A Bechamel sauce is something I have probably made at least once a week for as long as I can remember. Way before becoming coeliac or vegan.
It is the base for many different variations, I think the nicest, being a good old cheese sauce. Cauliflower cheese and Macaroni cheese are such warming comfort meals, definitely too good to give up just because we are vegan. I always make this by using the roux method. That is basically butter, flour and milk with a few added extras. It didn’t really change much when I had to make it gluten-free. Using gf plain flour gave the same result as my normal flour.
Becoming vegan meant it was a little trickier. I saw a lot of vegan cheese sauce recipes were made by blended cashews or even vegetables, I wanted to stick to the same method I had always used though. The milk was easy to replace, as I found soya or almond worked equally as well. The most difficult bit was in replacing the cheese. Most vegans tend to use a product called Nutritional yeast to give sauces, pesto and many other things a cheesy kick. I have, and I think most vegans have, a pack of these savoury flakes in our store cupboard
Although it does go into my sauce, I also prefer to use vegan parmesan too, it gives in my mind much nicer, cheesy taste. if you cannot get hold of vegan parmesan, vegan cheddar will be fine.
- 1 litre warm unsweetened soya milk
- 100g dairy-free margarine
- 85g plain flour (gf if needed)
- 1 1/2 tsp English mustard
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 50g grated vegan parmesan
- salted and pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg
On a low heat, slowly melt the margarine in a pan, then add the flour. Stir together until it forms a paste. Let this cook for a few minutes.
Slowly add the warm milk, whisking all the time to stop lumps occurring. Bring to the boil once all the milk has been added, whisking continuously until it thickens and is silky smooth. Turn the heat down to medium, and let it simmer for 5 minutes to ensure all the flour has been cooked out.
Then stir in the nutritional flakes, mustard, and vegan parmesan and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I must admit I like a lot of black pepper.
It is then ready to use, a silky smooth cheesy sauce ready for your recipe for Mac n cheese or cauliflower cheese