With just 3 main ingredients, you'll love how quick and easy it is to make this gluten-free and vegan Béchamel! This creamy white sauce is super versatile and perfect for using in Italian baked dishes, casseroles and more.Jump to Recipe
Sounds so fancy when you say it out loud.
And fancy means hard to make, right?
But guess what? It’s not hard at all!
In fact, it’s ridiculously easy to make!
What is béchamel?
This classic white sauce is actually one of the 5 French “mother” sauces, and can serve as a starting point for other sauces as well.
It's a staple in not only French, but also, Italian cuisine.
The Italian name for it is another fancy-sounding word, besciamella.
Traditional béchamel, as fancy as it sounds, is actually a basic white sauce made with just 3 ingredients - butter, flour and milk.
Many béchamel recipes often call for salt and pepper as well.
Other seasonings can also be added depending on the dish you are using it for.
Ingredients you'll need
In this béchamel recipe, we’re changing up tradition by going not only dairy-free, but also gluten-free.
The 3 traditional ingredients have been swapped out with vegan butter, chickpea flour and oat milk. This recipe also calls for salt and pepper.
I chose chickpea flour because it works extremely well as a thickener for sauces and gravies as demonstrated in this chickpea flour gravy, vegan pot pie and vegan green bean casserole.
I chose oat milk because it has a creamy consistency similar to that of whole milk.
Just be sure to use a full-fat oat milk as the light versions tend to be too thin.
If needed, you'll also want to check the label to ensure the brand you are buying is certified gluten-free.
My favorite brand to use is Oatly, which is certified gluten-free in the United States.
How to make vegan béchamel with oat milk - step by step
Melt vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, whisk in chickpea flour to make a roux.
Whisk until it resembles a thick paste and is golden in color.
Any clumps will melt during cooking and whisking in the next steps.
Whisk in oat milk, salt and pepper.
Tip: The milk should either be at room temperature or warmed slightly, so that it can properly incorporate with the roux. If the milk is too cold, it will clump up the roux. If that happens though, it will "melt" back into the sauce as you whisk and cook.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Once boiling, whisk continuously for 30 seconds and then remove from the heat.
The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits off of the heat.
Stir in more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
How to use this vegan white sauce
This béchamel is great for using in Italian baked dishes such as lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells, manicotti and cannelloni.
It's the perfect addition to our vegan lentil lasagna. 🙂
This sauce also makes a great starting point for a cheesy version...
...which is perfect for making a quick and easy vegan mac and cheese.
It also works well in casseroles, gratins, veggie bakes or even mixed with pasta or served on top of roasted vegetables.
You can also try changing up the flavor by adding in some fresh lemon juice or garlic powder.
Frequently asked questions
To make the sauce thinner, you will need to use less chickpea flour when making the roux. Use ½ tablespoon less chickpea flour for a slightly thinner sauce or 1 tablespoon less chickpea flour for a very thin sauce.
To make the sauce thicker, you will need to use more chickpea flour when making the roux. For a slightly thicker sauce, use ½ tablespoon more chickpea flour or for a very thick sauce, use 1 tablespoon more chickpea flour.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Yes! Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for 2-3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before using.
The sauce is best reheated in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until thoroughly warmed.
More vegan sauces and gravies
Vegan Oat Milk Béchamel (White Sauce)
- 2 tbsp. vegan butter
- 2 ½ tbsp. chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)
- 1 ½ cups plain, unsweetened oat milk, brought to room temperature or warmed but not boiling (ensure the brand you are using is certified GF if needed)
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt, plus more to taste if desired
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste if desired
- Melt the butter in a 2-qt. or 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted (or oil is heated), whisk in the chickpea flour to make a roux. Whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes (it should resemble a smooth, but thick paste and be golden in color). Be careful not to burn. Any clumps will melt during cooking and whisking in the next steps.
- Whisk in the oat milk, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, whisk continuously for 30 seconds and then remove from heat. Sauce will continue to thicken as it sits off of the heat. Stir in more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)
This post originally appeared on Watch Learn Eat on November 4, 2019. It has been republished to reflect both recipe, photo and content revisions.
©Watch Learn Eat. All content and images are copyright protected. Recipes and images are not to be used or republished without prior permission. If you adapt this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and link back to this post for the original recipe.
I'm not vegan but I don't like using dairy and this sauce turned out perfect! I added in 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. It went well with mash, veg and salmon ?
Thanks so much, Kim! Sounds like a delicious meal! So happy you enjoyed it and I love adding lemon too! 🙂
This sounds like one AMAZING vegan bechamel sauce! My husband and I want to try more dairy-free vegan sauces so this would be a perfect alternative!
Thank you, Christie! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
This is not a bechamel. it might be an alternative for a bechamel, but it literally has none of the ingredients that make it one.
Hi Henrik! Thanks for stopping by! Since this recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, it is not a traditional bechamel which I noted above in the post. As I explained, a traditional bechamel contains all-purpose flour, milk and butter so to make a gluten-free and vegan version of it I used chickpea flour to replace the all-purpose flour, plant-based milk to replace the dairy milk and vegan butter to replace the dairy butter. This allows those who are gluten-free/dairy-free or gluten-free/vegan to be able to enjoy this type of sauce. Of course, if someone does not need the sauce to be gluten-free, they do not have to use a gluten-free recipe and if they are not vegan or able to have dairy products, they can make it with the dairy-based milk and butter.