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Liven up your veggies or pasta with this tangy, Lemony Vegan Béchamel sauce! This creamy gluten-free white sauce is super simple to make in minutes with just a few ingredients.
Sounds so fancy when you say it out loud.
In fact, everything sounds fancy in French…that is, if you say it properly…unlike my mother-in-law for example.
She was helping us clean our house before we moved and asked me if I had any “bon ami.”
However, she said “bon” as in Bon Jovi, in her best New Jersey accent with the emphasis on the sound you make when the doctor is checking your throat.
And, she said “ami” like “ah” (as in oh no, someone is chasing me) “me.”
So, I looked at her and asked, “What the heck is baaaan ah-me?”
“You know, the powder to clean the tub,” she said.
“Oh, you mean bonne a-mi,” I said in my best French accent. I mean, I did take French for one year in high school, so…
Anyway, the fact that she’s actually part French according to her Ancestry report leads me to believe she should at least try to pronounce it correctly, but whatever!
Just an FYI, please note that the gold label Bon Ami powder cleaner is both vegan and cruelty-free. 🙂
So, let’s get back to béchamel. As I was saying before, it sounds super fancy. And super fancy means hard to make, right? But guess what? It’s not fancy at all! In fact, it’s ridiculously easy to make.
So, what is béchamel anyway?
This classic white sauce is actually one of the 5 French “mother” sauces, which are the starting points for other sauces.
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.
Of course, we’re changing tradition up here by going not only vegan, but also gluten-free with this béchamel recipe.
The 3 traditional ingredients have been swapped out with vegan butter, chickpea flour and oat milk.
And since this is a recipe for a lemon béchamel, I’ve added some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
I’ve also seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper.
How to Make This Vegan Béchamel Sauce with Lemon
Melt vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, whisk in chickpea flour to make a roux.
Whisk in oat milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 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 for 30 seconds and then remove from 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 vegan béchamel also makes a great topper for a baked potato or sweet potato.
You can also mix this sauce in with your favorite gluten-free noodles for a creamy, tangy and lemony pasta dish. Or, serve it over top of gluten-free manicotti stuffed with cashew ricotta or almond ricotta and spinach.
For another veganized sauce recipe you might enjoy, check out our vegan hollandaise next.
Lemony Vegan Béchamel
- 2 tbsp. vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks; use soy-free if needed)
- 3 tbsp. chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)
- 1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened oat milk, brought to room temperature or warmed but not hot or boiling (I used Oatly brand; if necessary, ensure the brand you are using is certified GF)
- 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt, plus more to taste if desired
- 1/8 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, whisk in the chickpea flour to make a roux. Whisk until it is smooth and resembles a thick paste. The roux should be golden in color. Be careful not to burn.
- Whisk in the milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, whisk 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.
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