Since the Oddnivore can’t tolerate wheat, all of the pasta we buy for him is “alternative”: rice, most often, though the Oddnivore enjoys a nice corn pasta from time to time. Yesterday, we had rice linguine in the cupboard–the Oddnivore is not exempt from the scavenging-based meal preparation that guides the rest of our household–so we stuck that in a pot to boil while I looked around the kitchen for something to accompany it. Even the Oddnivore doesn’t tolerate pasta with no garnish whatsoever.
That I decided to attempt a white sauce, with the intention of transforming it into a cheese sauce (well, “cheese” sauce–dairy intolerant Oddnivore) speaks to the fact that whenever I look at a vat of pasta I see macaroni and cheese. And that I can’t serve my son what was (is) one of my go-to comfort dishes has always saddened me. So, while the Oddnivore and Dad played outside, while the linguine bubbled on the stove, I made cheese sauce.
What follows is something of a loose recipe for what I did–I didn’t measure anything but the margarine. If you’ve ever made a white sauce before, you’re following the exact same principles, just with different ingredients. Keep an eye on the consistency and add soy milk as needed to thin, or flour to thicken.
The Oddnivore’s Vegan Cheese Sauce
1 tbsp. vegan margarine
1 tbsp. wheat-free flour
Soy milk (or other alt. milk product) as needed to create desired consistency, at least 1/2-3/4 c.
1/3 to 1/2 c. vegan cheese
Method: Melt the margarine on low heat; stir frequently until it bubbles. When the margarine bubbles, add the flour, and stir constantly for about a minute–by minute’s end, the ingredients should be combined and the mixture should be bubbling through. Then, add a small amount of soy milk (I usually start with a pour equaling about 1/4 c.), and stir to combine. Add more soy milk, a little at a time, stirring to encourage the margarine/floor/milk to come together. Add more soy milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency, and then chuck in the cheese. Stir until it melts/combines. Use right away so the whole mass doesn’t congeal and gross out your diner.
Notes: I used Earth Balance margarine instead of butter—Earth Balance is entirely vegan, which is important, because many so-called dairy free products often contain casein—from cows. Sheesh. Also, many vegan cheeses could be used, but I especially like Daiya because of its overall taste and its melting properties (read: it melts like real cheese).
As I was finishing up the sauce and preparing to take off the pasta (10-12 minutes on the stove—be careful not to overcook alt. pasta—any pasta!), my husband burst through the back door, took a look at the stove, strode over to the freezer, grabbed a bag of frozen broccoli, and chucked half the bag in the pasta pot.
“It’ll just take a minute to cook.”
Two minutes later, we had the dish together and in front of the Oddnivore, who, to our delight, scarfed the whole thing down with little attention to fine manners.