The other day I found myself with leftover ricotta cheese and lots of plain Greek yogurt to use. I haven’t been very strict with my diet lately, with frequent summer cookouts and such, so I wanted to get back on track. I decided to make a dish that my roommate Emily would sometimes make (are you starting to see where the bulk of my inspiration comes from? ha). She would cook whole wheat pasta, chicken sausage, sauteed kale, and use Greek yogurt as a sauce. This is a nice, light dish but still full of flavor. I decided I would elaborate on the sauce a little bit to make it into a light alfredo sauce.
Traditional alfredo sauce uses heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and butter to make a thick sauce. It’s pretty heavy and typically full of fat. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make it lighter and healthier:
-Substitute Greek yogurt for cream, which has a creamy texture and tangy flavor.
-Keep the parmesan cheese, but use a smaller amount. Parmesan cheese is fairly low-fat and one of the healthier cheeses out there.
-Use part-skim ricotta and light cream cheese to thicken up the sauce, and simple herbs and spices to add complexity.
I found this sauce to still be full of flavor, but it didn’t leave me feeling bloated and guilty.
Skinny Alfredo Sauce
makes ~1 cup
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp light cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 shallot, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- basil, oregano, salt, pepper
Place all items in a food processor and blend until smooth. Test-taste and add any additional spices you find necessary (I played around with it for a few minutes until it tasted the way I wanted it to.) Serve over pasta or cooked vegetables.
I served this sauce over Emily’s pasta dish I was talking about, with kale and chicken sausage. I also added onions to it, for sweetness to balance out the rich and savory sauce. I bought this Alfresco Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago chicken sausage and it was soo good:
One sausage link has 140 calories, 8 g of fat, only 1 g carbs, and 15 g of protein. The only negative is that there’s 550 mg of salt, but that’s pretty common with sausage. Each link is fairly large though (I only eat about half). I suppose sometimes you just have to choose your battles when it comes to prepared food.
Emily’s Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta (with skinny alfredo sauce and onions)
- 1 lb. (1 box) whole grain or whole wheat pasta
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 2 1/2 links chicken sausage, quartered
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
- 1 cup skinny alfredo sauce (see above)
- Cook pasta according to box directions.
- While pasta is cooking, add olive oil to a large frying pan. Add sliced onions and cook for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. (Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the pasta, too.)
- When onions have softened, add chicken sausage. Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Add chopped kale to frying pan and cover with a lid. Saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve chicken sausage, onions, and kale over pasta and finish off with skinny alfredo sauce. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.
To see more of Emily’s recipes and insightful blog posts, check out her blog Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!