Pasta with Lighter Vodka Sauce

by Erin

Enjoy the tanginess without all the fat with this homemade lighter vodka sauce using Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. Serve with your favorite pasta shape!

Pasta with Lighter Vodka Sauce #lighter #thespiffycookie

Jump to recipe

I am always on the lookout for fun food items. When I found heart-shaped pasta from World Market (while in east TN since the store no longer exists in Memphis on my end of the state) I snatched them up – perfect for a Valentine’s Day themed meal! Which lead me to think about vodka sauce (don’t ask why this holiday perked thoughts of alcoholic food).

Heart shaped pasta in vodka sauce

Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen lead me to this recipe. It’s not to thick, but not runny either, and has great flavor which I am sure has many thanks to the full cup of vodka. But I did try something different and used a cup of Chobani‘s 2% plain Greek yogurt in place of the heavy cream. 

I thoroughly enjoy finding new ways to substitute in Greek yogurt for other ingredients in order to add protein and reduce fat. In this instance it made the sauce a bit tangier but thought it paired very well with the already present vodka tang.

What is you favorite way to use Greek yogurt?

Lighter vodka sauce with pasta, chicken, and veggies

While I am on the subject of Chobani, how would you like to win some!? One of you will be the lucky recipient of a bundle three 32 oz. containers including plain in 0% and 2% and 0% vanilla. This giveaway is open to US and Canada (but a Canadian resident will just receive three of the  32 oz. 0% plain containers as vanilla & 2% plain aren’t available across the border yet). To enter, please leave a comment sharing your favorite way to use Greek yogurt. Giveaway ends Monday, February 20th. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and has 48 hours to respond. **GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED** Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen is the winner!

Lighter vodka sauce made with Greek yogurt

Pasta with Lighter Vodka Sauce #lighter #thespiffycookie


Yield: 4-6 Servings Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 3/4 pound pasta
  • 4 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 4 tsp dried)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.
  3. Crush the tomatoes into the pan with your hands (crush slowly because the juice will squirt*). Add salt and black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, and set both aside.
  5. Place the tomato mixture in a blender (or in the pot with an immersion blender) and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
  6. Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough yogurt to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add reserved pasta cooking water if the sauce it too thick. Add more salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.


*The first one I squeezed resulted in an explosion of sauce all over my (thankfully already not-perfectly-spotless-clean) kitchen.

Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: Adapted slightly from Ina Garten on Food Network. Discovered by The Little Ferraro Kitchen.

Post updated 2/27/21, photo above is the original.

Did you make this recipe? I want to see!
Tag @THESPIFFYCOOKIE on Instagram and hashtag it #THESPIFFYCOOKIE

You may also like


Shari January 28, 2013 - 7:40 pm

I made this tonight and it was fantastic! Quick question- any thoughts on using fat free greek yogurt instead of 2%? I assume it might curdle more, but wasn’t sure if you tried it before!

spiffycookie January 29, 2013 - 8:34 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! As for the percentage of fat, I don’t think it would curdle so long as you slowly heat it up and don’t overcook it.

Susie Rayburn February 19, 2012 - 3:12 pm

My favorite way? With a spoon! :) I also have been known to substitute Greek yogurt for recipes that include sour cream. So far I haven’t found a single use I didn’t LOVE!

Julie L February 19, 2012 - 9:01 am

love to eat yogurt with fruit mixed in like strawberries thanks

anash February 18, 2012 - 6:41 am

I love to use yogurt in my pies, they give a tangy kick to my pies that everyone loves! Thanks for a super giveaway!

Wehaf February 17, 2012 - 11:52 pm

I use Greek yogurt in my quiches; it makes them really smooth and a little bit tangy.

Shannon Thompson February 17, 2012 - 11:18 pm

I use it when making cupcakes..
a healthy alternative

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious February 17, 2012 - 1:21 pm

Heart-shaped pasta? That is just too cute. I should check if my Whole Foods has it too.

I like to eat Fage Greek yogurt with honey or strawberry jam. It’s a perfect snack.

spiffycookie February 17, 2012 - 1:24 pm

Oops, that was a typo, it should’ve said World Market not Whole Foods! I’ve changed it now.

Jonnie (JB) February 17, 2012 - 12:41 pm

I like to eat greek yogurt by itself. The only recipe I’ve used it in is muffins

Katie February 16, 2012 - 12:47 pm

Cho is delicious all by itself! But, I have used it to make a peanut butter pie and it was wonderful.

Claire February 15, 2012 - 8:35 pm

I love putting a dollop of plain greek yogurt on tops of foods like chili and burritos, a healthy sub for sour cream! :)

Living The Sweet Life February 15, 2012 - 8:24 pm

YUM!! Delicious recipe Erin :) – – I have become a Greek Yogurt Addict!! My favorite way to use Greek yogurt (especially Chobani) is for desert with fresh figs and honey!! Perfect for a weeknight treat.

