The bechamel foundation
Basic bechamel (white) sauce is one of the French Mother sauces and it serves as a foundation for all those sweet, creamy white sauce dishes that bring us much comfort and satisfaction. This sauce is great on its own and you can also trick it out to make all kinds of rich, satisfying dishes – guilt-free.
Basic bechamel resilience
When I decided to get serious about creating a plant-based bechamel, it took more than a few tries to get it right. My experiments ranged from entirely cauliflower-based (a bit bland), to entirely cashew-based (too rich), to entirely bean-based (so wrong in so many ways). Within these iterations, I tried various spices and other ingredients. Nothing quite right.
Alone at the proverbial drawing board, with the cat asleep on the chair and clearly not worrying about my bechamel dilemma, armed with two cups of coffee, I decided to pick myself up and give it yet another go. Persistence pay off. It feels so good.
Funny thing about cauliflower and cashews. Despite disproportionate amounts in this recipe, they bring out the best in one another. I discovered that they work so well together, they don’t object to being steamed together. Steaming, I learned it a really important step. Steamed cauliflower yields a creamier sauce and steaming the cashews means you don’t have to remember to soak them.
Hey bechamel – whatcha good for?
Absolutely everything. We love this sauce with a bit of fresh basil and hemp parmesan over pasta. Try it with sauted spinach or mushrooms (or go for both, man). White lasagna? As a primavera with peas, courgette and asparagus. I’m thinking pizza Bianca or perhaps spicing it up a bit for enchiladas. When you start with a good foundation, you can build high.
I’d like to think of myself as a resilient person, but I admit that resilience isn’t easy. I’ve learned that to break through your brick wall, you need to do a bit of re-positioning. A different approach. Ok, several different approaches sometimes. And with each near (or far) miss, you have to take the time to reassess, to inquire and most importantly, be honest. Don’t give up, don’t compromise, step forward and learn. Peace.Print
Basic bechamel (white) sauce is a creamy, flavorful healthy alternative that’s easy to make and is so good it can go it alone and can also be the foundation of many of your favorite saucy dishes.
- 1 head cauliflower
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2–3 cups oat milk (or other plant milk – amount depends on desired consistency)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (a pinch)
- ¼ tsp. white pepper (you can use black pepper as well)
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and measure out the cashews.
- Place the cauliflower and cashews into a steamer and stem for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork.
- While the cauliflower steams, sauté the onion and garlic on very low heat until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
- Add the cauliflower, cashews, onions, garlic, 2 cups of oat milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt nutmeg and white pepper to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, adding more oat milk until you reach the desired consistency.
- Place the bechamel in a pan and heat through.
- Basic bechamel (white) sauce freezes well so don’t worry if you have leftovers. You can even freeze it with peas, asparagus or other vegetables for a quick pasta dinner.
- Make a quick savory mustard sauce by adding 2 tablespoons of prepared mustard to your basic bechamel sauce.
- Don’t forget to make a quick batch of hemp seed parmesan. This can bake while your cauliflower steams.
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Steam/Blend
- Cuisine: Plant-based
Keywords: basic bechamel (white) sauce