Another Look at a Plant-Based White Sauce
LIFE GETS IN THE WAY…
Hello, everybody! During the past couple of months my “other life” as a court reporter rudely reached out like a 64‑armed octo‑octopus (do the math) and twisted me into a nearly‑unrecognizable version of my usual Grandma Girl Scout self.
It wrestled me onto my kitchen chair in front of my transcript computer and held me there by the neck, strangling me until I completed a couple thousand pages of the most difficult transcripts I’ve ever tackled in my 30‑year career (see Exhibit A).
CAULIFLOWER TO THE RESCUE
But, as always, I emerged from the dark abyss and have been able to recharge my batteries, so to speak. And now Grandma Girl Scout is back on her scooter with a fresh head of cauliflower ‑‑ so jump on and get ready for a new recipe! (Okay, “new” is a total lie, but you’ll love this as sort of an amendment to my Multi‑Purpose Vegan Sauce Base recipe that you can find here on this very site.)
This sauce is very easy to make in a big batch and freeze for future use. The upside of a plant‑based “cream” sauce is that it freezes and reheats beautifully, as lovely and creamy as the day it was born. (Curdling? Inconceivable!)
Here is a container of happy sauce I’ve pulled from my freezer ready to warm up and turn into a luscious soup or even a lovely, smooth‑as‑silk Alfredo‑type sauce to pour over pasta or veggie noodles, like spaghetti squash or zucchini. Of course, you can (and should) add some minced garlic to it for a dreamy garlic‑breath version.
Warmed up for lunch here. Though it might not look like much, it was as delicious as any high‑fat dairy‑based Alfredo, but much healthier!
IT GETS EVEN BETTER
The other day I made some potato soup that is really what made me just HAVE to write this post. It was so delicious and creamy! All I did was dice a potato, simmer it until tender in enough water to cover it, then add my thick, creamy sauce with some salt & pepper and sage, which I love. I actually wanted to use tarragon (it’s French, you know), but I discovered I need to make a trip over to Penzeys for more.
Can you believe this soup contains no added cream or butter, yet is every bit as smooth and sexy? I licked the bowl clean, a trick I learned as a kid from my dad, who always licked his ice cream bowl. I grew up thinking that was normal behavior.
So, without rambling on any further, I present for your culinary enjoyment my revised recipe for the white sauce that I used in my potato soup. It works perfectly for any soup that you would ordinarily make with milk or cream and butter. Broccoli is great in this, cooked and blended in or left in chunks. Shoot, if you’re into clam chowder, corn chowder, any chowder, here you go.
If you haven’t read my previous post titled “How to Make Healthy Plant‑Based Vegan Sauces,” please give that a read, because it has more in‑depth help, with cute photos.
EASY BASIC WHITE SAUCE
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, green leaves removed and chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon, but you can use any vegetable broth or just plain water)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup of raw cashews (Soak in water for a few hours if you don’t have a high‑speed blender, and drain)
- Salt and pepper to taste when finished ‑‑
Optional: Minced garlic (I used two cloves)
Sauté onion in vegetable broth on medium heat for a few minutes, until translucent. If broth evaporates, no fear‑‑you will be adding water anyway, so go ahead and replenish the liquid.
Add cauliflower and garlic (if using), along with enough water to cover the vegetables. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender. (If you use an Instant Pot as I did, it only takes about 5 minutes under high pressure, with quick release.)
Fish out veggies from the pot and place into a blender, adding all remaining ingredients and enough of the cooking water to enable it to blend easily. You want to make sure the sauce isn’t too thin right off the bat, because you can always add more liquid ‑‑ but try to remove some, and you have the makings for a hilarious horror movie!
This makes a lot of sauce, more than the average blender jar can hold, so you will likely have to blend it in “shifts,” enlisting the help of the biggest bowl you have that you seldom use.
I hope you try and love this as much as I do!
P.S. It also makes a nice “hollandaise” to pour over asparagus‑‑just add more lemon juice to it.