Gina M Maddox February 14, 2012 - 6:35 pm

I love blueberry greek yogurt topped with low-fat granola! Thanks for the chance to win!
gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Tracey February 14, 2012 - 1:14 pm

Thank you for the generous giveaway! My favorite way to eat Greek yogurt is plain with lots of cinnamon, but I also like using to make muffins!

Sara P. February 13, 2012 - 11:59 pm

I love to make muffins with greek yogurt!

Catherine February 13, 2012 - 10:54 pm

Vodka sauce is my favorite. I love to use greek yogurt to create sandwich spreads.

(Click here to enter my anthropologie kitchen tools giveaway.)

Cindy B. February 13, 2012 - 9:40 pm

My favorite way to use Greek yogurt is making Breakfast Parfaits!

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. February 13, 2012 - 8:15 pm

This is a great recipe!! I Greek yogurt is so versatile, but I love to use it in place of sour cream on tacos

Cara February 13, 2012 - 8:11 pm

I like adding greek yogurt to cakes to add moisture!

Molly at Duchess of Fork February 13, 2012 - 7:57 pm

Ever since visiting Greece on my honeymoon, I love making tzitziki with Greek yogurt. It may not be anything special, but I just love it with warm pitas!

Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 13, 2012 - 6:43 pm

The pasta looks so good!!! Yum! I love eating yogurt with peanut butter, fresh mixed berries, peanut butter cheerios, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds. I eat it like 3 times a day!!

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 13, 2012 - 5:14 pm

Great idea to put greek yogurt instead of the cream! This pasta looks wonderful, and how fun are the heart shaped pasta! I don’t use a lot of greek yogurt – mainly the family just eats it :)

Lindsay February 13, 2012 - 3:39 pm

I love eating greek yogurt with granola and honey stirred in! Delish.

Naomi Dice February 13, 2012 - 3:36 pm

I never thought to use it any other way than just eating it. Gonna try it though.

Shannon February 13, 2012 - 3:29 pm

I sub plain for sour cream and mayo in dips etc. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pineapple!

christina @ ovenadventures February 13, 2012 - 3:24 pm

i’m actually drinking a smoothie with greek yogurt but my fav this is to make dips with it. add a little curry powder or lemon and dill and it’s great for veggies or sweet potato fries.

Lauren at Keep It Sweet February 13, 2012 - 1:19 pm

I love snacking on greek yogurt with fruit! Also, love this recipe!

Maggie @ Kitchie Coo February 13, 2012 - 12:21 pm

An entire cup of vodka? Gimme! Wow, what an amazing dish! I LOVE Chobani yogurt, in fact while I am reading this I am eating my daily snack of the fat free vanilla! YAY! I love this stuff. I usually also sub it for anything that calls for sour cream. So much healthier and way more delicious. GREAT giveaway. Thank you!!!

Liz @ Southern Charm February 13, 2012 - 12:18 pm

I love it two ways, and just can’t choose! Haha.

1) in my pancakes. YUM!
2) as “sour cream” over a taco salad.


Jessica F February 13, 2012 - 12:01 pm

I love greek yogurt for marinating! And I also eat it plain for breakfast :)

Cellabella February 13, 2012 - 12:00 pm

I like using greek yogurt to make banana bread, it makes the bread very moist with a delicious tang to it!

Samantha @ FerraroKitchen February 13, 2012 - 11:31 am

It came it AWESOME!!! I love that you added yopgurt instead of heavy cream…I am DEFF going to try that next time I make the vodka sauce! so much healthier :)

Veronica @ Café con Leche February 13, 2012 - 10:49 am

I love using greek yogurt in pancakes! makes them tangy and fluffy! :) but greek yogurt plain for breakfast with a little granola and banana is delish too!

Megan S. February 13, 2012 - 10:49 am

I love using it as a taco topper instead of sour cream, or in smoothies!

Amber @ Amber's Confections February 13, 2012 - 10:19 am

I never would have thought to use greek yogurt in vodka sauce! My favorite way to use it is in protein shakes or as a fruit or veggie dip.

Erin M. February 13, 2012 - 10:14 am

I like to eat it with granola and fruit! I’ve also made dips with it.

natalie (the sweets life) February 13, 2012 - 9:21 am

this is one of my favorite pasta sauces! i have a recipe that i keep meaning to put on the blog–one of the first recipes i ever learned to make :)

love chobani–fave way to use it is just to eat it with granola :)

Odette February 13, 2012 - 8:06 am

Mmmmm…Chobani is the best. My favorite way to eat it is in its pure form. But I do like to use it in place of sour cream with Mexican food.

Georgianna February 13, 2012 - 8:04 am

I love putting it in cake mix. It makes the cake, especially chocolate, dense and fudgy! It’s also great to eat plain or put in overnight oatmeal!!!

Baker Street February 13, 2012 - 7:45 am

The vodka sauce sounds delish! You’ve presented it so well. Wish I could dig into right now.


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you consent to the storing of your message attached to the e-mail address you've used. (Data will not be shared with any 3rd-parties)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Accept Read More