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This Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Uses Cottage Cheese for a High-Protein Upgrade

Indulge in all the creaminess you love with a lot less fat!

Cheesy, creamy and undeniably comforting, fettuccine Alfredo holds a special place in pasta lovers’ hearts as well as Italian American cuisine. You’re probably picturing ribbons of pasta coated in a velvety cream sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. It’s no wonder this dish screams “indulgent,” but that doesn’t mean it’s always a guilty pleasure. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy to make fettuccine Alfredo a nutritional delight with a simple tweak: just use cottage cheese instead of heavy cream for a feel-good bite that tastes just as good as the original. And the best part? It comes together in just 25 minutes, making it the perfect quick dish for any occasion. Keep reading for expert insights on the importance of protein and the benefits of cottage cheese, plus other nutritious add-ons to take your high-protein fettuccine Alfredo to the next level!

What is fettuccine Alfredo?

high-protein fettuccine Alfredo

Traditional fettuccine Alfredo, or fettuccine al burro in Italian, is a pasta dish made with fettuccine pasta, butter and parmesan cheese. The butter and cheese form a smooth, rich cheese sauce that coats the pasta. The dish first popped up in Rome in the early to mid-20th century at Alfredo Di Lelio’s restaurant. It spread throughout Italy and soon made its way to America, becoming the recipe we know and love today. The commercialized version at many Italian American restaurants comes with a heavy cream sauce, chicken and garnishes.

Nutritional Profile

So, what makes fettuccine Alfredo a guilty pleasure? “It has a very high fat and calorie count and very little nutritional value when prepared traditionally,” says Michelle Saari, MSc, RD, at E-Health project. The fat Saari refers to is saturated fat, a type of dietary fat found in dairy and cured meats.

Saturated fats are best eaten in moderation. “Alfredo is a very creamy sauce – loaded with saturated fat from butter and cream,” says Derek Lipton, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCC, a Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutrition Consultant for Bodybuilding Reviews. “Saturated fat, which is not healthy in excess, provides a lot of flavor to food, making this a very tasty dish.” But there’s good news: a low-fat version of this dish is entirely possible without sacrificing flavor. How? Just add protein!

Why protein is part of a balanced diet

Proteins are superhero nutrients found in many foods such as eggs, almonds, fish and milk. Your body needs protein to build and repair cells and function well. “Protein is essential to the diet for helping to build and maintain muscle mass, promote immune health, and is crucial for weight loss as it increases satiety,” says Lipton. This helps you reduce your overall caloric intake.

Saari adds that protein also “amps up your metabolism and repairs tissues” so you can stay energized and strong. “Having a regular intake of protein helps to keep these processes moving, so including it in creative ways in different meals is a great way!”

For more protein-packed recipes, click through for Chickpea Fries and Orzo Rice

The benefits of using cottage cheese

high-protein fettuccine Alfredo: cottage cheese

Cottage cheese ranks high on the list of high-protein foods. Just one cup provides 28 grams of protein. And even better, it’s rich in calcium, vitamin B12 and other healthy nutrients. It’s safe to say that this light cheese makes for a great sauce.

“Cottage cheese is a fantastic way to up the nutritional value of fettuccine Alfredo,” says Saari. A cottage cheese Alfredo sauce has the same creamy texture without the added fat. Lipton explains that there are two benefits in using cottage cheese: “One, increasing the protein content of the dish, making it more filling, and two, significantly decreasing the fat content.”

See also: Cottage Cheese Is Staging a Comeback — Here Are 5 New (and Tasty) Ways to Work It Into Your Diet Plan

High-protein fettuccine Alfredo recipe

This easy 25-minute recipe comes from Fit Foodie Finds and packs in 14 grams of protein per serving thanks to a creamy and light cottage cheese Alfredo sauce. To keep the sauce from separating, mix the ingredients thoroughly in a blender.

Cottage Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo

high-protein fettuccine Alfredo
Gala Didebashvili/Getty


  • ½ lb. fettuccine pasta
  • 1 cup milk, skim or 2% for low-fat
  • ½ cup cottage cheese, low-fat
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • Dried basil, to taste
  • Dried oregano, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish, optional


  • Active Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Bring a pot with salted water to a boil; add in pasta and cook until preferred doneness.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, put all the ingredients, except the dried basil and oregano, into a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture in a saucepan, then add the basil and oregano. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through and smooth. Add more basil, oregano, salt, or pepper (or other seasonings), to taste.
  4. Let the sauce cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta, then add to the saucepan right before serving and let it soak for a couple of minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

Other healthy add-ons for fettuccine Alfredo

Boost the nutritional value of your pasta even further by adding or swapping in other healthy ingredients. From vibrant vegetables to lean proteins, the possibilities are endless when it comes to nourishing elements. These fun add-on ideas are sure to make any high-protein fettuccine Alfredo shine.

1. Chicken

Another great source of protein, this lean meat pairs perfectly with fettuccine Alfredo. For a healthy preparation, grill it in slices instead of frying.

2. Spinach

Spinach is superfood loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that support heart and eye health. They’re mild in taste, so it’s easy to sneak them into your sauce!

3. Whole wheat pasta

Choosing whole wheat pasta can help cut down your carb intake and also improve your digestive health with the added fiber.

4. Peas

Adding these green vegetables can help protect you from stomach cancer as well as lower your caloric intake. They also help with digestion!

For more decadent pasta dishes, check out these recipes:

Looking for an Easy, Breezy Summer Dinner? These Pasta Recipes Are Ready In Less Than 30 Minutes

French Onion Pasta Is Pure Comfort on a Plate — One-Pot Recipe Is Fast + Delicious

This 3-Ingredient ‘Lazy’ Lemon Linguine Recipe Is Tangy, Saucy Pasta Perfection

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