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Recipe Thu Apr 24 2008

Bechamel: Vegan and Passover Friendly.

Bechamel (Photo- Ariel Diamond)-3.jpg"I have nothing against butter and cream. But it was exciting and daring to make a vegan béchamel." That's what my friend Ariel told me as she began to explain her lasagna, with a few other modifications. To keep kosher for Passover, she used matzo instead of noodles, and a roux made with ground matzo meal instead of flour. She layered eggplant, soy cheese, béchamel, and matzo crackers, which soften when cooking, especially after covering them with the béchamel.

Ariel found this vegan béchamel recipe, changed it for Passover, and quadrupled it.

First, to make a roux, melt non-dairy butter (Soy Garden or Earth Balance). Ariel told me that she doesn't measure – something I'm a big fan of not doing, too. I think it's often good to know what properties to look for in your cooking, rather then blindly putting in measured amounts. In this case, add enough pulverized matzo meal to make the consistency of a batter. To avoid a gritty sauce, grind the matzo to a powder first.

Second, slowly whisk in unsweetened soy milk. Some wouldn't use legumes, like soy, for Passover, but as the New York Times pointed out earlier, there are multiple interpretations of how to observe the holiday, and some might argue that legumes are acceptable. For Ariel, it's most important not to eat any grains that aren't matzo, and to avoid leavening.

Bechamel (Photo- Ariel Diamond)-2.jpg Finally, add nutmeg and a twig of thyme. Tie up the thyme if you don't want it to get loose. Ariel suggested seasoning with half of an onion, too. Add salt, and cook until it's as thick as you like it.

Ariel thinks vegetables are fantastic, but often need more sauce, especially of the creamy sorts. That's why "lasagna is delicious when it has a béchamel sauce in it." A vegan béchamel, at least.

Photos: Ariel Diamond


Illinois Master Gardener / April 25, 2008 10:02 AM

Amazing that you can add ingredients without measuring! Even after all these years, I've found that the results were disasterous, if I didn't measure.

Bob / April 25, 2008 4:25 PM

Sounds "Uummm - Good !"

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