a shadow of the original.

You could substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream, ghee for the butter, and zucchini noodles for the pasta, but I am concerned this is a Sex With Your Pants On recipe, an Italian version of Paleo pancakes. Using healthy ingredients does not resolve the psychological issues of eating so close an iconic, indulgent dish. This kind of food sets you up for going back to your old foodie ways after 30 days and suffering with cravings along the way. Besides, even a healthy version does not measure up as a Whole30 meal. Whole30 meals start with a serving of protein and then fills the plate with vegetables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good points, thanks --- I am very new the the Whole30, and have not quite finished reading the book, but am working on Day 6. I was just looking for some recipes to try out on this adventure and plan out some meals. I do feel fairly confident in the kitchen, and am always willing to try something new. I thought this might be a fun one to try, and probably add some chicken or shrimp and maybe broccoli too it as well, if there was a good substitute (thanks for your suggestion by the way).

But you are right, I should probably wait until after the 30days to give this recipe a try. Too much like the real thing might get me wanting the real thing. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like that would make a nice cream of cauliflower soup base.... You could add a large dice of chicken ,sliced mushrooms, diced carrots and julienned spinach .....would be nothing like SWYPO pasta and probably delish.... As long as creamy soups aren't a trigger for you...

On second thought that sounds like I'd eat the whole damn pot so never mind and listen to Tom. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to go against the mods ;) but I think this would make a nice side dish along with e.g. a steak. I'd do the cooking of the cauliflower in less stock, and blend it to make the sauce, and fry the garlic with the courgette "noodles". Then mix the two together, plus spices. But I'm not familiar with the traditional version of this recipe so wouldn't notice/mind the differences!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...