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 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.