As one of the French cuisine’s ‘Mother Sauces’, the humble béchamel or ‘white sauce’ faces uphill battles when it comes to vegan or allergen-free cooking. Typically make from cow’s milk, butter and wheat flour, it sets off a few alarm bells for friends and family with food intolerances.
For our plant-based version, we’re using some alternative ingredients that make for a super easy and wonderfully creamy sauce, here prepared with a heady bit of spice and served with shiitake mushrooms and beetroot spirals.
2 cups of unsweetened rice or soy milk
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp of Macadamia oil
1 tsp Ras el hanout
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt & black pepper, to taste
We use a microwave to prepare this sauce. It’s so convenient, but if you prefer, use a pot over medium heat on the stove.
In a microwaveable container, heat the rice or soy milk in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, until hot.
In a cup, add 3 tablespoons of cold water to the cornflour, mixing through until the cornflour dissolves into a paste.
Once hot, remove the milk from the microwave, adding 1 tablespoon of the Macadamia oil, and then stirring in the cornflour paste. Stir well, then place in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Check frequently to avoid the sauce boiling over.
The sauce should start to thicken as the mixture heats up. Remove from the microwave and, using a whisk, stir in the spices and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Use for creamy pasta, vegetables, layering lasagne or moussaka bakes. We served this sauce with some sweet beetroot spirals and umami-rich porcini mushrooms (pictured). So comforting!