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Alfredo sauce can easily be made healthier.
While Alfredo sauce may be delicious, it tends to be too high in fat and calories to be considered healthy, with about 220 calories and 20 grams of fat per 1/2-cup serving. Replacing the heavy cream in your typical Alfredo sauce recipe with a healthier alternative will allow you to get that Alfredo taste without going over your recommended fat and calories for the day.
Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
One of the more obvious substitutions for heavy cream is half and half, but you can also use evaporated milk. You can keep the Alfredo sauce extra creamy by mixing low-fat or non-fat versions of sour cream, plain yogurt, Greek yogurt or cream cheese with either chicken broth or milk to get your sauce the proper consistency. Greek yogurt will provide more protein than regular yogurt. The exact ratio of ingredients depends on the option you choose and how thick you would like your sauce.
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
Vegetarians or people who want to avoid the saturated fat in dairy products can use pureed cauliflower in place of the heavy cream found in most Alfredo recipes. "Eating Well" recommends a mix of chicken broth, white wine, onions and rice pureed after cooking as a "no cream" cream sauce. Another alternative is to use a common vegan alternative to heavy cream -- cashew cream -- as the base of your sauce. This cream is made by soaking raw cashews overnight and blending them with water until creamy. Although this option is a bit higher in fat, it is mainly the healthy monounsaturated fat. Eating nuts can help you decrease your low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, along with your risk for heart disease.
Other Ways to Make Alfredo Sauce Healthier
Using a small amount of olive oil instead of butter will mean most of the fat in your sauce are the healthier unsaturated type, especially if you use one of the non-dairy alternatives to heavy cream. Opt for low-sodium chicken broth to keep your Alfredo sauce heart-healthy, since regular chicken broth can be really high in sodium.
Making the Overall Dish Healthier
You can increase the fiber in your Alfredo sauce by using whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, or use a vegetable peeler to make zucchini "noodles" to use instead of regular pasta to help you fit more vegetables into your meal. Adding broccoli, pureed white beans or other vegetables will lower the energy density and increase the fiber in the dish. Also, watch your portion size, as even a healthier dish can provide a lot of calories if you eat too much of it.