Béchamel is a basic cream sauce that is a staple white sauce used in French cuisine that is typically prepared by making a roux by whisking butter and flour together over low heat and then adding milk or heavy cream, salt and pepper, but this one is dairy-free. Some traditional recipes will also sauté a combination of onions, carrots and celery before adding the butter, flour and milk, while others just use the sauce as is as a simple savory cream sauce for serving with vegetables, fish, meat and grain dishes. This dairy-free version is incredibly versatile and can be dressed up with spices, herbs, or vegetables.
Ways to Use Béchamel Sauce
This dairy-free version of béchamel sauce can be used to thicken foods such as soups or stews without cream or milk. This sauce is also used over breads and with savory items such as meaty dishes. Other dishes that use béchamel sauce include lasagna, soufflé, macaroni and cheese, casseroles and gratins or to make the best of a tuna noodle casserole or vegetable pot pie.
Storing Béchamel Sauce
This sauce is very sensitive to heat and air. Cool the sauce soon after cooking and store it immediately. Before storing the sauce in the refrigerator, be sure to cover the sauce with cling film actually touching the sauce to prevent the sauce from forming a skin or hardening, then cover the sauce with a lid in an air-tight container. The sauce can be kept safely for four to five days in the refrigerator. The sauce can be frozen as well, and must be reheated to 165 F in a sauce pan before serving.
Makes 2 cups
- ¼ cup olive or canola oil
- 2 tablespoon white flour
- 2 ½ cups unsweetened soymilk, (use a brand that uses a thickening agent, such as Silk)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the oil. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wire whisk for 1-2 minutes, or until the flour smells slightly toasted but is not burning.
2. Whisking constantly, add the soymilk, carefully pouring down the side of the saucepan. The sauce will sizzle and bubble slightly, and it is important to continue to vigorously stir at this point to prevent your sauce from forming clumps of flour or burning.
(If this should happen, simply pour your sauce through a fine sieve or strainer before serving.)
3. Cook until desired thickness, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. (This sauce is best served right after it is made.)