Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
… and a few Variations
Classic béchamel sauce makes a roux with fat (butter) with starch (white flour) and then adds dairy, but you will find none of those ingredients in my plant-based kitchen. Instead, we can create a smooth and creamy white sauce with a silky texture and delicate flavor that is super fast and simple to make. Excluding nuts, tofu and avocado, this sauce is tasty without having to rely on plant-based fats for flavor either. It's my go-to for pasta dishes, au gratins, and to serve over blanched veggies and potatoes.
This plant-based béchamel is also a terrific team player! Blend it with any puréed fragrant herb or vegetable to create delectable new sauces. Have fun creating your own!
Prep time 5 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes Makes 2 cups
Full ½ cup white whole wheat flour or a whole grain gluten-free flour
1-2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1-2 teaspoons shiro (white) miso1 or to taste
2 cups unsweetened unflavored almond milk (or other low-fat plant milk)
- Miso is a good salt alternative that has been found to lower heart rate and not elevate blood pressure as salt does. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313421/#:~:text=Miso%2C%20which%20is%20made%20from,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension).
Combine the flour, nutritional yeast, pepper, nutmeg, miso and almond milk in a high-speed blender and run on high for 1 minute. Pour the sauce into the saucepan, heat over a medium-low flame, stirring with a whisk.
In a few minutes, the sauce will begin to thicken. Lower heat and cook for a few minutes more or until you achieve the consistency required for your purposes. Taste and correct seasonings if you like. The sauce is ready when the flour tastes cooked, not raw, and your consistency is where you want it. Remove from flame and whisk periodically to dissolve the skins that forms as it cools.
The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools but will thin again to some degree when you reheat it. If it overthickens for your application, thin it with heated plant-based milk.
This plant-based sauce is very versatile and can be flavored to resemble a classic mornay (cheese) sauce by adding a half teaspoon of granulated onion and garlic, a dash of the Indian spice asafetida (a.k.a. hing), additional nutritional yeast and a dash of cider vinegar. Blend as before and heat to thicken as described above.
for a rosé sauce roast a cup of roasted tomatoes with thyme and pepper, blend them, or use strained (puréed) tomatoes.
for a mushroom sauce, stir in few teaspoons or two of freshly ground dried porcini mushrooms and dried thyme or nepitella.
For a beautifully golden sweet pepper cream sauce, roast some yellow peppers, blend them with a bit of water, and add blend with the other ingredients before cooking.