This vegan white sauce (bechamel) is a plant-based twist on a classic comfort food. Ready in just 10 minutes, serve it over pasta, broccoli, in lasagna or any other meal you’d normally use white sauce
A detailed list with quantities is listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is a shopping list for convenience.
- Soy milk
- Fresh lemon juice
- Nutritional yeast
- Miso paste
- Salt and pepper
Here is a high level, step by step process of how to make this recipe.
Soak cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Serve over pasta and enjoy!
Hint: If you don’t have a high powered blender, it’s best to soak the cashews for as long as possible to allow them to soften. That way you will end up with a silky smooth sauce consistency once blended – we want to avoid any grittiness or little chunks being left in the sauce.
- Cashews: If you don’t have cashews, you can use blanched almonds or sunflower seeds as an alternative.
- Soy milk: If soy milk is not available, try using another unsweetened plant based milk such as almond milk or oat milk. I would not recommend coconut or rice milk as they are too sweet and coconut has a strong flavour. Keep in mind that whatever you choose, a hint of the flavour will be in the sauce, so make sure to use one you like!
- Fresh lemon juice: If you’re out of fresh lemon juice, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar.
- Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic, garlic powder can be used instead. I would start with 1 tsp, blend, then taste test and adjust if needed.
- Nutritional yeast: If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can try using vegan cheese. You might need to add an extra splash of plant milk to get the consistency right though as the cheese will likely make the sauce gluggier than nutritional yeast.
- Miso paste: If miso paste is unavailable, you can leave it out, but you will miss out on that rich cheezey umami flavour. I recommend trying to find it at your local Asian grocer or in the international aisle of your supermarket. If you do leave it out, you may need to add some extra salt to compensate. Blend, taste test, and adjust as needed.
- Herbed Cheezy White Sauce: Add chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or chives for an aromatic twist.
- Spicy Cheezy White Sauce: Mix in red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper to give the sauce a spicy kick.
- Smoky Cheezy White Sauce: Incorporate a pinch of smoked paprika or a tiny dash of liquid smoke for a nacho-cheese kind of flavour.
- Roasted Garlic Cheezy White Sauce: Use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic for a mellow and sweet flavor.
- Sundried Tomato Cheezy White Sauce: Stir in chopped sundried tomatoes for a rich and savory option.
I recommend enjoying this sauce while it’s fresh for the best smooth texture, however you can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Microwave to reheat. Freezing is not recommended as the texture won’t hold up well when thawing.
Make sure you soak the cashews adequately so they are thoroughly softened to achieve a creamy texture – this is especially important if your blender isn’t high powered. Also, if you want a really cheezey flavour, don’t skip the nutritional yeast and the miso paste! They really add richness and depth of flavour.
Yes, you can substitute cashews with sunflower seeds for a nut-free version.
Freezing is not recommended as the texture will be gluggy when thawing. You can keep the sauce in the fridge though, it will keep for up to 4-5 days.
Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor, but you can replace it with vegan parmesan or dairy-based parmesan if desired.
Regular white cheese sauce is typically made from a roux (flour and butter), milk, and cheese. Additional seasonings may be added for flavor. This vegan version is made using cashews, nutritional yeast, soy milk and lemon juice.
The three types of white sauces are Béchamel (basic white sauce), Mornay (Béchamel with cheese), and Velouté (Béchamel with chicken, fish, or vegetable broth). This simple vegan twist is somewhere between a Béchamel and a Mornay.
White sauce is also known as Béchamel sauce, which is the base for various other sauces.
How to use this sauce
- Pasta: Toss the sauce with cooked pasta for a creamy and cheezy pasta dish.
- Vegetable Casseroles: Use as a creamy base in vegetable casseroles, such as broccoli and cauliflower gratin.
- Nachos: Drizzle the sauce over nachos for a cheesy and savory topping.
- Baked Mac n Cheese: Incorporate the sauce into baked macaroni and cheese for a comforting classic.
- Vegan Lasagna: Incorporate the sauce into vegan lasagna layers for a rich and creamy lasagna experience.
Looking for more recipes with cheezy flavours?
Try some of my other vegan cheese or cheezy flavoured recipes:
I hope you enjoyed this white sauce! Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂
Vegan White Sauce (Bechamel)
- 1 cup cashews
- ½ cup soy milk
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ tbsp miso paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cover cashews in boiling water for 10 mins.
- Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Add extra water if you’d like a thinner consistency. Serve over pasta.