Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops

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This Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops recipe tastes just as good as the traditional Alfredo sauce, but is light on the calories and low-carb!

If you’ve tried my Grilled Chicken Cauliflower Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles dish and enjoyed it, then you’re in for a treat with this one. It’s the same recipe, but kicked up a notch with spinach and pesto flavoring!

Under 450 calories per serving! Game changer if there ever was one.

White bowl filled with zucchini noodles in a creamy cauliflower alfredo sauce.

PESTO SPINACH CAULIFLOWER ALFREDO ZOODLES WITH SCALLOPS

Who doesn’t love Alfredo sauce?? Whether I am dunking a breadstick in the sauce or twirling some saucy fettuccine around a fork – it is absolutely one of my favorite indulgences. One of my guilty pleasures that I rarely ever, if at all, allow myself to indulge in. That is mainly due to the high calorie, high fat, and high sodium content that a traditional Alfredo dish carries.

I remember my teen years working at The Olive Garden. I was a hostess, bus girl and To Go Specialist. On my breaks, I would sometimes allow myself to get creative with this decadent sauce. The best concoction? Rather than having it tossed with fettuccine noodles, I swapped those for cheese tortellini! Yum to the max and back, let me tell you.

But no. Not healthy. Not healthy at all. Which is what got me started with a healthy version: Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

This Spinach Pesto Cauliflower Alfredo sauce is lighter on the calories, fat, and sodium. There are no heavy creams and the sauce is vegetable based! Win win in my book.

White bowls filled with creamy zucchini noodles and garlic butter scallops.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS DISH

Full recipe for this Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops dish can be found via the printable recipe card below. Simply scroll down and either Pin it to Pinterest for later or tap the print button!

  • Jumbo scallops
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Zucchini – spiralized (more details below on the spiralizer I use!)
  • Head of cauliflower
  • Unsalted vegetable stock
  • Yellow onion
  • Minced garlic
  • 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • Parmesan & romano cheese
  • Fresh spinach
  • Basil pesto sauce

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE

(Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend these products because they are helpful and useful; not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.)

  1. Hamilton Beach 12-cup Food Processor –  I love using this to blend down and process the cooked cauliflower with the rest of the Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce ingredients! Works like a charm for any kind of sauce, homemade nut butter, homemade flours, and making Cauliflower Rice.
  2. 5-blade Spiralizer/Veggie Pasta Maker – I received this as a gift for Christmas many years ago and It opened up a world to spiralizing so many things. Sticks directly to your counter for secure, ease of use and comes with a few different sized, interchangeable blades!
  3. Jenaluca 5-blade Herb Scissors – Anytime I can recommend these to a foodie or simply someone who hates the hassle of cutting herbs by hand, I DO! They are one of my favorite kitchen gadgets that I find well worth the investment.

Close up photo of a white bowl filled with creamy zucchini noodles and garlic butter scallops. | Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops

HELPFUL COOKING TIPS

  • Scallops: I purchase mine at Trader Joes. I find theirs are not only budget-friendly, but true, jumbo scallops! You can easily swap them with shrimp OR salmon. 
    Not a seafood fan? Try it with grilled chicken!
  • Zoodles: These days you can purchase pre-spiralized zucchini in the produce section cooler. I have bought it and was pleasantly surprised. But if you don’t use them within 1-2 days, they start to get this slimy texture to them. Who wants that?! Not only that, but you’re paying for the convenience of a pre-packaged item. I prefer to spiralize mine at home!
  • Cauliflower: I boiled my cauliflower florets in unsalted vegetable stock. You can swap for vegetable/chicken broth, or even water – but I feel that broth truly helps add some flavor to the sauce.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: If you’re not a fan of heat, you can either omit or use the Crushed Red Pepper Flakes sparingly – a little goes a long way.
  • Vegetable Stock: Aim for the low-sodium or salt-free so that you can control the amount of sodium that goes into this dish. 
    DON’T discard the stock the cauliflower cooked in! Use it to process the cauliflower and thin the sauce out. Tons of flavor!

 SCALLOP TIPS

  • Jumbo scallops work best in my opinion, as they are easier to handle, hold more flavor, and easier to flip while searing. Aim for jumbo, if you can find them.
  • It’s important to thoroughly thaw the scallops overnight in the refrigerator before cooking them. The less moisture when they go in the pan – the better.
  • When ready, place the scallops onto a few paper towels. Use additional paper towels to pat them dry. You want to remove as much moisture as possible. It is a little easier to place a scallop inside a dry paper towel and squeeze/press gently.

HOW TO COOK SCALLOPS

  • Place a large cast iron skillet with oil (one with high smoke point) or butter over medium-high heat. Once the oil/butter is hot, add the seasoned scallops in one at a time, seasoned side down.
  • The pan needs to be hot enough that it sizzles when you add the scallops. If they are not sizzling, the pan is not hot enough. 
  • Sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Easy peasy!

White bowl filled with Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo with Scallops.

If you end up making this Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops dish – please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!  Or be sure to tag me on Instagram (@withpeanutbutterontop) so that I can see your remakes. I love reading your thoughts, dietary swaps and any feedback you have!

MORE LOW-CARB DISHES TO TRY!

