Soup Alfredo For The Soul. Does anyone else feel like that should have been the title of those books? I mean soup is great but Alfredo sauce. Best comfort food around.
I don’t claim to be a great cook, but I do know my way around a kitchen & have gotten infinitely better with practice since I met my husband, Matty. It’s grown to be something I enjoy and constantly work at – trying new recipes and perfecting the ones I have down. So I guess it’s true what they say about meals made with love, because my Alfredo sauce is outta this world.
Chicken Alfredo is a dish I really miss enjoying, as I eat fairly healthy these days. So, recently, I set out to see if I could modify it to make it not quite so calorific. After a couple attempts, I’m happy to say I’ve done it!
But to really understand how to modify this recipe, you have to first see what you’re substituting. I’m going to show you how to make an Alfredo sauce that would make your Italian mother-in-law proud. Then, I’ll share the secret to modifying this recipe to make it into a dish you can eat a little more often.
Even Matty enjoys the healthier version but after trying my attempt batches the last several weeks, he begged me for a cheat day with the real deal. Cajun-style. I obliged.
Start by cutting half a pound of chicken into cubes. I usually use chicken tenderloins. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to your pan. Cook the chicken on medium heat & season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder (substitute these seasonings for just cajun seasoning if making this cajun-style). I like the Louisiana brand cajun seasoning.
While the chicken is cooking, fill a large pot with enough water to boil 1 pound of pasta. We like our Alfredo sauce on linguine or angel hair noodles instead of fettuccine. Use the noodle of your choice. Be sure to add a bit of olive oil to the water whenever boiling noodles to keep them from sticking together while cooking. Add the pasta to boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. I like to cook our pasta slightly al dente.
Once the chicken is done cooking, set it aside in a separate bowl for later. Add 1 heaping tsp of minced garlic to the pan you cooked the chicken in, still at medium heat. Cook the garlic until browned, about a minute in the already-hot pan. Add 2 tbsp butter to the pan and melt, combining with the garlic.
Once the butter is melted, it’s time to add 16 oz of heavy whipping cream. Add it a little at a time so that it heats consistently through. Once all cream is added, season with salt & pepper to taste (or with cajun seasoning instead).
Bring the heavy cream to a light simmer. As soon as you see the first bubble, turn the heat down to low and begin adding 6 oz grated Parmesan cheese. Add the cheese in slowly with one hand while constantly stirring with the other hand until all cheese is added and melted into the sauce. You will see the sauce thickening during this process. Keep on stirring!
Your noodles should be ready by now. Strain them and add them back into the pot. Now is a good time to add you chicken into the noodles, as well. Then, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix until all noodles are coated. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Yields approximately 8 cups pasta.
So simple and SO delicious.
But not the best for you. Now let’s talk about modifying this recipe to make it a little friendlier with just a couple simple swaps.
Swap Heavy Cream For Almond Milk
The most significant change you can make is substituting almond milk for the heavy cream. Simply replace the heavy whipping cream (16 oz @ approximately 1,640 calories) with unsweetened original almond milk (16 oz @ only 60 calories). That’s a 1,580 calorie difference, people.
There is a trick to this, though. You have to alter the process in which you make this sauce to achieve the same melty cheese effect as the classic. Here’s how to do it: Once you have your garlic-butter mixture in the pan, slowly add the almond milk, then heat through and season. But instead of adding the Parmesan cheese to the pan, add the cheese to the pot with the strained noodles and chicken. Mix the cheese into the noodles, then add the almond milk mixture over top. Stir like crazy. The hot almond milk mixture will melt the Parmesan cheese already mixed into the noodles. Making the sauce this way will prevent the cheese from clumping as the almond milk will not incorporate the cheese the way heavy cream does.
Making this one change alone will significantly improve the health quality of this dish. The biggest difference is that the sauce is not as thick, but it still achieves the creamy texture of classic Alfredo sauce.
Substitute The Noodles
If you’re REALLY behaving and don’t even want to eat pasta, you can also swap out the noodles. With all the noodle substitutions these days, you can choose your favorite. I always like zucchini noodles or the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s is insane. If you haven’t tried this gnocchi yet, you need to!
Chicken Alfredo is so easy to make. I recommend everyone have this recipe in their collection because it’s a classic. If you’re like me and can’t live without Alfredo sauce, but can’t afford to eat it as often as you’d like – try these modifications! Definitely the next best thing.
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Did you try the classic or healthier Alfredo sauce? Let me know how you liked it!