How to make fettuccini alfredo healthy? Switch out the pasta for spiralized zucchini noodles!
Healthy Zucchini Alfredo
Fettuccini alfredo is such a decadent savory dish!
But regular fettuccini alfredo is not healthy–white pasta (made from wheat so contains gluten), no micronutrients, no fiber.
Enter zucchini! Just replacing the pasta with spiralized zucchini will boost the health factor of the alfredo a ton! Now you have dish loaded with micronutrients and fiber–no more empty calories!
I know what you are thinking… The cheese and sauce is not healthy–but did you know that it is not the dairy fat that is unhealthy (especially if it comes from grass-fed cows)? It is actually the milk protein (casein) that can cause issues… But don’t worry, I have a dairy free version! I have made this with almond milk and nutritional yeast and I thought it was delicious!
My kids LOVE this dish–especially getting to spiralize the zucchini!
¼ c Romano or Parmesan cheese (or 2 t nutritional yeast for dairy free)
salt and pepper to taste
Spiralize zucchini: use spiralizer on widest setting (this gives perfect texture and prevents mushy center noodles). If no spiralizer, use a potato peeler: cut off ends, use peeler down length of zucchini. Once they are in strips, stack them and cut them down the middle. (you can also buy spiralized zucchini in the produce department, but they are usually the thin “noodles”
Lay spiralized zucchini on a towel or paper towel, sprinkle with salt, let sit ~10-20 minutes to remove moisture
After moisture appears on noodles, blot spiralized zucchini with another towel to remove excess moisture.
Heat sauté pan over medium heat, add butter/ghee, sauté zucchini using tongs until softened or desired texture (try it! salt was already added, but add more to taste if needed!)
Remove zucchini from pan place in a bowl, drain off any moisture from pan.
Return pan to medium heat. Add butter/ghee and flour, mix to make roux. Once it forms a paste, whisk in milk
Add salt and pepper as desired, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally
When sauce is thickened, add cheese or nutritional yeast
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add zucchini to sauce, gently mix using tongs to coat in sauce.
Portion and serve! Pairs well with chicken!
Gluten Free: for roux use *2 T white rice flour OR *1 T butter/ghee + 1T cassava flour (cassava has more starch so less is needed, but it is grain-free)
Dairy Free: use ghee or your favorite butter substitute or olive oil, your favorite non-dairy milk and 2 t nutritional yeast instead of the cheese (can add more nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavor)
Want a little richer alfredo? Use 1½ c milk and ½ c heavy whipping cream or coconut cream instead of the 2 c milk
Is your child afraid of green? Try it with zucchini first (there is not much green), but if they won’t eat it, you can substitute spiralized yellow squash or you can peel some/all of the green outside off with a potato peeler and then spiralize it. Or substitute yellow squash!
Keywords: zucchini alfredo, healthy alfredo
Why this Zucchini Alfredo is HEALTHY!
Veggies like zucchini are packed with micronutrients–these are more than just vitamins and minerals but powerful plant compounds that improve health!
Zucchini has powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize free radicals and reactive oxygen species which damage cells and DNA.
Veggies like zucchini have fiber that is so important for our digestive systems! Fiber is something we can’t digest, but it helps to clean out our gut and also provides food for our microbiome!
Supports a Healthy Microbiome
Our microbiome is all the good bacteria in our gut–it does amazing things like providing protection, helping to digest food, supporting our immune system and making neurotransmitters (and MUCH more!). The good bacteria LOVES veggies like zucchini!
Healthy Fat: Butterfat
Butterfat or ghee is actually not an unhealthy fat as we had been told for years–especially if it is from grass-fed cows… It is low in omega-6 fatty acids which promote inflammation and has omega-3 fatty acids which lower inflammation, and it is heat stable so it does not break down when cooking!
This Zucchini Alfredo contains no gluten if using gluten free flour for the roux.
Gluten is a sticky protein that can cause Leaky Gut and promotes inflammation! Too much inflammation is like lighting your body on fire!!!
Some kids have a fear of green… Zucchini is a great “entry” green vegetable–it has a mild, sweet taste and the green is only on the outside. This dish is also a great way to introduce zucchini–the sauce is a lot like mac-n-cheese and they can interact with the zucchini while spiralizing, giving you an opportunity to talk them into trying it. If they are still resistant, you can use a potato peeler and peel off some (or all) of the green to start. When they decide they like the dish, you can peel off less and less of the green in subsequent meals.
Try a lick!
Sometimes a bite is a big commitment to kids, but getting them to try a lick is manageable! This Zucchini Alfredo tastes amazing, and if they take a lick and like it, then they are more likely to take a bite!
This Zucchini Alfredo is a great dish to let kids help with! Let them help spiralize the zucchini! Be sure to talk about the zucchini while you are spiralizing it: How beautiful it is, how healthy, and how yummy it will be when you cook it. Letting kids help gives them ownership over the dish and if they made it, they are more likely to try it!
Pharmacist, Chef, and Mother of Twins!
Hi! I’m Julie! When I’m not chasing my twins around, I am creating simple, healthy meals that busy moms and kids will love!
I’m here to help! If you are feeling overwhelmed about changing your diet, tired of scouring the internet for recipes that you think your family will eat, and stressed out from all the meal prep– I can help you!
You don’t have to do it alone! What if you had a Chef and Mother holding your hand as you took baby steps making healthy changes???