This Vegan Bechamel Sauce is 'creamily' good, you won't believe it is dairy-free! No nuts or weird ingredients, just everyday storecupboard basics.
A basic white sauce is a kitchen staple and endlessly versatile. Great in lasagne, you can also use this béchamel in pasta bakes or macaroni 'cheese', dauphinoise-style potatoes, vegetable gratins, the possibilities are endless.
This is my last Veganuary post as the month draws to a close, (though there will be lots more vegan recipes coming up, don't fear!), and I thought I would share one of my very favourite "but surely that can't be vegan" meals, an easy vegan lasagne with its creamy vegan bechamel sauce.
For the ragù layers, I used my Slow-Cooked Borlotti Bean Chilli which is a batch-cook recipe, so I had lots in the freezer. Layered up with lasagne sheets and this lovely white sauce sprinkled with vegan cheese, this made a pretty epic lasagne, even if I do say so myself!
What you need to make your vegan béchamel sauce
Vegan block margarine Make sure you use a good quality vegan block margarine (rather than a tub of spread) - it has a much lower water content, so will make a richer, creamier sauce and is much more reliable in cooking. I like Naturli Block or Flora Plant Butter.
Dairy-free milk I usually choose oat milk for sauces, as I find the taste is better than any other and most like the flavour of a dairy sauce. However do experiment with whatever milk you usually prefer.
Dairy-free cream There are lots of vegan creams available in supermarkets these days. I usually go for Elmlea Plant Cream (in the dairy aisle) as they have a double cream which is particularly luscious. But you can also use an oat cream if you prefer. Avoid anything with a strong flavour like coconut cream.
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Variations on your Vegan Béchamel
You can add all sorts of wonderful flavourings to your vegan bechamel sauce for added interest, such as:
- Roasted Garlic - wrap a whole head of garlic in foil and bake for 30 minutes. When cool, squeeze the sweet flesh out of each clove and add to the blender. All the sweetness with none of the death breath!
- Vegan Cheese - my favourites are Applewood Smoked Vegan Cheese or Violife Epic which both melt beautifully into a creamy sauce. See also my Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe.
- Curly Kale - Add a large handful of kale or spinach to the saucepan whilst the cauliflower is cooking for a bright green sauce.
- Wholegrain Mustard - just add one tablespoonful to the blender.
- Dairy-free Pesto - my favourite is Mr Organic's Basil Pesto, add a tablespoon of pesto to the blender.
- Lemon & Fresh Herbs - basil, parsley or thyme, with the zest of a lemon would be really lovely additions.
- Sun-Dried Tomato - a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste added to the blender really perks up a Mediterranean- style lasagne.
Vegan in 15 Cookbook
There are plenty of similarly quick and easy recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15'*.
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Vegan Béchamel Sauce
- 50 g vegan block margarine
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 litre dairy-free milk I use oat, but soya or nut milks will also work
- 75 ml dairy-free cream I use soya
- salt and black pepper
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan, then add the flour. Mix well and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the milk a little at a time, mixing thoroughly to get rid of any lumps. Continue until all the milk has been added.
- Cook the sauce gently for a further 4-5 minutes until thick and glossy. Season well with salt and pepper, tasting to adjust if necessary.
- Add the double cream and grate in a little nutmeg, stir and serve.