In the culinary world, bé chamel is known as a mother sauce. There are five mother sauces, which are paramount in French cuisine as it’s from these basic five that all of their other sauces are derived.
The creamy, white bé chamel sauce is a simple mixture of milk, butter, and flour. It’s the combination of butter and flour to form a roux that thickens the sauce.
Making a roux is a classic technique used routinely in kitchens worldwide. If you went to culinary school or you grew up cooking with your grandmother, you understand the importance of a roux.
That being said, the roux is no longer necessary in the modern culinary world. There are various ways to make sauces and other condiments thick and creamy without relying on flour.
One of those ways is using a blender (preferably high-powered), which allows us to process foods to a very smooth consistency that wasn’t feasible centuries ago. It’s primarily cashews that make that thicken this bé chamel sauce.
Thankfully, you can also leave our the dairy (it does NO body good). The cashews are double agents as they’re also the key ingredient for adding a rich, creaminess to this sauce in place of the milk and butter.
This dairy-free, flour-free bé chamel sauce can be used just like you would a traditional bé chamel . You can drizzle it over steamed veggies, used it in potato au gratin, or let it be a base for other dishes, like this Mushroom Fettucine Alfredo or this Spring Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles.
Recipe by Katie Mae
Makes 1½ cups | Ready in 15 minutes | Stores 1 week in fridge
- ½ white onion, diced (3 oz)
- 1 stalk celery, diced (1 oz)
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cup cashews
- 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water*
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon no-salt seasoning (i.e. Benson’s table tasty) or white miso
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Add the onion, celery, and garlic to a sauté pan over medium heat. Cover and dry-sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients to a high-powered blender. Then add the sautéed onion, celery, and garlic. Blend into a smooth, creamy sauce.
Feel free to add more liquid to give the sauce a thinner consistency. As it’s used in other dishes and heated further, it will continue to thicken.
Once blended the sauce will be warm. If you’re going to use it right away, you may want to heat it up more, either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Otherwise, transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store in the fridge for later.
I love this bé chamel sauce over steamed veggies and either roasted potatoes or winter squash. I add beans, tempeh or tofu for more heartiness and protein. Of course, it’s also great with pasta. However, since flour-based noodles are more processed and calorie dense, my preference is using this spiralizer to make vegetable noodles. If you want them to resemble spaghetti noodles, I suggest spiralizing zucchini or sweet potato!