White sauce, also known as bechamel sauce, is used as a base for more complicated sauces, such as Mornay sauce, and is often a key ingredient in lasagna and many casserole recipes. One of the "mother sauces" of classic French cuisine, white sauce is made with milk, butter and flour. If you are trying to reduce your intake of dairy, you can easily use almond milk to cook white sauce.
The ABCs of Almond Milk
Calcium-rich almond milk has become a popular option for those trying to reduce or eliminate consumption of dairy products. Unsweetened almond milk has fewer calories than dairy milk, and offers 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D per serving, with no saturated fat or lactose. It can serve as a versatile substitute for milk in cooking applications, and it will supply a creamy base for white sauce. Because almond milk is made with nuts, which pack a healthy serving of nonsaturated fat, it is creamy enough to use in place of dairy milk in a 1-to-1 ratio.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
Because almond milk has become a popular option among vegans and those who are simply avoiding lactose or saturated fat, you can find several brands and varieties of almond milk in most grocery stores. Avoid sweetened or flavored varieties, such as chocolate and vanilla, for use in cooking white sauce. Plain, unsweetened almond milk has about the same amount of sodium as dairy milk, so you can follow your white sauce recipe without adjusting the amount of added salt. You can use shelf-stable almond milk or refrigerated almond milk.
First You Make a Roux
Classic white sauce begins with a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts melted butter and white flour, with salt and pepper added for taste. Cooked over medium heat until it is smooth and bubbly, but not browned, the roux requires constant stirring with a whisk. After the roux is done, whisk in heated almond milk and boil the mixture until it has thickened.
Taking Care of Almond Milk
Shake almond milk before using it to loosen any almond sediment that has settled during storage. Any visible sediments will dissolve during the cooking process, but you can pour the almond milk through a sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove it beforehand if you like. Refrigerate any remaining shelf-stable almond milk immediately after opening it.
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