When I left home I only knew how to make one thing without a recipe, and that one thing was béchamel sauce. I’d been making it since I was about fourteen because my Mum taught me well and to date, I’ve never made a bad one. And it meant as I tried, failed and tried again to make lasagne, cannelloni or macaroni and cheese, I knew I could do one component well, and the rest would slowly get there.
About as basic as they come for vegan recipes, but a great one to know inside out when you're thinking about making a lasagne from scratch, a creamy pasta sauce, a pie filling, or even an American-style white gravy.
Vegan béchamel sauce ingredients
Make it richer: soy or oat cream
Flavourings: nutmeg, salt and pepper, vegan cheese, Dijon mustard…
A good béchamel sauce is all about ratios. So regardless of measurements, you actually need to kinda get a feel for when it’s going wrong or right.
Have your flour, almond milk and vegan margarine right by your pan ready- and you’ll also need a whisk. Just add a large knob of margarine to the pan and turn it on to a medium heat. Then add in two tablespoons of flour, and whisk it into the melting margarine, until it forms a sticky, sandy mixture.
Then slowly begin to add the almond milk, whisking as you go. I’d start with 100ml of milk and see how much sauce that makes, and if it’s for a big meal, keep upping your ratios- add a bit more flour if you want it thicker, or margarine if you want it richer, or almond milk to make it thinner. If you fancy it, you can also pour in soy cream to make it super rich (and that doesn’t seem to impact the flavour too much).
Once you’ve got your sauce to the right consistency, start adding in the flavours you want- regular seasoning, grated cheese, nutmeg for cannelloni or dijon mustard in macaroni and cheese. Cheese will make this thicken up a fair amount, so be ready with a splash of water if you want to thin it down again, and keep whisking until everything has melted in.
There! You’re ready!