Greek Yogurt Pasta Sauce
This Garlicky Greek Yogurt Pasta Sauce is a healthier alternative to Alfredo sauce that pairs with just about any noodle, protein or veggie you can think of.
Did you know you can make a creamy pasta sauce with Greek yogurt? If you’re somebody who loves alfredo sauce but also likes sticking to a healthful meal plan, this recipe is for you.
In this case, “healthy” doesn’t mean lacking flavor, because we’re still using a bit of butter and Parmesan cheese in this sauce. Everything can be part of a balanced diet in moderation, including these things.
We’re also throwing a ton of garlic at the situation, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The end result is a healthy pasta sauce that will simply blow your mind.
“Easy, delicious, affordable, and healthy. I especially love that it’s lower in fat and high in protein but still tastes great— that can be hard to find when cooking vegetarian. Love this dish!”—Maddie
You’ll love this Healthy Pasta Recipe with Greek Yogurt
I was pretty quick to jump on the Greek yogurt bandwagon when it started gaining popularity in the United States years ago, and I’m STILL on that bandwagon. It’s always in my fridge.
I also love it as a condiment for Greek chicken meatballs, and I use it almost everywhere that sour cream would generally be appropriate, such as dolloped on top of my crock pot burrito bowl, or used as an ingredient for Greek yogurt mashed potatoes, crock pot beef stroganoff, and healthy buffalo chicken dip.
The tanginess of Greek yogurt has a way of cutting through the richness in an otherwise heavy dish, while the creaminess makes anything more satisfying.
If you’ve only experienced Greek yogurt on the sweeter side of the spectrum, I encourage you to try it in a savory Greek yogurt recipe!
Ingredients for Healthy Pasta Sauce
- unsalted butter – this is how we’ll saute all the garlic. You can use olive oil instead, but I like the flavor that butter adds.
- garlic – I usually use eight fairly large cloves. Measure with your heart.
- full fat Greek yogurt – I cannot stress enough, it MUST be full fat or your sauce will curdle. I RECOMMEND FAGE TOTAL 5% MILKFAT YOGURT FOR THIS RECIPE.
- grated Parmesan cheese – this adds a salty and nutty depth of flavor to this Greek yogurt Alfredo sauce (also great in potato cakes from mashed potatoes).
- whole milk – this helps thin out the healthy pasta sauce and adds creaminess.
- salt and pepper – don’t forget the seasoning.
- chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes – these are optional, but I like to add them just before serving for color and extra flavor and spice.
Can I substitute other yogurt in Yogurt Pasta Sauce?
Without getting too technical (I took a food chemistry class in culinary school so that you don’t have to), you need to have a certain fat to protein ratio in your yogurt if you’re going to cook with it, like with this Greek yogurt pasta sauce.
If there’s not enough fat, your Greek yogurt Alfredo is probably going to curdle when you heat it up. If you want to learn more, Food52 has a great article on cooking with yogurt (without fear) that explains it all.
But long story short, to prevent a grainy or separated texture for your healthy pasta sauce, use full fat Greek yogurt for this Greek yogurt sauce recipe (and Greek lasagna). I have not tested this recipe with regular yogurt, only the Greek variety.
I RECOMMEND FAGE TOTAL 5% MILKFAT YOGURT FOR THIS GREEK YOGURT PASTA SAUCE RECIPE.
How to make a Light Pasta Sauce
This basic Greek yogurt pasta sauce comes together in less than five minutes. It will take you longer to cook the pasta then it will to make the sauce!
First, you’ll heat a bit of butter in a skillet. Add a hefty amount of minced garlic, and sauté it briefly just to perfume the oil (you don’t want it brown, just soften slightly).
Then, you’ll whisk in the Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, some milk, and salt and pepper.
You only need to cook it 2 minutes or until the sauce is just warmed through. Then, add cooked pasta, a splash of pasta water, toss, and serve!
Seriously, could this Greek yogurt alfredo be any easier?
Greek Yogurt Pasta Sauce Home Chef Tips
- I’ve mentioned it several times, but it’s so important that I’ll mention it here again: you MUST use full fat yogurt or your sauce will curdle. I RECOMMEND FAGE TOTAL 5% MILKFAT YOGURT FOR THIS RECIPE.
- Experiment with flavor! My favorite way to add even more flavor to this light pasta sauce is by stirring in 1 to 3 tablespoons of prepared basil pesto.
- For a restaurant-quality touch, drizzle a touch of balsamic vinegar reduction over your plated pasta for a sweet acidity that will complement the yogurt sauce.
Serving Suggestions for the Healthiest Pasta Sauce
The way I most often serve Greek yogurt spaghetti nowadays is as-is, with a side salad tossed with citrus salad dressing.
However, a previous version of this post had the Greek yogurt pasta topped with a mixture of onions, chickpeas, lentils and arugula. This is also good, just a little bit more involved.
If you’d like to serve it the old way, feel free to comment below or e-mail me, and I’ll send you the old recipe! It was basically caramelizing a yellow onion and adding it on top of the pasta, along with some chickpeas, cooked lentils and wilted arugula.
Healthy Pasta Recipe Variations
Since Greek yogurt is a high protein food, there’s a fair amount of protein in this Greek yogurt alfredo. But if you’re looking to add something a little, well, meatier, to this spaghetti with yogurt sauce without going all the way to lamb bolognese, I have some ideas.
- I highly recommend add some grilled chicken or a batch of turkey meatball recipe air fryer to this Greek yogurt pasta. Sliced chicken sausage would also be yummy.
- Sautéed shrimp would be tasty (like in my garlic lemon shrimp pasta), or chunks of roasted salmon, like I use in my salmon pasta.
- A meat-free option to add even more protein would be a fried or poached egg. And sometimes I’ll toss in some roasted broccoli with lemon, too!
Storing leftover Light Pasta Sauce
Store any leftover Greek yogurt pasta sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat, gently warm on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently. Add a splash of water or milk to restore the smooth consistency.
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups full fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)
- Red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
- Bring large pot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.
- Meanwhile, in large high-sided skillet, heat butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in yogurt, Parmesan cheese, milk, salt and black pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until warmed through, whisking constantly.
- Add drained pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to yogurt mixture; toss to combine. If sauce is too thick, add additional pasta water a splash at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Serve pasta sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese, and parsley and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Foxes Love Lemons, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and links to Amazon.com. There is no additional cost to you.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1176mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 33g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. Nutrition information does not include any optional ingredients or toppings. You should calculate the nutrition information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.