Vegan Béchamel Bean & Cashew White Pasta Sauce

March 11, 2021

Making a Béchamel Sauce is a very basic technique in French cooking which begins with a roux, a cooked mixture of flour and butter, and after slowly whisking in milk, ends in a creamy sauce. Béchamel Sauce has a proper place in homey, creamed dishes, often making leftovers stretch or giving cooked foods new life. And it is important as a base for soufflés. The French term for this medium-thick white sauce is Béchamel. The foolproof way to attain a perfectly smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when adding it to the butter and flour. I believe that the is is a crucial technique to use in Vegan cooking. It will elevate your dishes to a ‘professional French level!’

Why is it called Béchamel Sauce?
Immigrating from Tuscany, Italy to the royalty of France, the béchamel, previously named Balsamella, was easily adapted into the rich French cuisine. They renamed it after the chief steward to King Louis XIV, the marquis de Bechamel, and quickly found a number of delicious recipes to adapt it

Vegan Béchamel Bean & Cashew White Pasta Sauce

This vegan white pasta sauce is silky, creamy, garlicky, savory, delicious, and versatile. It is made with naturally fresh ingredients that are very nutritious.

Course: Sauce

Cuisine: Italian American fusion

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 230kcal

Author: Vaishali · Holy Cow! Vegan at


  • 1 cup dry great northern beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender. If using canned, substitute with 2 15 oz cans, drained
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced, I used 1 roasted head of garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste, optional
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, or veggie broth
  • 1 lemon, or lime, juiced and zested
  • parsley, minced, for garnish


Soak the cashews for at least 30 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the dry northern beans. I cooked the beans in my Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 25-30 minutes. See instructions in the previous blog: Fast No-Soak Instant Pot Beans.

Heat the oil (or veggie broth) in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it begins to turn blonde. I baked an entire head of garlic in the oven at 400*F for 40 minutes. See instructions on how to bake the garlic in a previous blog: How to Roast Garlic in the Oven. Carefully scoop out each roasted clove. Add the roasted cloves to the blender ingredients.

Add the red pepper flakes and oregano and stir-fry for a minute. You may skip this step, if you roasted the garlic. Add the pepper directly into the blender ingredients.

Add the beans and salt to taste. Let the mixture come to a boil. Add a cup of water if too dry. Lower heat to a simmer and let the beans cook with the garlic and oregano for about 10 minutes. You may skip this step if your beans are precooked.

  • Remove the beans to a blender, add the cashews, and blend into a very smooth, creamy sauce. You can add water as needed, but add a little at a time to get just the consistency you want.
  • Add the sauce back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep stirring the sauce to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom — don’t use more than medium heat. When the sauce begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and zest and stir in. Check salt and serve hot with pasta.


  • You can add some baby spinach to the sauce just before it’s ready, and bring to a boil. Let the spinach cook about a minute until wilted. Serve.
  • Stir in a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast after turning of the heat, for a cheesier flavor.
  • I like to serve this on top of pasta with some minced parsley. It will work with any kind of pasta. I am anxious to try it in my favorite Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
  • You can use another white bean, like cannellini, navy or lima, in the place of the northern beans.
  • Do not skip the cashews! They keep the sauce from drying out over time: something bean-puree sauces often tend to do. I brown-bagged the pasta to lunch the day after I made it, and the sauce was still velvety and smooth and quite perfect.

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.2g | Protein: 11.9g | Fat: 5.9g | Potassium: 742mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 17.3mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3.4mg

How did you modify this recipe? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s