Cream Sauce without the Cream

Cream Sauce without the Cream

9 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2013

Here's a formula for making a "no-cream" cream sauce to use as a healthy replacement for fat- and calorie-rich cream sauces in your favorite soups, pastas or sauces. This recipe makes a big batch, more than you'll most likely need for one recipe, so refrigerate or freeze the extra sauce to use in other recipes.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ⅔ cup long- or medium-grain white rice
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or "no-chicken" broth (see Tip)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, preferably white


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is very soft and the liquid is greatly reduced, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) The consistency should be similar to a pourable sauce; add more broth or water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Tip: To make the sauce vegetarian, we like to use chicken-flavored vegetarian broth over regular vegetable broth for its hearty, rich flavor and pale yellow color. Look for “no-chicken” broth in the natural-foods section of well-stocked supermarkets.
  • To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on your microwave.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Per serving: 159 calories; 3 g fat(0 g sat); 1 g fiber; 22 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 73 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1 IU vitamin A; 3 mg vitamin C; 16 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 563 mg sodium; 259 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ vegetable, ½ fat

Reviews 9

July 07, 2018
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By: OzzieDave
Best to describe this as rice porridge than a cream sauce. I have to agree with the review that described it as gluey wine...and that was after adding a lot of water to thin out its rice porridge consistency). I used long grain basmati rice and I cannot imagine how starchy it would have been using arborio rice. Also quite salty, definitely do not add extra salt even if using low salt broth. The color is a little greyish and not appealing to look at. In summary, best to skip this recipe and not bother making adjustments. I will stick to making my tried and true basic white sauce using skim milk .
February 10, 2017
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By: Nancy
I made it according to the recipe and used it to make red pepper cream sauce for chicken (another Eating Well recipe.) I served it to guests and it was fabulous! There was nothing left. I doubled it, because I didn't pay attention to the final amount and I had way too much for a double recipe of the chicken, so I froze the leftovers. I was surprised and delighted with how all the unusual ingredients came together.
July 21, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Really salty! I made this with Penzeys chicken stock, a really high quality product. But cooking it down got me a very salty sauce. Let it cool and then added nonfat Greek yogurt to cut the salt. Next time I'd replace some of the stock with nonfat milk maybe. Pros: Low in fat Cons: Cooking down the stock makes the sauce really salty.
November 24, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Just like gluey wine I made this exactly according to instructions with no changes and blended it in my blender. I used arborio rice. I can only describe the texture as gluey - definitely not creamy. I wonder if the arborio rice is TOO starchy? Also, the wine flavor is overwhelming. I taste nothing else. I used a sauvignon blanc I like to drink, so it's not because I used terrible wine. I'm not sure what I did wrong but I definitely did not get the amazing result the good reviews led me to expect! Very disappointed with this one and will definitely not be serving it to my guests. Pros: Easy Cons: Poor texture, poor flavor
March 31, 2013
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By: freebie
Fab with fish Made this tonight, added a couple of minced cloves of garlic, dill and lemon zest. Poured it over Swai (mild white fish) and baked it in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. It was wonderful! One thought, though- the recipe says you end up with about 6 cups of sauce. 5 cups of broth plus one cup of white wine will not be 6 cups after reducing the sauce for 25 minutes.
March 19, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Brown Rice? Has anyone tried this with brown rice? I'm trying to switch to all whole-grains...
January 30, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious and easy This is so easy, and delicious. I used half to make mac & cheeese and froze the rest.There was no telling that it was lightened and didn't have milk. Definately being added to my staple recipe file. Pros: Common ingredients
January 14, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Great alternative to the real deal We tried this sauce tonight and had it on pasta, my husband had sausage with his. We put parmesan cheese on the pasta which of course makes everything better :) but we think we will be adding some garlic next time we make it to add some more flavor. We used our food processor to puree it and it worked perfectly fine. Pros: Easy to make
January 07, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Great, easy & healthy! I had to give this a try this afternoon, planning on the also-featured homemade mac & cheese. With appropriate planning (i.e., making the sauce ahead), it really is quick and easy. The instructions for the sauce are easy to follow and prep was simply chopping an onion in my food processor. It takes about 5 minutes in the kitchen, then occasional stirring until the sauce is cooked. I used my Blendtec (larger, WildSide jar) - worked like a charm to puree the whole batch. (As a side, I kept the amount of sauce needed for the mac and cheese recipe in the blender, simply added the cheese and spices and it was ready to pour on the pasta.) The sauce tasted good - creamy, mild - on its own and was very good jazzed up with the cheese. I'm excited to make a cream soup with the rest of the sauce batch. Pros: Easy, common ingredients, healthy, minimal hands-on time Cons: Relatively long cook time
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