Butter-Less Alfredo with Peas

VNS

Holding up a bite of Butter-Less Alfredo sauce on noodles

A funny thing happens when you break your blender: You have to figure out how to live without it. Waaaaaaaah.

Green peas and spaghetti noodles for making Alfredo Pasta with Peas

My favorite alfredo sauce requires a little blending as it tends to get lumpy in spots if I’m not vigilant. But when my faithful G&E blender of 7+ years busted on me last week and we’d promised friends who are new parents a pasta meal later that evening, I was forced to improvise.

Luckily I was able to make a few adjustments and even managed to IMPROVE my original alfredo recipe! Love it when that happens. This calls for new recipe sharing time.

Bottle of olive oil for making Alfredo Sauce without butter

My alfredo is based with olive oil instead of butter and requires simple ingredients you likely have on hand right now. Pesto, parmesan cheese, milk, flour, garlic, veggie or chicken stock. That’s it! And it’s so creamy and delicious you wouldn’t believe it’s actually healthy.

Pan of Butter-Free Alfredo Pasta with green peas

This version was inspired by springtime.

The trees are lush, the flowers are in bloom, and the scent of freshly cut grass is in the air. About this, I couldn’t be more excited. My way of celebrating is by making a simple, light pasta with green peas – one of the only green things I’d eat as a kid. Sorry mom.

Skillet filled with our Healthy Alfredo Pasta with Peas recipeUsing tongs to grab some Lightened-Up Alfredo with Peas

This sauce is thick and creamy with tons of parmesan-pesto flavor, yet remains light. The veggie stock adds a nice savory boost that pairs perfectly with any pasta. I chose linguine as it’s my favorite canoodle, but any shape will do.

How is there no blending or pureeing required? I add the flour and whisk it with the olive oil and garlic BEFORE I add any liquid. Then a spatula helps mash everything together so I can forgo any blending.

Hooray for simplicity, no?

Skillet of Butter-Free Alfredo with Peas for a kid-friendly vegetarian dinnerBig plate of our Healthier Alfredo with Peas recipe

While peas remain the primary addition to this pasta, you can also add some grilled chicken for more protein, or even some toasted walnuts or pine nuts for a little vegetarian staying power.

I served mine with extra parmesan on top, a little garlic bread and the leftover peas, which I steamed and lightly seasoned. If this isn’t the perfect spring/summertime meal, I don’t know what is.

Plate of our Healthy Alfredo recipe with green peasClose up shot of a plate of Healthy Alfredo Pasta with Peas

Butter-Less Alfredo with Peas

Simple butter-less alfredo pasta with peas – the perfect light springtime dish for any occasion.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Noodles added to a pan to make Butter-less Alfredo with Peas
4.95 from 17 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (1-cup servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian-Inspired, Vegetarian
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 1-2 Days

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (DIY or store-bought)
  • 1 Tbsp. pesto any kind (I used basil)
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (plus more for additional seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup green peas (if frozen, set out an hour before to thaw slightly)
  • 3/4 box box whole grain pasta (such as linguine)

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and garlic, stirring quickly to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Next, reduce heat slightly and add flour (starting with lower end of range // 2 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and whisk to combine. Cook for about a minute and then add veggie stock and milk and use a flat spatula to mash the flour into the liquid.
  • Add salt, pepper, pesto, grated parmesan cheese and stir. Cook on medium heat until it bubbles, and then reduce heat to low-medium heat and cook until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed – I usually add a bit more salt and pepper toward the end.
  • If you notice the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk or broth. If too thin, add a little more flour and whisk to combine. Alternatively, you can thicken with more parmesan cheese.
  • Once sauce is ready, add the peas and stir. Then add the drained cooked pasta and toss to combine, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with additional parmesan cheese on top. Garlic bread and steamed broccoli or peas are excellent additions to this simple dish.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 one-cup servings Calories: 500 Carbohydrates: 59 g Protein: 26 g Fat: 20 g Fiber: 12 g Sugar: 8 g

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  1. Natalie says

    Tried this tonight and it was really great.

    I didn’t have pesto on hand so omitted that
    Subbed chicken stock as that’s what I had open in the fridge
    Added in some leftover chicken as well

    Husband and kids loved it, a win!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks for sharing, Natalie! We are so glad you all enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  2. Elizabeth says

    Great versatile recipe! I didn’t have all the ingredients listed on hand, but I found that the substitutions I made still came out very tasty. I didn’t have any milk, so I subbed powdered cream for the flour (thickening + dairy goodness), and went with the option to add a bit more parmesan to thicken the recipe overall. I also didn’t have pesto, but with the fat from the cream, I found that adding a bit of fresh basil accomplished a similar cream/basil-y yuminess. I love the idea of incorporating peas – it brought me back to my childhood and my dad’s tuna/peas/cream sauce pasta. I adulted it up a bit and served it with smoked salmon instead – a prefect spring-time dinner!

  3. Lesley Sara Frankel says

    Looking forward to trying this recipe soon! Curious about the pesto addition and wondering if it is necessary or if I could sub for something else?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lesley, We haven’t tried it without the pesto and expect that it wouldn’t be quite as flavorful, but would still work. You could try subbing fresh basil, perhaps? Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jess! That might change the flavor a bit but it should work! You may want to try cashew for a more neutral flavor?

  4. BJ says

    Wow! I’ve never liked alfredo sauce, but this is just great! No butter, no cream. This is healthy and tasty. I had no peas this time, and had to grate up some old mozzarella, but it was still the best alfredo ever. Next time, I’ll add the peas.

  5. Jax says

    Very good! I substituted the chicken broth and instead drained and then pureed a can of diced tomatoes to make an alfredo rosa. I added a little bit of red pepper flakes to give it more of a pop and used a parm romano blend. My little 4 year old sauce taste tester kept asking for more “testing” spoons and ate a lot for dinner. :)

    Thanks for adding!

  6. Elizabeth says

    I made this for dinner tonight… I had high expectations but my alfredo didn’t have much flavor. It may be because I used vegetable stock and almond milk instead of cow milk, though. I’m not sure. Also, my sauce took forever to thicken. I had to add cornstarch at the end to hurry it up! I would definitely make it again because it was easy and fast but might need to tweak the seasoning/spices a little or add the pine nuts like others did. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Elizabeth, I don’t eat parmesan anymore, but when I made this recipe I did. So the fastest way to help it thicken and add more flavor is to add more parmesan. Hope that helps! Glad you still enjoyed it!

    • YB says

      Yum! Easy and quick! I only had 1% milk and chicken stock on hand, and not quite enough Parmesan but was still DELICIOUS! I threw in a pinch of cayenne at the end too for some extra kick. Will definitely make again, thank you!

  7. cynzdiva says

    I actually tried this recipe last night, when I realized I forgot to buy butter for my usual Alfredo recipe. What a pleasant surprise! It was delicious! I made 3 modifications: ommitted the peas (per daughter’s request), used light whipping cream instead of milk, and used a 4 cheese blend instead of parmesan. Obviously this added more calories, but the consistency and flavor were true to Alfredo standards!! I will definitely be making this again!! Thanks!

  8. Sheridan Brownell says

    This recipe is fantastic! Toddler loved it. 5 year old loved it. Impossible feat to accomplish! I added the pine nuts for the adults and a splash of fresh arugula to the top…… Yum! Complimented the pepper so nicely. This is a close second to my favorite recipe on the site…..my all time favorite is the one for ‘my favorite vegan pizza’ https://minimalistbaker.com/my-favorite-vegan-pizza/. Thank you for sharing:)

  9. Christine @ Ciao Veggie says

    This looks completely fabulous. When I was a kid, my mother would always add peas to our boxed pasta dishes. We hated it and complained soooo much! But of course, many years later, I think that creamy pasta with peas is the best thing ever. I will be trying this recipe for sure!

  10. Leigha @ Minougirl says

    Just made this tonight for dinner! It was FABULOUS! Definitely using this sauce as a base for, like, everything in the future. :) added some sauteed mushrooms too! So yummy!

  11. Althea says

    Made this twice this week. My entire family loved it! That is rare. We used unsweetened flax milk and vegan mozzarella cheese (we have a dairy allergy). It was awesome! The second time that I made it, I used it as the cream for chicken pot pies. Everyone ate that too!!
    Thank you so much!!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great idea! Thanks for sharing, Althea! So glad you and your family have been enjoying the recipe.

