Gluten-free, vegan white sauce

A white sauce made on besan (chickpea flour), soy milk and oil. That’s right: no (cow’s) milk, no gluten. We prefer this to the ‘real’ one.

Gluten free, dairy-free white sauce

Gluten free, dairy-free white sauce

Gluten-free, vegan white sauce

  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 1/4 cup of oil (we like olive oil, but you can use any oil you like the taste of)
  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • up to about 500 ml of soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard


  1. Heat the oil in 1 litre saucepan and add the besan, stirring like crazy. A fork is a good thing to use for this. The mixture should very quickly come together to form a granular mess.
  2. VERY SLOWLY add the milk, stirring and stirring the whole time. Just drizzle in a bit and stir, stir some more, then drizzle in a bit more and keep stirring.
  3. To begin with, you’ll feel more like you are mixing a small amount of liquid into a strange granular-looking paste. That’s fine. The grains (well, mini-lumps) will stir out as long as you add the milk VERY SLOWLY. The idea is to never have too much free liquid at a time. Use a fork to stir it until the mixture thins out enough to look like white sauce and you can use a small whisk.
  4. The sauce should always be at a simmer. DO NOT LET THE SAUCE BOIL.
  5. Keep adding the milk and stirring, now with the whisk. Don’t stop stirring. Kids are really helpful at this stage.
  6. Stop when you have the volume and consistency you want. It is technically ‘ready’ when you can dip a wooden spoon in and it doesn’t just drip off straight away (see picture).

It's ready when it clings to a wooden spoon

It’s ready when it clings to a wooden spoon


Don’t ever stop stirring if you don’t want lumps. Not even to pour the milk in.

Before you start, pour the milk into a jug so you can pour it easily with only one hand, while you are endlessly stirring the white sauce with the other hand. A two-litre container is usually too heavy for this, so unless you have stronger wrists than I do, don’t be brave: just put the milk in a jug before you turn the heat on.

You should have a very low heat to begin with, but if you are making a lot of sauce you might find you need to turn the heat up towards the end.

You can use any oil you like. We use olive oil, preferring to avoid canola and other seed oils.


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