Garlicky shrimp scampi meets fettuccine alfredo in this easy-to-make, lightened up garlic shrimp alfredo recipe. Extra flavorful shrimp combine with a lower-fat (no cream) alfredo sauce to coat the pasta of your choice in this 30 minute dinner.
If one was already upending the sanctity of real deal alfredo sauce by adding cream, and then substituting in a milk and cottage cheese combination for said cream, why not take it all the way and commit another sin in the process: serving seafood and dairy in the same dish?
A reformed cottage cheese hater, it completely won me over in healthy alfredo sauce. Specifically in this recipe for zippy buffalo chicken alfredo pasta. I am curd-phobic but had long appreciated the nutritional benefits of cottage cheese. Blending it until smooth was the lightbulb moment for me to begin experimenting with cutting the fat and upping the protein in creamy recipes.
This lightened up garlic shrimp alfredo recipe marries the garlicky shrimp aspect of shrimp scampi with an ample amount of tried and true lower-fat alfredo sauce in a better-for-you main dish that doesn't skimp on flavor.
I don't know that I would go so far to deem this a "healthy shrimp alfredo", but it's a more healthful way to indulge in a traditionally heavier dish.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Blending cottage cheese into the sauce means you get all of its nutritional benefits without even knowing that it's there. It also means that this recipe is lower in fat and calories than traditional American versions of alfredo, which use cream.
- No basic shrimp here! These cook with plenty of garlic for bold flavor.
- It yields plenty of creamy sauce so every serving receives a generous portion.
- Shrimp: You can use a variety of sizes as you like (pictured are medium at a 31/40 count per pound). Thaw before cooking. The kind I buy are peeled, deveined, and tail-off so they're all ready to add to a recipe.
- Healthy alfredo sauce: This is so easy to make in a blender or food processor. It consists of cottage cheese, Parmesan, 2% milk, garlic, cornstarch, and spices.
- Pasta: Fettuccine is a classic choice for alfredo sauce recipes, but other shapes are fine, too: linguine, spaghetti, bucatini, etc.
- Butter/olive oil: A blend provides good flavor for cooking the shrimp.
- Garlic: And lots of it. You can adjust the amount downwards (or hey - upwards!) if you like.
- Crushed red pepper: This small amount adds more of a flavor element than spice. Add more if you'd like heat.
The shrimp don't take long at all to cook, so start by setting up a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add it when ready, cooking according to package directions.
- Prepare the sauce: Add all ingredients to a large (7-cup or bigger) food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat and heat for 10 minutes until thickened.
- Cook the shrimp: Add olive oil and butter to a large pan set over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and season with kosher salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until they are pink, curled, and opaque.
- Assemble: Pour most of the sauce into the skillet over the shrimp, then add the cooked and drained fettuccine and chopped fresh parsley. Toss the garlic shrimp alfredo to combine, adding the remainder of the sauce as you like.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Garlic size: Chop the garlic instead of mincing or pressing it. Larger-sized pieces are less apt to burn while the shrimp are cooking.
- Parmesan quality: Grating your own wedge of Parmesan/Pecorino Romano or buying a high-quality pre-grated variety from the refrigerated deli section of the grocery store is recommended for the best flavor.
- Prep-ahead option: Blend the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to cook. Stir and thin it out with hot pasta water if it thickens up too much in the fridge.
- Plan for leftovers: If you think you'll have leftovers, you can cook/store the shrimp and sauce separately to combine just prior to eating. If reheating this healthy shrimp alfredo once combined, add portions to a saucepan set over low-medium heat, drizzling in extra milk as needed to become nice and creamy.
More Seafood Recipes
- Shrimp corn chowder will be a favorite spring or summertime soup, hands-down. My version leans on a lower-fat roux to thicken without any cream.
- Easy steamed shrimp are a personal go-to if we have large shell-on shrimp in the house. This hits the spot every time.
- Ultra simple panko crusted cod is another easy recipe to have in your back pocket.
- For the spice lovers: shrimp fra diavolo...and grits!
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Lightened Up Garlic Shrimp Alfredo
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) 2% milk
- ¾ cup (170g) cottage cheese (small or large curd)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (12g) cornstarch
- 3 medium cloves garlic chopped
- ⅔ cup (1.2 oz, 34g) grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 6 medium cloves garlic sliced
- 1 pound (462g) thawed medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces (227g) dry fettuccine
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil, then once ready add the fettuccine and cook according to package instructions (usually around 12 minutes).
- Add all sauce ingredients to a blender or the bowl of a food processor with at least a 7-cup capacity and pulse/process until combined and smooth.
- Pour sauce into a medium saucepan and place it on the stove over medium-low heat. Whisk/stir as it heats and thickens, around 10 minutes.
- Add butter and olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat, swirling the pan as they melt and combine. Once heated, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the shrimp in a single layer and season with a pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink, opaque, and curled (fully cooked).
- Pour roughly three-quarters of the sauce into the skillet with the shrimp, then add the cooked and drained fettuccine and chopped parsley. Toss with tongs to evenly combine everything, adding the rest of the sauce as desired. Serve immediately with extra grated Parmesan.
- Prep-ahead: The sauce can be blended and then refrigerated until ready to use. Give it a good stir if it thickens up, adding a splash of hot pasta water if needed to thin it back out.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate leftover portions in an air-tight container for 1-2 days. Reheat in a saucepan set over low heat, adding a drizzle of milk if needed to make it become creamy again.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer