I think I have an underlying love hate relationship with pasta. I’ll go week, or sometimes even months (!!!) without having it, and then for some reason I’ll dream up some good recipe or Tony will request an Italian meal and then we’re off on a pasta eating binge for days.
Typically I’m a fan of red sauces, but this easy 30 minute skinny alfredo ziti was so creamy, satisfying and easy to make that I envision us having it a few times a month. I actually made it two nights in a row last week! We enjoyed it while sitting at our new vintage mid-century modern dinner table (I’m obsessed) with the lights dimmed and big glasses of cabernet. An easy date night in for us two romantics.
But enough with the sappy stuff — I want to convince you that you MUST absolutely devour this creamy, lightened up skinny alfredo ziti. It’s comfort food I’ve been wanting to recreate into a healthier version for quite some time and IT IS PERFECT.
As many of you know, traditional alfredo sauces are made with LOTS of butter and heavy cream. That’s cool and all, but sometimes you want to have a big bowl of pasta without it feeling like a giant brick in your stomach. Cue this version made with almond milk instead of cream, only 1 tablespoon of (vegan) butter, broccoli and whole wheat ziti (or any pasta you like).
The parmesan I used in this particular meal is from Go Veggie, a plant based vegan/vegetarian parmesan that tastes very similar to the real deal. I love it very much.
For those of you who aren’t aware, most regular parmesans are not vegetarian because they contain an ingredient known as animal rennet, an enzyme that helps the milk separate into curds & whey. I recently learned this and was very surprised, but I also haven’t followed a strict vegetarian diet, so perhaps that’s why I was unaware!
Why I LOVE this skinny alfredo ziti:
It’s lightened up! We talked about that above. But basically we’re using less butter and almond milk instead of cream.
It only takes 30 minutes to make from start to finish. Just boil the noodles + broccoli, make the sauce, then combine everything into one pot.
The pasta makes a wonderful, easy weeknight meal or for meal prep. Throw it into containers and reheat with a little extra water or milk!
It’s kid-friendly! Feel free to switch out the broccoli for peas. For additional protein (and if not vegetarian) add cooked chicken!
I hope you enjoy this one-pot vegetarian 30 minute meal as much as I did. Best topped with lots of black pepper & a little extra sprinkle of parm. Enjoy!
More healthy comfort food to try:
Roasted Veggie Mediterranean Pasta with Goat Cheese
Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Peas (vegan & gluten free!)
Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna with Spicy Turkey Meat Sauce
30 Minute Skinny Alfredo Ziti with Broccoli
- 12 oz whole wheat ziti (or any pasta you like -- brown rice pasta is good)
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets (1 medium head)
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or reg butter if not vegan)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons white whole wheat (or regular whole wheat flour or all purpose gluten free flour)*
- 1/2 cup vegetarian broth
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup Go Veggie Vegan Grated Parmesan
- Optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- To garnish: extra parmesan, chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, if desired
Cook the pasta and broccoli in a large pot of salted water, according to directions on the package until al dente (or just slightly undercooked). Once done, drain pasta and broccoli and set aside for a few minutes while you make the sauce.
In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add garlic and flour and stir until flour has browned, about one more minutes.
Whisk in broth and almond milk until smooth, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 6-8 minutes until sauce thickens up. Season with salt and pepper.
Once mixture thickens, reduce heat to low and whisk in parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary (more salt or pepper or whatever spices you like!). Gently stir in the pasta and broccoli. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Garnish with extra parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!
If you're not vegetarian, feel free to add in 1 or 2 cups of cubed or shredded cooked chicken breast!
This post is in partnership with Go Veggie!, a brand I’ve worked with for years and support. Thanks for helping to support AK and the brands that help make this site possible.
I’ve always loved alfredo sauce, but me butter and cheese don’t mix haha! Love that your version is dairy-free and has added veggies ftw!
I totally need to try this because normal alfredo sauce is too heavy for me. Plus what’s a better combo than pasta, chicken, and broccoli?! LOVE this Monique!! 🙂
I like the way you lightened this up with almond milk. It’s hard to believe it’s dairy free!
Definitely giving this one a go for my kiddos.
Wow this looks amazing! I’ll have to try and make it!
I made this tonight and it was awesome!! Couldn’t believe that I had everything I needed, although I did use chicken broth and regular parm. Yummy!
I’m always looking for ways to make my favorite comfort food dishes healthier! I have to try this!
I’m going to try this tonight but with roasted broccoli…it’s like candy to me 🙂
Hi– I am allergic to almonds! What would be a good substitute for the almond milk? I still try to stay dairy free!
It looks amazing!!
Hi! great site! Was there a response to the person who is allergic to almonds? One of my kids is also. Thanks!
Hi Linda! You can use any type of milk in this recipe that you like (I just opted for almond milk to keep it dairy free).
Tony loves this recipe for an Italian dinner.
Hi,When would you add the nutrtional yeast please?
Hi! You can stir it in with the parmesan.