  12. Dannielle says

    I just tried this recipe, it was great!!! Me and my husband love it! I added asparagus and sun dried tomatoes on mine it gives it a little added flavor. My husband hates butter, he will not eat anything that has butter or that touch butter so I was forced to look for Alfredo recipe alternative without butter. I found some and tried them but this is the best. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  13. Michelle says

    I made this tonight and absolutely loved it! It was so simple and easy. My boyfriend and I had to force ourselves not to go back for seconds (considering our first helping was already ginormous!)

  14. Rita says

    My fiance and I love this recipe. I make this normally once a week for us. This is one of the only things I cook that I actually get cravings for. I cannot say enough great things about this recipe. On nights when I work late this is a total life savor.

  15. Sara says

    Hi! Love your site! Dumb q…but when you say ‘mash’ with a spatula to omit lumps, what does that mean exactly? Sorry, I’m super anal about my recipes & this looks to awesome not to try! I want to get it perfectly lump free like you! :)

  16. Lauren says

    Just made this tonight with ravioli, and it was AWESOME. Super easy and quick for a pregnant lady with a toddler climbing up her legs. I just found your site by chance, so looking forward to trying more of your ideas. Thank you!

  17. Nancy says

    Had this tonight. So yummy!! Thank goodness I had a blender tho or it would have been so lumpy, will have to try the flour in the broth first before adding to the flour mixture.
    Definately will make this again!!

  18. Sue says

    This is so good! Thank you so much for sharing it and I have now made it twice! The second time I decided to tweak it a little bit and it was superb! I served it with some sauteed shrimp so I decided to add juice from 1 lemon in addition to a little lemon zest. I have also found that if I whisk in the flour into the warm broth to consistency before adding it to the olive oil it doesn’t end up lumpy at all. Not trying to step over anyone but just a trick that I found helpful!

    • Monica says

      My flour never did get lumpy…I think I had the heat up a little higher and I put the almond milk in after the flour. Was as smooth as silk all of the time.

  19. Paula@Paula's Plate says

    This looks delish, I plan to make it tonight! When you write 3/4 box of pasta, do you mean a 16 oz or a 12 oz box? Thanks!

  20. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe says

    I have a very strong desire to stick my face in that plate of pasta. It really looks incredible, Dana. Just another recipe of yours that I must try!

  21. Zara says

    Delicious! I just made this with pine nuts and asparagus instead of peas, and it’s very yummy. :)

  22. Anne Amico says

    On the milk, will it make a difference if low fat is used in place of whole to help
    Cut down the fat

  23. Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog says

    Can you say yum? I love alfredo sauce, but not always a huge fan of all the butter in it. This seems like a healthier alternative. I’m going to try this recipe out.

  24. Nanna says

    So pleased I happened upon your blog this evening: everything on here is just up my alley :) I look forward to digging back into your archives for inspiration!

  25. Jess says

    Oh I love that shot of the noodles before they are stirred into all that creamy goodness, Dana – I think I could probably drink that sauce. Hope you get your blender replaced pronto – ours gets a lot of love, so I’d be sad without it!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I thought about that, but I haven’t dabbled in that area…yet! I’m sure nutritional yeast could be subbed for the cheese, and plain non-dairy milk for the cow’s milk. If you give it a shot let me know if it turns out!

      • Monica says

        I needed a butter-less Alfredo sauce so I Googled that. This looked SO good and it doesnt have all that butter in it. (We ran out of butter, lol) Anyway, my husband and I made this today. It was wonderful. We did change the recipe a bit. We used almond milk and we also didn’t have any pesto, so we used his Ninja blender and made our own, but we used walnuts instead of pine nuts. (walnuts, olive oil and basil and s & p…oh. and that was bitter so I added a bit of parsley flakes and onion powder). We used our vegees from our stir-fry yesterday and mixed those into the sauce and put over (cooked) egg noodles. IT WAS DELICIOUS–BETTER THAN A RESTAURANT!!! Thank you, thank you!!!#

  26. Eric says

    This seems yummy. Would be more specific in regards to the 3/4 of a box of pasta; would you be able to tell me the weight?

  27. Tieghan says

    This sounds awesome and looks even better! I love the right green peas studded throughout! Oh and way to go and the improvising! I love when things turns out better than the original!

  28. Ruta says

    I don’t even like Alfredo all that much, but this sounds like a great recipe to make for some of the die-hard pasta friends I know. I love that it doesn’t need a blender.