  1. Grilled Bruschetta Chicken with Zoodles
  2. Garlic Parmesan Ricotta Zoodles
  3. Creamy Chicken and Avocado Pesto Zoodles
  4. Lemon Chicken Zoodle Soup
  5. Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops with Cauliflower Risotto

CREAMY SAUCE DISHES TO DUNK BREAD INTO!

  1. Creamy Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Sausage Pasta
  2. Ultra Creamy Beef and Shells 
  3. Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Chicken
  4. Date Night Chicken Florentine
  5. Instant Pot Chicken and Mushroom Tetrazzini



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Close up photo of a white bowl filled with creamy zucchini noodles and garlic butter scallops.

Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops

5 from 1 vote
Creamy Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo sauce that tastes just like traditional Alfredo sauce, but much healthier; light in calories, fat, and sodium. Not to mention the low-carb factor with zoodles! Very easy to make and guaranteed to be your new favorite way to enjoy your favorite sauce guilt-free!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cauliflower, Cauliflower Alfredo, Low-Carb, Zoodles
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 446kcal
Author: Samantha Buckner

Ingredients:

Garlic Butter Scallops:

  • 1 pound jumbo scallops, (thawed and patted dry)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sauce:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, 1 lb 11 oz (cut into small florets)
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2-1 cup reserved vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup Fage 2% plain greek yogurt, (7 ounce container)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, (more or less - to taste)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt, (more or less - to taste)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan and romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 cups baby spinach, (roughly chopped)

Veggies and Garnishment

  • 6 medium zucchinis, (spiralized)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly chopped parsley

Instructions:

  • Add vegetable stock to a medium pot and bring to a boil. While you're waiting for the broth to boil, cut cauliflower into small florets. Once boiling, add the cauliflower, cover, and allow to boil 5-6 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender enough to be pierced by a fork.
    Remove from heat.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the florets and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Do not dump the stock. You will use this to thin the sauce.
  • In a medium pan, melt the butter for the sauce. Once melted and hot, add the diced onions and saute until caramelized. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.
    Remove from heat and add to the food processor with the cauliflower.
  • Add the pan back to the burner over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray (if needed). Add the spiralized zucchini and allow to cook 3-4 minutes or until desired texture is met. Don't cook them for too long or they will be soggy! I prefer an al dente texture. Especially for storing and reheating (they will continue to soften when reheated).
    Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  • To the food processor, add the yogurt, crushed red pepper flakes (optional), salt and pepper (both to taste). Starting with 1/4 cup of reserved vegetable stock, pour into the blender. Blend down and add more stock, 1/4 cup at a time, until the sauce reaches desired consistency. I used 3/4 - 1 cup.
  • Replace the medum pan back over medium-low heat. Once heated, pour the sauce into the pan and allow to warm while adding the parmesan romano cheese, pesto sauce, and parsley.
    Stir and cook until the cheese has melted. If you need to add more broth, add it now. Add the chopped spinach and cook 2-3 minutes, or until it has wilted.
  • Season scallops with garlic powder. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the scallops, seasoned side down (see notes below on pre-cooking tips!).
    Sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add the cooked zoodles to the sauce, tossing with tongs to thoroughly coat and rewarm.
  • Serve topped with seared scallops, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and additional parsley.

Notes:

HELPFUL COOKING TIPS

  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: If you're not a fan of heat, you can either omit or use the Crushed Red Pepper Flakes sparingly - a little goes a long way.
  • Vegetable Broth: Aim for the low-sodium or salt-free so that you can control the amount of sodium that goes into this dish. 
    DON'T discard the broth the cauliflower cooked in! Use it to process the cauliflower and thin the sauce out. Tons of flavor!

SCALLOP TIPS

  • Jumbo scallops work best in my opinion, as they are easier to handle, hold more flavor, and easier to flip while searing. Aim for jumbo, if you can find them.
  • It’s important to thoroughly thaw the scallops overnight in the refrigerator before cooking them. The less moisture when they go in the pan – the better.
  • When ready, place the scallops onto a few paper towels. Use additional paper towels to pat them dry. You want to remove as much moisture as possible. It is a little easier to place a scallop inside a dry paper towel and squeeze/press gently.

HOW TO COOK SCALLOPS

  • Place a large cast iron skillet with oil (one with high smoke point) or butter over medium-high heat. Once the oil/butter is hot, add the seasoned scallops in one at a time, seasoned side down.
  • The pan needs to be hot enough that it sizzles when you add the scallops. If they are not sizzling, the pan is not hot enough. 
  • Sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Easy peasy!
TRIED THIS RECIPE?Tag me @withpeanutbutterontop or use my hashtag #withpeanutbutterontop on Instagram!

NUTRITION:

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo Zoodles with Scallops
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 446 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 1035mg43%
Potassium 1410mg40%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 2603IU52%
Vitamin C 134mg162%
Calcium 140mg14%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimer:The nutritional information provided on each recipe on With Peanut Butter on Top is given as a courtesy and as approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Nutritional information varies per brand/product. We recommend using an app to calculate full and accurate nutrition based on your ingredients used per recipe. Thank you! 🙂

White bowl filled with Pesto Spinach Cauliflower Alfredo with Scallops.

 
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