This is one of the best béchamel sauces in the whole entire world. Who says you need dairy to make a good sauce? Not me! Besides, this is way better than ANY dairy-based sauces I’ve had. It’s easy and delicious, and makes enough to have leftovers to freeze! Yep, you can freeze this bad boy! What’s better than satisfying a craving for a Creamy Mushroom Alfredo (it’s a “thing” for me) and knowing that all you have to do is sauté some mushrooms while waiting for your pasta to boil! Grocery store Alfredo sauces be damned!
This versatile little sauce can be used in a variety of ways! I use it as a base for corn chowder, in my eggplant lasagna, in a delicious Pasta Con Broccoli, as a drizzle over roasted veggies, and I use it to make a hearty delicious vegetable pot pie! This, my friends, is the real deal.
Step 1: Preparing the Cashews
• 2 cups raw cashews
• 4 to 6 cups warm water
In a medium bowl, soak the cashews in water for 3 to 4 hours to soften. Strain, reserving the cashews and discarding the liquid.
Step 2: Preparing the Sauce
• 1 cup onion, diced
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 cup dry white wine (or substitute stock, if not using wine)
• 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 tbsp onion granules
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (literally, just a pinch… Too much can alter the flavor)
• Pinch of white pepper (Can use black pepper in a pinch) 😉
• 2 tbsp olive oil (optional if you choose to use oil in this dish)
• 1 tsp sea salt (optional, but I recommend)
First, gather and prepare your mise en place.
If choosing to use oil:
Heat the pan to low to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and sweat for at least 5-8 minutes to bring out the flavor until translucent. Then continue by adding the garlic and sweat for an additional couple minutes. Add white wine and reduce until all liquid has evaporated. (Skip the reduction if not using wine)
*For no oil sauté:
(It is easier to sauté, rather than sweat with no oil. So this process may give the onions a bit of color.)
Heat the pan to medium to high heat. Be sure the pan is heated properly (water test). Add the onions to the dry pan and continue to stir well until the onions begin to turn translucent and stick. Try to keep the onions from browning, adding a little stock or water if needed. You can add the garlic to the onions or add directly into the blender. Remove from heat.
Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into the blender.
To finish the sauce, add the cashews, the remaining vegetable stock, white wine, garlic, nutritional yeast, onion granules, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt (if using). Blend on high speed until smooth. Add more liquid if you choose to have a thinner consistency.