Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

I’m introducing you today to the creamy, garlicky white sauce that has completely floored me. Don’t let the cauliflower in the title scare you away.

Seriously, this sauce is so fantastic; I made it for the first time and couldn’t stop eating it by the spoonful. (If I called this soup, would that sound less strange?)

My non-cauliflower-loving children leerily watched me make this and then declared that it smelled so good, they wanted to taste it straight from the blender.

I gave each of them a spoonful and they immediately asked for more. One of the first comments from my boys was, “oh, mom! what are you going to do with this sauce? I bet it would be great for macaroni and cheese!”

This sauce has an amazing flavor, an unforgettable, rich and creamy, buttery garlic loaded flavor that I just can’t get enough of. While it is similar to traditional Italian white sauce in both taste and texture, it is still made from cauliflower.

And while my children raved over it (despite their former dislike of cauliflower), it does have a hint of cauliflower flavor beneath the buttery garlic. So, don’t expect a traditional alfredo flavor.

That said, right now I’d choose this over any other white sauce. The fact that it is a healthier option? That’s just a huge bonus.

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

I made the sauce again twice in the same week, because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve served this sauce over baked chicken and sauteed vegetables; I stirred it into pasta and cheesy rice too. I poured a batch into jars and it kept nicely in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

I ran across this recipe a few months ago on Pinch of Yum. Like many other awesome recipes and food ideas, I put it on my list and then added another 100 or so ideas to the list above and below it.

This recipe would not be forgotten though. It kept popping up on Pinterest and taunting me on Facebook. Lindsay is even writing a cookbook centered around recipes using this sauce. Is the sauce really worth all this discussion? Yes. Undoubtedly, YES.

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Recipe barely adapted from and with thanks to Pinch of Yum
Pin Print Review
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients 

  • 1 large head of cauliflower about 5 cups small florets
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Optional: tablespoon of olive oil sprinkling of Parmesan

Instructions

  • Place the water and the cauliflower in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain. Saute the garlic with the butter in a small skillet over medium low heat. Cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and soft.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked cauliflower to the blender. Add 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the cauliflower, along with the cooked garlic and butter from the skillet, the salt and the pepper. Puree until completely smooth. Depending on how powerful your blender is, this could take a few minutes. Add the milk and pulse to combine. You can adjust the milk according to how liquid you want the sauce to be. ¼ cup was perfect for me. If you won't be serving this immediately, let cool and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Serve hot. Enjoy!
  • FREEZER MEAL: Portion the cooled sauce into freezer safe containers or ziploc freezer bags. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating in a skillet over low heat on the stove-top, stirring frequently.
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Years ago my mother pureed cauliflower in the blender. She added kitchen bouquet and made a "to die for" brown gravy. Wish I'd gotten the recipe!

    • Allison says

      I haven't looked more recently on this blog for the recipe you remember from your mother but I just did a Yahoo search and came up with several recipes for it.

  2. Mike says

    I will be trying this. But, I had a thought after reading the recipe. You said there is a hint of cauliflower in the finished sauce. It might be from using the cooking liquid. If you switch it out for fresh water, it could eliminate it. Usually, the cooking liquid of vegetables will have a bitterness to it.

    • Mary says

      It should work fine that way as well. (Just be sure to use very hot water.) I imagine that you could also use chicken or vegetable broth. The recipe is very adaptable.

  3. Candice says

    I found your blog a few days ago, right before I bought my blender. We have already made several of your recipes, but this is the one that convinced me to keep my blender! I even used unsweetened almond milk in this and it was still amazing! Thanks so much for your persistence to put up a recipe everyday- that is quite an incredible thing! Have a marvelous week!

  4. Jose Ramos says

    this is Béchamel sauce also known as white sauce, is made with a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine. no need for all the cauliflower mess and blending.

    • Earth.Faery. says

      This is not a Bechamel. There is no flour and only a small amount of milk, whereas Bechamel has a large amount of cream or milk in it. The "cauliflower mess" is the base of the sauce, and what i imagine gives it a good thickness without needing flour.

  5. Anonymous says

    The great part of this sauce, is how wonderful to find such a healthy versatile one that is "Gluten Free" and NOT like a White sauce that is made with flour that those of us can't have or is too rich and fattening! What a perfect blend! TYSVM! I will be sure to hunt down your other recipes mention by others here listed definitely! 🙂

  6. Anonymous says

    Just made it and it is GREAT!!! I added a little rice bran oil to the butter when I sauted the garlic. It raises the burning point of butter. Instead of just milk, I added half n' half to give it a little richness. Also I pulsed in a generous pinch of grated parmesan cheese (not the cheap stuff in a can). This could be the base for a seafood chowder too. Would be nice served over steamed broccoli. Béchamel sauce, as suggested by another reader, can be VERY rich and hard to digest all that!! I believe your cauliflower white sauce is a REAL HIT!!!

  7. delynnpar says

    Is there a dairy free variety? Aside from substituting Almond or Coconut milk for the milk has anyone tried any fat other than butter? Several true dairy allergies in my family.

    • Heather says

      I made it without any milk at all and it was great. I used a couple of vegie stock cubes and left out the salt.

    • Anonymous says

      delynnpar: Substitute real butter with dairy-free butter alternatives; Fleischmanns UNSALTED margarine, Earth Balance or Smart Balance (make sure it's the lactose/dairy free, there are different varieties.

  8. Nicole says

    I half the garlic and this is an AWESOME alfredo alternative (milk allergy-can't do regular alfredo) Actually have made this lots in the last few months! And it's SO much healthier!

  9. Jean says

    I made this tonight and put it on the seasoned baked cod we had for supper. It was really good. My family was reluctant to try it, but I was pleased. I'm doing weight watchers and 1/2 cup was only 1 points plus. That's a skinny gravy! i was almost glad they were reluctant. All the more for me! Froze most of the leftovers for another night, leaving a little out for the next couple days for veggies. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary says

      I bet it would be fantastic roasted. (I love roasted cauliflower already!) Just use hot water in the sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed.

  10. Anonymous says

    I made this with olive oil instead of butter and it turned out great! I also subbed hot water for the cooking water and I didn't think the sauce had any cauliflower flavor at all! I also never added milk because it was liquidy enough after I blended the cauliflower with just the water. I used the sauce on pasta & asparagus and found adding some fresh squeezed lemon juice added more depth of flavor.