Cashew Béchamel

Traditional béchamel is basically a white sauce, made with milk, butter, and white flour.  It’s considered a mother sauce in French cuisine and is used as the base for other sauces.

Cashew béchamel is a plant-based version of this classic French sauce. I like to use my béchamel combined with pasta, or served as a gravy with mashed potatoes, or as a sauce for steamed vegetables.fullsizerender-1

Cashew béchamel is very rich tasting and you can reduce the overall calories and fat by switching one cup of cashews with 1 cup of white beans, such as Great Northern. In addition, the recipe below makes enough sauce for several dishes.

Cashew Béchamel Recipe

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in 3+ cups water (enough to cover)

1 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or equal water with bullion)

2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon onion granules

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt to taste (optional)

In a medium bowl, soak raw cashews in water for 3 to 4 hours to soften (or overnight). Strain, reserving the cashews and discard the liquid.

In a medium pot, heat the vegetable stock to a boil.  Lower heat to low and add chopped onions and garlic. When onions translucent, add the garlic and onions directly into a high speed blender.

Add the cashews, nutritional yeast, onion granules, nutmeg, and salt. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add more liquid if you choose to have a thinner consistency.

Combine cashew béchamel with cooked pasta and vegetables.  Serve immediately.